So yeah, I've seen this one already. Like, only about ten thousand times. Just like you. So let's do this mother fucker.
Plot summary (with spoilers): Pumpkin and Honey Bunny are at the diner, discussing the finer points of armed robbery. The banks are too dangerous. The convenience stores don't have much cash. But last time, Honey Bunny had the idea to rob the customers as they came in. They yielded a bigger bounty than the register. Good call, Honey Bunny! Say, why don't people ever rob restaurants? Because they're usually huge with multiple exits and lots of windows and people are always coming in and out? Nah, must be some other lame reason! It's the perfect plan. Let's do it! Okay! Kisses! ANY OF YOU FUCKING PRICKS MOVE, AND I'LL EXECUTE EVERY LAST MOTHER FUCKING ONE OF YOU!!
Two men in suits, Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, are on a leisurely drive in the Valley. Vincent is discussing a recent trip he took to Europe. Jules wants to know if it's true that hash is legal in Amsterdam. It is, but not just out in the open. It's kind of complicated, and not really the sort of minutiae that movie dialog would ever delve into unless it was really germane to the plot--oh, what's that? Oh, okay. Well, it seems that it's legal to grow and it's legal to smoke, but it's not legal to have on your person in public, but that's okay because it's illegal for cops to search you. Also, there are little differences in Europe. In Paris, they call a Quarter Pounder a "Royale with Cheese", because of the metric system. Again, I'm not really sure what this has to really do with anything, if we could just move on--oh, sorry. Yes, the Big Mac is called "Le Big Mac". Not that different, really. Nope, didn't go to Burger King.
Vincent and Jules arrive at their destination. The open the trunk of their car, and pull out a couple of very large guns. Conversation turns to an associate of theirs, who was recently thrown out a window by their boss, Marcellus Wallace. Seems this associate was caught giving Marcellus Wallace's wife a foot massage. Vincent agrees that this is excessive, but also thinks the guy was asking for it. Jules thinks that a foot massage is completely non-sexual, and not an issue at all. Vincent asks if he would give a dude a foot massage. Jules says to fuck off. Vincent teases him, and says he's tired and could use a foot massage right now. (Quentin Tarantino yells "cut" and John Travolta says "no seriously, could you give me a foot massage?")
Having proven his point, Vincent heads over to the apartment door they're supposed to enter. The appointed time has not yet arrived, so they hang back. Vincent tells Jules that he has an upcoming date with Mrs. Wallace, at Marcellus Wallace's request. He'll be out of town for a bit, and wants someone to keep his wife entertained. Vincent assures Jules that there will be no massaging going on, foot or otherwise. Finally, the time has come to enter the apartment. Inside are three guys, one of whom let them in and seems to know they were arriving. Another one is lying on a couch, and another is seated at the table, eating a Big Kahuna Burger. Jules tells the man on the couch to not get up and to keep relaxing. Jules is very polite. He asks the man seated at the table (Brett) if he could have a bite of his burger. Brett says yes. And a soda to wash it down? Jules basically eats Brett's entire meal, before asking him where the package is. The one he was supposed to deliver to Marcellus Wallace. The guy on the couch directs Vincent to the kitchen. Vincent pulls out a suitcase. Puts in the combination 666. And opens it up. The suitcase glows gold. Are we cool? Yes we are cool. Jules asks Brett what Marcellus Wallace looks like. What? What? SAY "WHAT" AGAIN, MOTHERFUCKER! Does he look like a bitch? NO! Then why are you trying to fuck him like one? Marcellus Wallace doesn't want to be fucked by anyone except Mrs.Wallace. (So hopefully no one will come along later in the movie and fuck him).
AND YOU KNOW MY NAME IS THE LORD WHEN I LAY MY VENGEANCE UPON THEE! BANG BANG BANG! Brett is blasted.
