Full disclosure: I’m not sure a single review can explain the sensory experience that is Two-Lane Blacktop. What is supposed to be a simple road movie turns into a poetic art piece set to film that transcends its initial set-up to seek deeper and more meaningful questions about wayward individuals and the purpose of existence in a time of disillusionment and self-discovery.

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Two-Lane Blacktop was released in 1971, directed and edited by Monte Hellman, produced by Michael S. Laughlin of Universal Pictures, with a screenplay by Rudolph Wurlitzer and Will Corry (based on a story by Will Corry). The film stars James Taylor as The Driver, Dennis Wilson as The Mechanic, Warren Oates as GTO, and Laurie Bird as The Girl; this is the only film Taylor and Wilson ever acted in.

Now, where to go from here?

Male obsession is a major theme that runs through the film, with The Driver and The Mechanic being the owners of a 1955 Chevrolet which they race amongst other cars as a way of getting money (or “bread” as they call it). These two seem to enjoy racing, and they display their automobile’s power through these races; these races end up being an extension of their love for their vehicle, almost as a way of proving or expressing their passion by way of demonstration and action. Of course, these two also seem to enjoy driving around the country almost as much as they enjoy racing; their aimless trips show how they themselves are a bit aimless, wandering around and essentially being, as one character points out, nomads. However, they seem unaware and apathetic in this regard, driving around, racing, and doing what they want because they can, because they want to, because it’s what they love to do; in essence, this is what they live for. This is where the existential themes kick in. The Driver and The Mechanic know what they like to do, so they do it, never allowing anyone or any peoples to influence their life decisions.

The acting of James Taylor and Dennis Wilson is surprisingly believable for the type of nameless characters they play. The Driver doesn’t show much emotion, appearing very concentrated, focused, and neutral in his facial expressions. What The Driver becomes is an enigma, someone who clearly loves what he does but never explains why. This goes just as equally for The Mechanic, a man who never seems to drive the ’55 Chevy, but, as his name implies, deals with its engine and overall body. The Mechanic is also livelier than The Driver, speaking and interacting with others more often. Both The Driver and The Mechanic represent two types of car lovers: the ones that love the feel and need for speed by way of driving, and the ones who love to take care of the cars they own, never truly needing to take them out for a spin. It’s also important to note that The Driver and The Mechanic never seem to interact with one another as friends; instead, they both seem to act as associates, partners who share the same obsession and interests, but aside from that, have nothing else to talk about. By way of giving our protagonists no names and only characteristics we are presented with a representation of the type of people who live the existence of someone who not only deals with automobiles as an obsession and way of life but is free to do what they want simply because they choose to do what they want.

The character only known as GTO seems to represent the person who doesn’t know much about a specific type of sub-culture but pretends to be a part of it anyway – In other words, a phony.

GTO goes about the film in a 1970 Pontiac, an automobile that The Driver himself says is quite common amongst drivers (we see the vehicle twice before being formally introduced to GTO himself). GTO, of course, thinks his vehicle is good enough to challenge the ’55 Chevy, and decides to suggest a race against The Driver and Mechanic. With the reward being the two vehicle’s pink slips, they set off to Washington D.C., making it a part of their on-going road trips across the United States of America. GTO becomes the victim of picking up every hitchhiker he comes across, which usually doesn’t go well for him; why he picks up every hitchhiker he comes across is up to infinite debate. Through these pick-ups, however, we are able to see that GTO is just a great big phony: When given the chance to speak, GTO tells his passengers how he came into possession of the car he’s driving, what he used to do, and where he plans to go – not one of these tales is ever the same as the last. GTO seems like the kind of person who is either insecure of himself or in need of acceptance; him wanting to prove how cool and fast his GTO Pontiac is could easily be an example of the latter “acceptance” theory. The fact that he is middle aged only supports the idea that GTO represents a type of person who wants to stay hip, who wants to impress people, but who ultimately does not truly understand the Route 66 sub-culture or even the car he drives (he himself flat out admits to one of his first passengers that he doesn’t know every technical aspect of his vehicle).

