Thursday, January 15, 2015


Twenty years on, one of the most remarkable aspects of PULP FICTION's legacy is that remains pretty much the only movie that was universally acclaimed by both the snootiest of cineastes and the most non-discerning beer-drinker. Broadly speaking, all social, racial and economic classes watched that flick, loved that flick, sometimes for the same reasons, often for others. You could appreciate its storytelling quirks on a purely cinematic level, but also investigate how it was upending recent filmic conventions. It was both high and low, crass and cultured. There was no box in its overall square that it could not in some way check solely by itself.

That's both enormously gratifying when it comes to looking at 'art', but also somehow saddening when applied to our lives. I keep thinking: Is there a single person or concept in life that could take what PULP FICTION accomplished with film and transfer it over to this plane of existence?

Meaning, there must be a method by which we can somehow attempt to satisfy every end. Not to be 'all things to all people', or a two-faced brown-noser; as Christopher Hitchens said when speaking of Clinton: "He who is charming to everyone cares about nobody in particular." I'm trying here to get to a more ethereal concept of life that we can nevertheless somehow ground in ourselves. There are political candidates who change how they speak when they talk to different groups, and marketers who try to hit every demographic, but these are practical methods enforced to favor their own craven goals, and I'm trying to hypothesize if there is some kind of way to consolidate all aspects of life into one total package that results in the end being more than sum and hum of its starts? Not religiously; not scientifically, even. Something that over time becomes self-evident.

Art looks for cohesion designed to produce an effect. PULP FICTION assembled a motley convergence of parts that produced an entertainment machine which most of the world's culture as a whole loved to watch rev and burn. Life, with its religious and political and social confusion, usually lacks any kind of unifying crescendo.

Who knows? Perhaps life as a force is building towards something. Maybe the past hundred thousand years of random evolutionary development are merely the first few funny scenes in a Tarantino-like opus. The high and the low, the funny and the grotesque, the mundane and the mythical -- all of humanity's past has been awkwardly mashed together in a prelude which has led up to now. There could be a culmination coming. Reversals of plot and expectations, just like PULP FICTION did.

Life on this earth might just be gearing up for a 'furious vengeance'-style speech like Samuel Jackson gave at the beginning and end of the film, only the real words that we say would not be tinged with the threat of violence on the way. Who would give such a speech, whether it's myself or yourself or the planet as a whole, I can't say. Probably not even verbalized. Maybe it will be in our actions. A kind of group physical cohesion that leads back to the solitary mental space in our skulls, a mutually-knit sweater we spot in the rag-tag assembly of insects and animals and peoples and countries that all seem to think they're separate and distinct. Perhaps we'll wake up one day and realize that the epic movie of our mutual co-existence can tangibly work on all different planes of reality. Everybody getting something out of it. Casualties for some, to be sure, but also redemption for a few. On the whole, as the credits roll, a deeply philosophical experience, yet with a retro surf-soundtrack kind of vibe. Life as an inflated Tarantino concoction that contains something for us all. I could see myself digging that.