New scene. Vincent and Jules arrive at Marcellus Wallace's bar, where a boxer named Butch is being bribed to take a fall. In the fifth, his ass is supposed to go down. Vincent and Jules are wearing dorky T-shirts and board shorts. They have no desire to talk about it. But they have the suitcase, and that's all that matters.
Drug dealer Lance's phone is ringing. He ignores it a first, while his girlfriend yells at him, complaining about the lateness of the call. Lance agrees, and answers, preparing to give the caller a piece of his mind. It's Vincent, explaining the situation and begging for help. Lances says to go elsewhere, then realizes Vincent is calling on a "cellular phone" which can be overheard easily by anyone like a CB conversation. Lance hangs up, but too late, Vincent and the unconscious Mrs. Wallace have arrived. One Vincent explains to Vince who it is, and how much trouble he'll be in if Marcellus Wallace finds out he refused to help, Lance knows he can't refuse them. He says she needs and adrenaline shot, right in the heart. Do you have a magic marker, a fucking felt pen, a fucking black magic marker?! You have to stab her in the heart with the needle! Three times? No, one time! Ready? One, two, three, GO! Say something! Something.
On the way home, again. Significantly less sexual tension this time. The joke from the TV pilot was that the father tomato murdered his son for walking too slow or something.
A little boy named Butch watches old cartoons when they were probably new. His mother lets a guy as creepy as Christopher Walken into the house to talk to him. Christopher Walken has a watch for Butch. He explains it was Butch's father's watch, and his father's before him, and his father's before that. When Butch's father was captured by the Japanese, he hid the watch up his ass for five years. He probably shouldn't have brought it to a war if it was that important, come to think of it. Christopher Walken had it up his ass for two years after Butch's dad was killed. And now it's yours, Butch. Wash it, and wear it with pride.
Present day Butch is amping up for the big boxing match. Round One begins, off camera, and Butch pulverizes the guy, kills him in fact, in the first round. This is not what Marcellus Wallace paid for. Butch escapes the boxing stadium out a window, and hops into a waiting cab. The cab driver asks him what it's like to kill a man. Butch didn't know until just now that he had, but he's okay with it. He calls his bookie at a phone booth, laughing about the dead boxer, saying he shouldn't have ever boxed in the first place and is excited to learn about all the money he won.
The cab drops him off at a hotel, where he meets up with his European girlfriend Fabienne who expresses a fondness for pot-bellies. (Later interpretations claim she was working up to telling him she was pregnant, and I can see that). Butch asks Fabienne if she got everything they needed from the apartment. She says yes. Butch showers, and I find myself shocked to see more this time than I remember seeing in the theatre. Go, Bruce! They discuss plans to flee south of the border, living the good life. Fabienne is freaking adorable.
The next morning, Butch awakens from a bad dream. They go to back up their stuff. Where is the watch? I packed it. It's there? No, it's not. Did you really pack it? I believe so. You believe so?!! Unbelievable. A TV is thrown, Fabienne shrinks into the corner. It's my fault, I should've told you the ass story.
Butch is gone, heading back to his apartment, leery of any of Marcellus's men who may be guarding the place. He goes into his apartment. No one's there. He grabs the watch, looks around. Still nothing. He decides to cook a couple of Pop Tarts in the toaster, because why the fuck not? Nothing to do but wait for Pop Tarts. Guess Butch will just casually look around the room and...say there's a giant gun right there on the counter. Pretty sure Fabienne didn't leave it there. He slowly walks over to it. Suddenly, he hears a toilet flush. He grabs the gun, aims it at the bathroom (which is right next to the kitchen, ew!) and waits. The door opens and it's our friend and dancing champion Vincent Vega. He stares at Butch. Butch stares back. The Pop Tarts pop. Vincent is shot two thousand times, and falls into a heap. Guess we'll never see him in this movie again! Butch forgets his Pop Tarts and scrams. He can hardly believe his luck. He jumps back in the car, smiling and singing along to the radio. He stops at red light. A pedestrian crosses in front of him, and lo and behold it's the big guy himself, Marcellus Wallace. Their eyes lock. Butch floors it, smashing into Marcellus Wallace, and then getting hit himself in the intersection. Marcellus Wallace gets up first, a crowd around him. He stands, sees Butch getting out of his car about a block away and fires his gun, hitting a random pedestrian. Butch staggers away, Marcellus Wallace in hot pursuit, firing wildly. Butch slips around the corner, and goes into a random shop. The shopkeeper is confused by his bloddy appearance. Butch hides around the door and as Marcellus Wallace staggers by, Butch ambushes him. They struggle, and Butch gets the gun and starts beating him silly. Just as he's about to shoot him in the face, the shopkeeper cocks his shotgun.
