Quick Movie Review: Pulp Fiction (1994)

pulp fiction

If a piece of art is highly influential, does it make that piece of art good? Yeah, probably–great, even. But it doesn’t necessarily mean everyone has to like it.

Intermixing and connecting four stories, the film compares and contrasts all different types of low-level scums of the earth.

In Pulp Fiction, the dialogue is superb–near perfect. Quentin Tarantino’s direction is that of ridiculously mind-numbing proportions. The cinematography is truly something else. Not to mention, groundbreaking on so many different levels–replicated infinitely.

But just because it’s groundbreaking, doesn’t mean it has to be my favorite film.

Perhaps this has something to do with all the hype I’ve been hearing my whole life about how it’s the greatest film of our lifetime–of ALL time. But I wanted to love it. I expected to love it!

And although I didn’t love it necessarily. I liked it–a lot. Tarantino might just be my favorite director. I think he’s the greatest auteur of our generation. Each film of his I’ve seen has inspired me even more in my own writing and artistry.

What I like about Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained, and even Reservoir Dogs, is the sense of grandeur and importance. They all command your attention with mere dialogue in ways that most mainstream action blockbuster flicks never will.

And Pulp Fiction is engaging in that same way. But it differs from those other Tarantino films in one particular way: It’s mostly much ado about nothing. I get that it’s supposed to pose as commentary on the state of the film industry and mimic countless classics that have gone before it. But too often does Pulp Fiction take its sweet time getting to the point. That’s Tarantino’s style with his hard-hitting dialogue–which I find entertaining. But if there is no point (or no point of any substantial value) then all that dialogue gives us just that–entertainment.

Which I’m all for. Some of my favorite films are meaningless is the grand scheme of things. But in those films, I care deeply about the characters. I relate to them. I root for them. Here, I’m not sure who I root for, if anybody. But maybe that’s the point, too.

The nonlinear story is cool, and is brought back to popularity with this movie, but definitely not the most interesting I’ve seen in cinema. On the other hand, watching the stories unfold is. Never knowing what’s coming around the corner or which characters to trust or like. Tarantino gets the absolute best performances out of his talent–Samuel L. Jackson above all else.

The best scene is when John Travolta and Uma Thurman venture to a 1950s-themed diner. Every employee there is a caricature of some ’50s icon. Which is a curious thing since this film pays homage to countless zeitgeists of yesteryear, but almost none of them are from the 1950s.

Perhaps its groundbreakingness is partially due to massively exposing the world to Tarantino and proving that he wasn’t just a one-hit-wonder with Reservoir Dogs. That his style is here to stay.

The movie is exploitation that critics reaffirm as high-quality, while also changing the game for independent films, making it okay for A-listers to appear in these lower budget productions.

But like I said, I also have to credit it to its technical accomplishments. And the fact that it’s thoroughly and consistently engaging.

Pulp Fiction is an amazing film. Perhaps Tarantino’s greatest artistic accomplishment. But one that I could watch over and over? It’s not even my favorite Tarantino film.

Twizard Rating: 97

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Quick Movie Review: City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold

city slickers 2

We have a sequel to 1991’s amazing City Slickers. While this movie is just as enjoyable as the first, it’s not necessarily at the same level technically. But we have a treasure hunt that the characters go on, and who can complain about that? The themes are a little more buried, but the story about brotherhood is what this film is really about.

Jon Lovitz is a great addition to the cast as he provides another banana to Billy Crystal’s smiling straight-man. And we’re always glad they figured out a way to bring back Jack Palance–but this time as Curly’s twin brother, Duke.

The film is never predictable, although it borrows some from previous westerns. But that just adds to the partial satire that this movie is.

It may not make you weep a little like the first one, and there isn’t as much at stake, but with a fantastic cast, you could be entertained watching them fly a kite.

Twizard Rating: 88

Quick Movie Review: Dumb and Dumber

dumber

It’s really hard to be objective about movie that I grew up watching and loving. But while Dumb and Dumber may have its faults, it’s really a great movie and speaks a lot about where we were humor-wise in 1994. Jim Carrey was just starting to blow up and buddy films were at the forefront of the comedy world.

The charm of Dumb and Dumber is purely organic and comprises of a perfect sum of its parts. I was watching the “uncut” version of this film once and have to admit that I didn’t like any of the added/extended scenes. It leads me to realize that this is one of those movies that you can’t add to or take away from. If you touch it at all, it deteriorates its quality.

Although I can watch this movie as is, I can admit that it has its slow parts. The end of the 2nd act it can get sluggish, and the plot finally catches up with itself in the 3rd act as it ties everything together. The runtime can be slimmed down a bit, while the plot stretches quite thin in order to make room for more jokes.

But the charisma of this movie doesn’t necessarily come from the script. It comes from Carrey and Daniels themselves. Their respective individuality–yet similarity–strikes a chord with fans of this film.

Having watched this movie dozens of times I can say that it may not be perfect, but I can’t imagine it any other way–nor would I want to.

Twizard Rating: 89

Quick Movie Review: Beethoven’s 2nd (1993)

I actually really enjoy this movie. Despite the fact that the script is pretty terrible and has tons of holes–way more than the first–the villains motives are way clearer and logical, and this followup has some nice overlaying themes.

Love is in the air in Beethoven’s 2nd and there are hints of it all over this film and in all sorts of different ways. Ryce is torn between two guys, Beethoven finds a misses and has puppies, Missy’s owner is going through a divorce, and Mr. and Mrs. Newton’s love endures through all of their financial difficulties. 

But just like the first film, there is no character depth and even less development and growth. There is no threatening drama within the family besides the fact that the kids are hiding puppies. But that gets resolved swiftly within the first half of the movie. The pacing moves nicely through this film and the balance between the main plot and the subplots were smoother and less uneven than its predecessor. 

My favorite parts of this film besides the puppies were the scenes filmed in Glacier National Park. The scenery is beautiful and lush. And the scenes at the fair are going to be loved by any kid watching this film. 

Although the script poses tons of questions in this silly and unrealistic movie, Beethoven’s 2nd is entertaining and laughably enjoyable. Toss in Chris Penn and it ups the ante. I would definitely watch this again. 

Twizard Rating: 81