Then there’s The Girl, the only female that joins The Driver, The Mechanic, and GTO on their road trip. She seems to represent a free spirited, nomadic California girl, one who voluntarily invites herself into the ’55 Chevy and voluntarily rides with GTO whenever she decides upon the action. If anything is clear it’s that The Girl has more freedom and choice than any of the male characters, doing what she wants when she wants, only being limited when in the passenger seat of either the Chevy or the Pontiac. She also brings on the affections of all three of the main male characters in different ways: The Mechanic does it and gets it done efficiently, The Driver does it in the more traditional slow-paced way, and GTO just talks about how crazy he is about her and how they should drive down to Mexico, or Florida, or New York. The Girl is never put into the background, always having a presence amongst the males even if it’s just so they have someone else to talk to. While she may not represent a specific type of person, her broader representation does allow for her character to be the most free and driven by choice, as shown in the scenes where she sometimes abandons the males and does her own thing.

The cinematography and direction in Two-Lane Blacktop is top quality excellence, taking advantage of its widescreen angles to show us everything that surrounds the characters, be it people, plains, establishments, or other vehicles. Even the close-ups are done with elegance, at no time ever making it obnoxious by way of only showing the face, but instead showing us everything that surrounds the characters (sunlight, the car interior, a bar or restaurant). The tracking of the automobiles is also excellent, always seeing where they are and where they’re going, even when they move rapidly or unexpectedly. Something that is also worthy to note is the lack of music: Two-Lane Blacktop has no musical score, only relying on a few licensed tunes that prop up now and again. This lack of film score only helps the film achieve its poetic grace by way of focusing only on what is happening on screen via the visuals and the sounds. Because of the lack of soundtrack, the ambient noise that occurs is very important to the film, allowing us to hear the nuances of an automobile’s engine and the chatter of people at a bar or restaurant.

If there is anything to take from Two-Lane Blacktop it’s this: You can never go fast enough.

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Downhill Racer is not a film about skiing; rather, it’s a film about a specific individual who just so happens to be a great skier and takes it very seriously. Downhill Racer is a character study, written by James Salter, with the titular racer being played by Robert Redford, with a supporting cast that includes Gene Hackman (his coach) and Camilla Sparv (his European fling).

David Chappellet (Redford) is a cocky, no-nonsense skier from Idaho Springs, Colorado who gets called in to be in a USA ski team that’s in mid-season in Europe. Right from the start, everyone gets to see how arrogant he acts, refusing to race if he isn’t placed higher on the race list. But once he impresses, he becomes more popular which only fuels his ego more. David Chappellet is a man who sees only the gold at the end reserved for the winners, and if someone gets in his way he refuses to acknowledge their existence.

The film shows us the character of Chappellet as objectively as possible, neither trying to paint a sympathetic portrait nor trying to show us a cold blooded being. Without much commentary (or even musical cues), we see Chappellet go about his various activities, showing us how the man acts and how he treats others. What these scenes actually show is how self-absorbed David is, a man only concerned with himself and winning. Even when he’s with his European girlfriend, Carole (Sparv), he seems aimed at only pleasing himself for the benefit of himself.

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While I commend the film for focusing much time on its protagonist, this turns out to be the weakest part of the film. That’s not to say that these moments are not well done–they are, very well done, indeed—but they unfortunately do not feel like anything new or special. The film does not make most of David’s day to day routines anything more than what they are, rarely using music, and simply focusing on the character and events without commentary.

Where the film does excel is in its direction and cinematography; when snow-capped mountains and skiing are involved, I don’t think traditional ways of shooting are possible. Right from the start, we are shown mountains and snow, all well done by cinematographer Brian Probyn. Director Michael Ritchie goes from traditional shots to cinema verite, where he gives us a sort of documentary feel whether we’re deep in the action or at a press conference. While plenty of regular scenes have excellent angles and transitions (not to mention inspired editing by Richard Harris), the moments of actual skiing stand out: close-ups, point-of-views, and wonderful tracking. Even when looking at the action through a televised broadcast, we follow the skiers as they dangerously speed past down the mountain slopes; the opening credit sequence in particular shows off many great shots of skiing.