Back away! Put your hands on your head! He hits Butch in the face with the shotgun, and Butch falls to the floor. He grabs his phone, obviously calling 911. Apparently, he knows the 911 operator and calls him Zed. He wants Zed to come over, right away. Hmm...
Butch and Marcellus Wallace are tied to chairs with ball gags in their mouths. The shopkeeper sprays them with water. In walks Zed, a security guard. I don't think this is proper police procedure. The shopkeeper calls for the Gimp. The Gimp is sleeping. I guess you're gonna have to wake him up then, won't you? A person in all leather is removed from a tiny box. They put him on a leash. Who's first? Eeeny Meeny Miny Moe...oh, well as kids we always said "Tiger", but you can do your version, I guess. It's your shop. Marcellus Wallace is the "winner", so he is dragged off to a separate room for modesty's sake by Zed and the shopkeeper. The Gimp stands guard. Butch easily and quickly breaks free of his bonds, punches out the Gimp, and races upstairs and out of the shop. He stops at the door, hearing a variety of unpleasant noises down below. He's at a crossroads. Do the right thing, or let Marcellus Wallace burn? He goes back into the shop, grabs a sword hanging on the wall, and goes back downstairs. The shopkeeper is sliced and diced. Zed backs away from Marcellus Wallace. Was Sir Mix a Lot around in 1994? I bet Zed would've liked that song. Marcellus Wallace stands and shoots Zed in the dick. What happens now?, says Butch. A whole lot of torture. No, between us. Oh, that. You're free to go. Don't ever come back to LA again.
Butch leaves the shop of horrors, his redemption arc complete, and sees a motorcycle, I mean a chopper, outside. He picks up Fabienne at the hotel. Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead.
A man is holding a gun, breathing hard. He hears Jules outside the room, talking about Big Kahuna burgers and the big brain on Brett and Ezekiel. AND YOU KNOW MY NAME IS THE LORD WHEN I LAY MY VENGEANCE UPON THEE! Brett is blasted.
The man leaps out of the room, sees Vincent and Jules standing there, and unloads his gun. ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX click click click click.
Every bullet misses both Vincent and Jules. They quickly dispatch of the man. Jules is stunned. Vincent hassles Marvin, the last man standing.
On the drive back, Jules insists that the bullets missing them was a sign from God, a miracle, while Vincent, the hash-loving man of science, sneers at this. Vincent wants Marvin's opinion. BLAM! Marvin just got shot in the face. Both men and the car are covered in blood. Is there anywhere safe to go and hide out from the cops? Jimmy. Jimmy's house. Jimmy is displeased. "Is there a sign in my driveway? A sign that says 'Dead African American storage? Because I don't see a sign like that. And yet, I have a dead African American in my garage". Jules calls still-pure Marcellus Wallace, who sends help in the form of The Wolf. The Wolf is dressed in a tux and at some sort of cocktail party at 8:00am, because that's The Wolf. The Wolf instructs the duo on a bunch of basic common sense stuff, like cleaning the car and washing themselves and Vincent absurdly bitches and grumbles the whole time, like they're doing The Wolf a favor. Jimmy gives them dorky T-shirts and board shorts. They deposit the car in a junkyard. Let's go to breakfast.
