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Monday, December 28, 2015

In celebration of Quentin Tarantino’s new movie The Hateful Eight, I think I will dedicate the month of January to someone I consider to be one of the best directors of all-time. What’s that? You say you hate Tarantino and his movies? That is a common response, because Tarantino has no middle ground. Either you love his movies, or you hate them. I am not a big fan of Quentin Tarantino the person, but I love his movies.

In 1994, the movie world made a big deal about the “comeback of John Travolta” in a Quentin Tarantino movie. I always wondered why Travolta needed a comeback at that point in his career when he had just got done making the first two Look Who’s Talking movies. Granted, those movies did not compare to Urban Cowboy and Saturday Night Fever, but they did relatively well at the box office.

One of the reasons people were so antsy about Pulp Fiction when it came to Travolta was the idea of a “wholesome” actor like Travolta being in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Could the dad in Look Who’s Talking really succeed in a movie made by the guy who did Reservoir Dogs? The answer is yes, and the simple reason is because Vincent Vega is a character that is right in John Travolta’s wheelhouse. After playing Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, Travolta suddenly found himself playing a series of intense roles that better fitted his talents. So, for John Travolta, working with Quentin Tarantino was the best move of his career.

People tend to dismiss Tarantino because of his prolific use of graphic violence, but the truth is that the guy is a great storyteller. Normally, I get frustrated trying to follow a movie that attempts to weave together four or five storylines because the whole thing can get confusing. But Tarantino’s deliberate approach makes it easy to keep up with what is going on in each of his movies.

What I especially like about Pulp Fiction is that all of the stories are connected directly in some way. It isn’t until Tarantino establishes the connection between the stories that he starts putting in details. The end result is that we can care about those details because we are not banging our heads against the wall wondering why we are watching a boxer screw over the mob.

Another element of Pulp Fiction that I like is how smooth the story progresses, despite how segmented it actually is. By all rights, this movie should be thoroughly confusing to anyone who is watching it. But it actually turns out to be a well-designed film that is surprisingly easy follow.

I do have to admit that one of the elements of a Quentin Tarantino film I do not like is when he gives himself a role that tends to break up the movie. In Pulp Fiction, Tarantino plays a racist who appears to be connected to every character in the story, for some reason. I don’t like the approach Tarantino takes when presenting his character, and I really do not like the way that this seemingly insignificant character has the ability to dominate the other characters. Tarantino’s characters are tributes to his own arrogance, and I really do not think they have any place in his movies. But, they are his movies, so we tolerate the roles he plays.

Pulp Fiction is a quirky movie that is made up of several intertwining story lines that are all connected at one single point. The ending of the movie is bizarre, but extremely entertaining. As usual, Tarantino pushes everything to the absolute edge and presents you with an ending that is uncomfortable, but so very good.

It is easy to see why people either love Tarantino movies, or hate them. While I cannot stand Tarantino the public figure, I am a huge fan of his movies. If you have never seen one of his films, then Pulp Fiction is not a bad way to introduce yourself to this crazy universe of stories. I appreciate the symbolism in the movie, and I really enjoy the detail Tarantino puts into every scene. To me, this is a complete movie, and I do not get to say that about many films.

Rating: 3 ½ out of 5

+George N Root III is a drive-in fanatic who loves Quentin Tarantino movies. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him an email at

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