Something else to note is that the music (by Kenyon Hopkins) is very odd, since it sounds like something you would hear in a late ‘60s spy thriller or television program, but not a sports film. However, it’s the absence of music that might be more telling and important to note. Even in moments of David seeing his father or having dinner or talking with his team mates, music never seems to prop up very much.

Downhill Racer shows us the opposite of a team player, the man who only cares about himself, with winning the gold the only thing on his mind. While it does a very good job at showing us an arrogant man who ignores most of those around him, it doesn’t do it in a way that feels important or exciting; depending on how you see it, this distant-but-intimate way of telling the story could work in the film’s favor or cause it to be less interesting. However, the film truly shines in its moments of sport, when skiers fly past the camera, when sports casters comment on the action, and when danger can happen at any false turn. And just like the film, it’s the protagonist David Chappellet who shines best when skiing downhill, personifying the ideal of risking it all to be the very best.

Based around Whit Stillman’s own experiences while in Washington D.C. in late 1970, Metropolitan is a hilarious film that presents us with human characters of the debutante society (during debutante season). Featuring characters that could easily count as irritable or unlikable, we are shown men and women who we’ve come to know as (or feel are or are represented as) one-dimensional and who are given the true three-dimensional treatment.

They may not all be dynamic characters, but in a way (given the film’s time frame), not only is this deliberate, but very difficult. Over the course of about one December week in Manhattan, we see Tom Townsend (Edward Clements) get involved in the high society lives of a few privileged preppies (a name one character thinks is inappropriate and not reflective of their group).

The greatest thing this film does is dialogue (it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay). What makes it hilarious for me is how accurate, yet, satirical it feels: People do have these sorts of conversations and it feels genuine in this film. While one could argue people in real life don’t always (if ever) speak the way these characters do, the fact that they actually do (to some degree or extent) is what makes it so brilliant.

Regardless of the time period this film takes place in and regardless of what “social class” you belong to, there is much to admire in the way it deconstructs high society and its players. In many respects, the film is old fashioned in the way of its comedy, only sticking to dialogue that never feels forced; at no point do crazy things happen for the sake of comedy and all that does happen is to either push the story forward or help us learn more about the characters.

As aforementioned, majority of the characters don’t actually develop; instead, they are learned about, researched in a way, as Upper West Side Tom gets to know the Upper East Siders a bit more each day — As Tom gets to realize who and how these people really are, so do we. Tom himself is an interesting character, being on a much different spectrum than the other characters (he has less resources, lives on a different side of town, has old fashioned socialist views, and doesn’t even like debutante events); his interactions with the “urban haute bourgeoisie” are nothing short of hysterical.

We are given an insight into the lives of these characters who, as it should be, live in quite a different world than Tom. For starters, the film is based around a sort of lifestyle that may have all but vanished during the film’s actual time frame (a story written about the early 1970’s that takes place in the very late 1980’s); this is reflected upon by a couple characters, notably Nick Smith (Chris Eigeman) and Charlie Black (Taylor Nichols). Throughout the film, the debutante’s themselves provide commentary about their lives and ways of thinking (philosopher Charlie leads these proceedings while Nick the cynic complains about everything).

As might be expected and/or feared in a film such as this, a sort of romance begins to bloom between Tom and Audrey Rouget (Carolyn Farina), which, unexpectedly and unsurprisingly, has its share of problems. Thankfully, this romance is never given primary focus, and becomes just another topic of discussion this film (and its characters) addresses, which of course makes it no less important.

It’s the topics and themes that I admired most. Like a novel from so long ago, the topics discussed here haven’t aged a day, bringing up questions of one’s own class, how the times are, and how (at least to Nick) the current generation of young people is the worse one there’s ever been (circa 1974/1989, mind you).