At the diner, more chit-chat about the filth of pigs, and then Jules tells Vincent he's leaving the job. Forever. Vincent can't believe it, calls him a bum. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom again. I mean, for the first time, chronologically.
DON'T ANY OF YOU PRICKS MOVE OR I'LL EXECUTE EVERY LAST MOTHER FUCKING ONE OF YA!!
Oh, shit! Honey Bunny and Pumpkin! There you guys are! Honey Bunny surveys the scene while Pumpkin walks around with a trash bag to put all the customer's wallets in. He approaches Jules. Jules gives up the wallet easily enough, but when Pumpkin also wants the suitcase, Jules refuses. Pumpkin aims his gun at Jules's face. Orders him to open it. Jules does so. Pumpkin looks down at the beautiful gold glow. Is that what I think it is? It is. Jules grabs Pumpkin's gun, then produces his own. Honey Bunny freaks. Bitch be cool! We're just three Fonzies. Vincent finally comes out of the bathroom and points his gun at Honey Bunny. Now we're three Fonzies and a Vinnie. Jules orders Pumpkin to remove his wallet from the bag. Inside is fifteen hundred dollars. He lets Pumpkin keep it, explaining that today is Pumpkin's lucky day. Normally, he would already be dead. But this 1500 dollars is buying Pumpkin his life. The passage Jules always quoted from Ezekiel was just something cool he liked to say before he iced a dude. But today...today he realizes that he himself is the tyranny of evil men. But he's trying to change. Pumpkin and Honey Bunny leave. I'm sure the other customers would've appreciated a less costly solution. Vincent suggests it's time to go. Jules agrees. They tuck their guns inside their board shorts, suitcase in hand, and exit the restaurant.
Review: So...I think there better be something AMAZING further up this list if it hopes to beat out Pulp Fiction. Like most Tarantino movies, except that awful Death Proof, it works on two levels. You can appreciate it as mindless and wildly entertaining pulp, and on that level, it's master-class. It has all the necessary crazy violence and action. Plus, no ordinary action movie has dozens of quotable lines, reducing everyone who sees it into acting like they're the host of The Chris Farley show, saying "remember that one scene...and then he said...oh, that was awesome!" It has multiple story lines that intersect in all the right places, and the playing around with time, while gimmicky in some movies, actually enhances the story here. When he hear Jules tell Vincent that the bullets missing them were Divine Intervention and Vincent scoffs, we already know Vincent winds up dead, so there's no question as to who's right and who's wrong.
One thing that struck me funny this time around, though. I remember how crazy and dark the adrenaline scene was, and how freaked out the audience was in the theatre. The other night I thought it actually was kind of tame. I think kids today would hardly bat an eye if they saw this in the theatre, now in the days of torture porn like Saw and Hostel. Also, a good litmus test for how corrupt you are is how long it took you to figure out what Zed and his friend were up to. I think most teens and twenty year olds would know the score immediately upon seeing the ballgags. My friends and I were confused until Marcellus got dragged into the other room. Times change.
But it works on another level too, about a story of redemption and forgiveness. When Butch kills the boxer in the ring, he doesn't give a shit, but yet he later takes the time to save his arch-enemy's life. Jules chooses to let Pumpkin live. Both were tested by God, and both passed. Vincent learns nothing, despite being warned twice, (once with the bullets, and once with Mia) fails and dies. What's in the suitcase? I dunno. Not sure it's important. But the religious undertones in this movie would compel you to think it's related in some way. I've heard there are even college courses that teach Pulp Fiction as a class, and I can see that. I think that Quentin gets to stand tall and shoulder to shoulder with Scorsese, Speilberg, Kubrick, and a handful of others.
Stars: Five out of five. Can I say six? Oh, fine. Five.
Does it deserve "Best 100" status: Of course, and it deserves to be much higher up the list, too.