Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review: 'Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece'


Violent, vibrant, and endlessly quotable, Reservoir Dogs knocked me out and psyched me up to see how Quentin Tarantino was going to top it, because if there was one thing I could tell from that audacious debut, it was that the director was just getting started. When word got out that Pulp Fiction was coming, I went into a state of hyper anticipation. When I finally got to see it in autumn 1994, it infected me completely. My best friend at the time and I didn’t just see the movie in the theater five times (which is more times than I’ve ever seen any other film in the theater during its first run); we wanted to be Jules and Vincent. Actually, I think we both wanted to be Jules. He was just too fucking cool. Like a little Fonzie. 


I was kind of tickled when Jason Bailey told almost the exact same tale in the introduction of his new book Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece (only he saw the movie six times and wanted to be the filmmaker instead of one of his characters). So from the very start, Bailey had won me over with his simpatico obsession. By hopping into that obsession with both feet for the next 200 pages, he never let me down. The Complete Story is indeed that and it’s told in a scatter shot way full of unexpected side roads that is very much in the spirit of the film it chews over. The tale of Tarantino’s early life, early work, the movie that made him a behind-the-camera celebrity, and it’s A-bomb-strength aftermath keeps wandering down corridors to ponder how QT recycled material from his own scripts and the scripts of others to piece together Pulp Fiction, differences between its script and screen incarnations, errors that slipped into it, and onscreen examples of Tarantino’s foot fetish! The biographical portion of the book is both thorough and playful as the author runs down fan theories about what’s in Marcellus Wallace’s brief case (Diamonds? Marcellus’s soul? Is the briefcase actually Pandora’s Box?), his own theory about who actually keyed Vincent’s Malibu, and a timeline that lays out the fractured storyline chronologically. Bailey also makes room for his fellow fans to get in on the fun, both in the guest essays strewn throughout the book and the colorful splatter of art pieces inspired by the film. It’s a varied and eye-popping presentation for a varied and eye-popping movie. With 2013 getting close to the end, I’m pretty sure Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece is going to be my favorite movie book of the year.


Get Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece at Amazon.com here:


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