Something else worthy of note is the way the whole thing goes along: At the start of the film, things are quite lively and giddy, but by the end, the film and its characters (and their events) have lost steam. At first I thought this may have been a flaw in the film until I realized how much this was just a reflection of the events conspiring on screen: As the week goes by and as the gatherings become more empty and less frequent, it becomes more apparent whom the characters really are and what they’re really up to; the characters themselves get bored as the “norm” begins to take over again at the end of their winter break and debutante season.

With charm, honesty, hilarity, and authenticity, Metropolitan manages to address timeless issues while also presenting us with a fantastic and wonderful look at a group of young men and women who, at the core of it all, aren’t so different from the rest of us.

How did a film like Casino Royale ever get released? Troubled production, over five different directors, and God knows how many screen writers (three are credited but it’s said that over six others contributed), 1967’s Casino Royale is a perfect example of an over-budget film being high on itself and a beautiful disaster. Spoofing the spy genre (as well as capitalizing on the James Bond name), the film is the loosest adaption of the Casino Royale novel ever made, featuring a loose as hell narrative, too many characters, plot holes, little context, and so on. Yet, for all its flaws, I still enjoyed the film greatly: I was entertained, had some great laughs, and was genuinely interested in what went on. It’s such a unique and of-its-time film that I can’t help but still like it (even though its infamy is well deserved).

The film’s cast list includes, but is not limited to: David Niven, Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, Orson Welles, Barbara Bouchet, Deborah Kerr, Joanna Pettet, and Woody Allen. A brief synopsis of the film feels almost as unnecessary as it is impossible, but: Sir James Bond (David Niven) is called out of retirement to stop SMERSH, which includes beating Le Chiffre (Orson Welles) in a game of baccarat (he owes SMERSH money, if you can believe it). Along the way, Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers), a man who knows his baccarat, is recruited by Vesper Lynd (Ursula Andress) to play against Le Chiffre and stop SMERSH from….doing more evil doings. The character of Tremble is essentially the other big important character aside from Sir Bond, but so many characters get introduced and so many get offed that I honestly didn’t notice when one character disappeared and another reappeared. To top it all off, while each of the characters has a different name, many of the characters are given the title of James Bond 007; this is devised by Sir Bond himself as a way to confuse the enemy (as well as the audience, if they’re trying to keep up with who is being named James Bond).

While the film is a spy spoof, it has no other form of identity; scenes go all over the place, the direction is always changing (certain scenes and actors were specifically shot by certain directors), but the story is probably the biggest disaster because there almost isn’t one. To explain: The story concerns defeating SMERSH by beating one of their own at a card game. Simple enough, right? Well, being that the film is over two hours long, it feels the need to provide scenes of characters doing certain things for over twenty minutes or more. Wanna see Sir James Bond visiting M’s household? Wanna see it go on for over twenty minutes? Wanna see one of the many 007’s infiltrate a SMERSH cover operation? Wanna see it go on for over twenty minutes?

What happens is that these scenes go on longer than they need to and introduce even more characters that, more than likely, don’t need to exist as main characters, let alone as minor characters. If these scenes were cut and made tighter in their focus, this film would be so much shorter, believe me. Yet, once again, something about the film filling and wasting its own time on unnecessary length and “exposition” fascinates me and keeps me interested; the only reason I can find for why I don’t mind this or why I like it is because it makes the overall film that much more interesting to follow, giving it a slower pace than it should have. Plus, I like lengthy films. Or, maybe it being so unnecessary makes the film worse and that much more of an entertaining and sensational disaster. Who knows.

So what other problems does this film have? Well, one huge problem I noticed is that it doesn’t really care for context. How did we get form here to there? Why did this happen? Whatever happened to so and so? If you’re really paying attention, you more than likely will be asking questions about what’s going on. Of course, not like it matters, since this film barely has a story to hold onto. Still, there are moments where I’m not sure what’s going on or what happened simply because no one has provided the context. Of course, some moments do have good context, but so many others have next to none. This also goes for transitions, which this film obviously has never heard about — In fact, one moment in particular stands out above all the others: a scene transitions from a kidnapping, to one of the 007’s looking for the kidnapped, to an unrelated scene, to the secret agent having been captured. Context? A transition explaining what happened? Don’t count on it.

So what does this film do right? Well, it succeeds in being an entertaining disaster, but I’m not sure that was the film’s intention. What it did succeed most in was making me laugh. Not every scene is a hit, and many moments are more humorous than they are funny. Still, other times I was laughing out loud and enjoying what was happening on screen. Any moment something blew up, I was having a ball (the explosions truly are a highlight). As it turns out, the funniest moments for me where when certain characters were killed off. Not every single character’s death was amusing, and it isn’t the sole fact that they died that amused me: It was the way they were killed. (I won’t spoil anything for those that want to see it all for themselves.) I will also add that the acting was actually not bad and the film ended exactly the way I wanted it to.

The music is probably the biggest highlight and most positive thing one can say about the film. Composed by Burt Bacharach, the music is deliciously late ’60s, making scenes more entertaining than they should be. There’s also the song “The Look of Love” by Dusty Springfield that is surprisingly well done. 

It’s fully understandable why Casino Royale has a bad reputation: the script’s narrative is beyond loose, the direction is all over the place, and the overall feel is overly goofy, ultimately confusing the audience with a film that doesn’t know what to do with itself. I don’t blame anyone involved in this picture with disowning or disassociating themselves from it. Still, there’s something charming about this mess, something fun and entertaining. It spoofs plenty of 007 conventions well, and its erratic nature and overblown ways is something you just never see. A film like Casino Royale rarely ever exists; It’s the result of the trends, the times, and the hype of Old Hollywood before the New Hollywood age came into town. It’s the sort of film that is worth checking out for its sheer infamy alone. Whether you’re a 007 fan, a fan of the late ’60s, a fan of disasters, or you’re masochistic, Casino Royale is a rare kind of picture that will (hopefully) never come into existence again.

Every so often, there comes a film so bizarre, so unique, so out there, that it ends up being a must-see for those very reasons alone, regardless of whether the film itself is actually good or bad. Miami Connection is one of those movies, a low budget, martial arts film that has a lot of spirit and passion from the people who made it. Conceived by director Richard Park, and Tae Kwon Do grand master Y.K. Kim (who also wrote, produced, and stars in the film), Miami Connection (which barely takes in place in said location) is about a Miami ninja biker gang (seriously) that runs the cocaine circuit in Miami and sets its sights on conquering Orlando as well. Orlando is where we meet our protagonists, a band called Dragon Sound with band members that are all black belts in Tae Kwon Do. When these two clash, things get really crazy. 

Miami Connection was only released regionally in Orlando and West Germany during its original release time. It was only until recently that it was rediscovered by Drafthouse Films and shown to a wider audience with positive reception. When originally being made, no distributor gave it a chance, until a small distribution company bought it for $100,000. It became an underground cult film during this time and an old shame for Y.K. Kim. However, it has recently garnered a resurgence with positive reception from critics and audiences alike.

So why was this film hid away so long? Maybe because it’s notoriously so bad that it’s amazing and the critics of back then couldn’t figure it out. The film is so incredibly ’80s that it can be seen as a time capsule of that area. From the hair, to the music (which we get to hear in full ’80s synth rock glory), to the cars, to the everything – It’s all ’80s all the time. 

The aforementioned plot is as basic as it gets, giving our heroes every and any opportunity to kick butt. There’s even a fight against some band members and a night club owner/manager! Any excuse to simply hit people is given in this film. It helps that the main characters that compose Dragon Sound (five men and a female singer) are all black belts in Tae Kwon Do in real life (save for the female). The action scenes range from stupid awesome to just stupid: sometimes characters do or don’t get hit, sometimes characters do moves that have no reason to be made, and sometimes the moves being made make sense, but the fights are almost always unnecessary, which is what makes it all so great. The fights get really crazy at the end when our heroes have to go against the Miami Ninjas, who use all sorts of blades. 

In case you’re wondering, yes, all these actors are bad actors. However, they have spirit and do try (not too hard), so it’s actually not as painful as it sounds. On the contrary, the acting is hilarious most of the time, featuring terrible dialogue and a man who can’t speak English (Kim). Some of the acting goes to really bad heights, and other times the acting is, well, obvious, which, in turn, can make it painful to watch. 

The music is really awesome, being as authentic of the time as ever. Featuring original songs such as “Friends” and “Against the Ninja,” these songs are so radical that I couldn’t help but dance like a goof when they played. The opening credits (which feature the song “Escape from Miami”) are really cool for being so serious, which noticeably contrasts with the movie, which can’t be serious even when it tries.

I like that the setting is authentic, meaning that when they say they’re in Miami or Orlando it’s the real deal. They even show footage of the University of Central Florida, which is located near the downtown Orlando area. It is curious that nearly all the characters refer to their location as Central Florida, which is accurate, but still interesting; it’s as if I were in Miami all the time but always referred to it as South Florida – it is accurate, being in the general South area, but there are other cities that compose South and even Central Florida. In that respect, Miami is always referred to as Miami (whenever it’s even mentioned at all).

And that leads me to my only complaint: It barely takes place in Miami. Consider this a precaution and not a spoiler: You don’t wanna go into this movie thinking it’s all in Miami, or else you’ll end up a bit bummed like I was at the fact that, no, it doesn’t take place on the mean streets of Miami but on the sorta-mean streets of Orlando. The title, as it turns out though, is a reference to the Miami Ninjas and not just the city; this ends up making more sense, since they’re in Orlando but from Miami, hence, the Miami connection.

Aside from the aforementioned complaint, I have no other problems with this movie. There’s barely any filler (and if there is it’s never boring), the music is out of sight, and the whole ride is always entertaining. There are many laugh out loud moments, as well as awkward scenes, dialogue, and so on. There’s a few scenes where I’m pretty certain I saw the production crew standing around, too, which is classic.

Overall, all I can say is that Miami Connection is so bad it’s awesome. I recommend it to basically everyone and anyone who likes exploitation B-movies, hilarious movies, martial arts films, and films that are great to watch with others. And remember: Eliminating violence through violence is always the answer. 

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Based on the highly popular manga series Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama, Dragonball Evolution is a bastardization as well as an insult. Anyone who loved good ol’ Dragonball more than likely would despise this film – yet, there’s something ridiculously entertaining about the whole thing. When it comes to what makes a film bad, it almost always comes down to execution: Dragonball Evolution manages to actually have good cinematography, entertaining moments, colorful design, and a general sense of fun. However, it also has bad acting, bad scripting, and less than stellar special effects (some of the practical effects are fine, though).

Dragonball Evolution (why is it called that?) tells the story of Goku (played by Justin Chatwin), who basically has to save the world from the evil Piccolo (James Marsters) and gather the seven Dragon Balls which will grant anyone one who has them one perfect wish. The rest of the story and its details are, as one might expect, not at all important or necessary to talk about in a review. Sure, I could talk about Goku’s love interest Chi-Chi (played by Jamie Chung, who’s attractiveness is one of the film’s strengths), about his grandfather (Randall Duk Kim), and other pointless stuff, but that would mean actually talking about the story (which doesn’t do this film any favors), so instead, I’ll point out moments that either showed the film’s strengths or weaknesses. 

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The beginning is nice, showing some insight into Goku’s high school life and how cliché the bullies are (dur hur lameo). These are actually some of the best moments in the film, especially when Goku goes to Chi-Chi’s party and opens a can of whoop ass. Other neat moments are when the characters are in that place with the tournament and temple (I can’t find or remember the location’s name for some reason). Chow Yun-fat as Master Roshi in himself is always entertaining, appearing to have a lot of fun in the role. There’s also an editing technique used early in the film that I found particularly cool.

So where does the film do wrong? In the most important of places: Acting & Scripting. The acting is the most noticeable problem of the two, but I guess it wouldn’t be there without the bad script, either. Awkward moments, terrible dialogue, and strange plot points are at full display. I call out Emmy Rossum (Bulma Briefs) and Joon Park (Yamcha) specifically for her bad acting and his lame dialogue (though I guess his acting isn’t much better). It’s amazing that Justin Chatwin is one of the better actors here – in fact, he’s one of the most likeable characters (for me, anyway). The best actors are obviously Chow Yun-fat and Randall Duk Kim. Here’s the rest of the problem, though: These characters have odd dialogue a lot of the time, the film itself has odd pacing, and a bizarre plot that made me question the entire premise within the first two minutes. 

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It may not be the easiest thing to specify why, but I know for sure that Dragonball Evolution is not a good movie. I could blame it on the acting, the script as a whole, the disgrace it is to the source material, but in the end, all I’m able to really muster is that it’s a bad movie – not an awful one, not an unwatchable one (it’s actually entertaining largely for its badness), but just a bad one. It didn’t fail in its premise at all: I asked for an entertaining, pointless, bad looking film and by God I got one. But that’s the biggest problem of all: It had no reason to be made whatsoever. 

Hitting the world like a punch in the jaw, Pulp Fiction is a phenomenon of a movie that plays with itself as a genre film while simultaneously telling an excellent and fresh tale that never seems to get old with the passage of time or repetition. Featuring an all-star cast that includes John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria de Medeiros, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Walken, and Bruce Willis, Pulp Fiction weaves together three separate tales taking place in ’90s Los Angeles, featuring killer dialogue, graphic violence, and a lot of humor – all to the sounds of an eclectic and brilliant soundtrack. 

First off, it’s important to point out what kind of film this is. It’s first and foremost a genre piece, an exploitation film that is an homage to the kinds of films it has been inspired by. It’s also a very successful black comedy, featuring a hilarious cast of characters, scenes, and dialogue that is as quotable as anything that’s ever been put on film. Characters such as Jules (Jackson) and Vincent (Travolta) have great chemistry and provide us with excellent conversations to witness. Essentially, every character in this film is excellent in one degree or the other, be it Mrs. Mia Wallace (Thurman), Marsellus Wallace (Rhames), Butch (Willis), or Winston “The Wolf” Wolfe (Keitel). Roth and Plummer are notable as a couple who rob places, with an interesting chemistry and equally interesting dialogue and scenes. However, my favorite character has to be (of all the people) Jimmie, played by Quentin Tarantino himself. As is in Reservoir Dogs, my favorite character ends up being played by Tarantino; something about the way he looks, acts, and is makes it almost impossible for me to not make him my favorite character/person in whatever thing he may be in. In any case, Jimmie has my favorite monologue in the movie and some of my favorite lines as well; the scene that features him is also probably my favorite.

When it comes to music, Tarantino knows his stuff. He does this sort of thing instinctively, carefully, with smart input and direction. The soundtrack for Pulp Fiction is classic, featuring assorted genres of music that also fit perfectly well in whatever scene they are featured it. While I would say the best use of music in this film is the opening and closing credits, the music is excellent all of the time and can sometimes really make a scene what it is, so it’s almost unfair for me to single out a scene or two as being the best; all I have is my opinion, and not even that can be selective.

I don’t know what it is, but Tarantino is an incredible writer with an incredible knack for dialogue, be it unimportant or part of the actual over-arching story. He infuses each of his characters with personality, making them memorable for a variety of reasons. Essentially, any character that has notable screen time could be extremely well liked and memorable because they actually are characters, they are “people” who exist in this world (which is essentially a movie-like world, a theory which can be backed by Tarantino’s love for movies in his movies). Tarantino’s talent also goes for the stories he writes, but that goes without saying.

Pulp Fiction is a true American masterpiece, the kind of thing that lives up to its name and manages to stay with you and have an impact on your life in some degree. Quentin Tarantino made something unique, yet old fashioned, and all brand new all at once. Movies like this don’t perpetually exist. Movies as well written, as well acted, as well played as this one don’t get made. As Jules might say, God came down and graced Tarantino with the will and mind to write this story down and make this film so that the world may see it and embrace it for what is: a perfect piece of pulp fiction. 

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