Trendy Film Report: Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’ Turns 20!

Back in the early to mid-nineties was a magical time for film lovers. I was a college student happily immersed in the safety net provided by the theater department at UMKC.


My friends and I were eager to lose our minds to the offerings of the burgeoning filmmakers of that era. There was so much to choose from and at times it became tedious just trying to schedule which feature would rule the night.

From Muriel’s Wedding to Reservoir Dogs, I vividly remember gasping at the level of expertise that cradled each film and wondering if anything could possibly surpass each discovery.

My curiosity was abated when I beheld Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, twenty years ago. The title alone had me wondering “What the eff?” What motivated Tarantino to settle on “Pulp Fiction?” I knew there was a very good reason and I was right. “Pulp Fiction” is typically used to reference a heaping of absurdly creative writing that is delivered in somewhat modest means but reeks of quality and inspiration. Armed with that knowledge, I was ready to be knocked out by this supposedly ambitious film.

As you can imagine, I was not disappointed. Reservoir Dogs was already a bona fide gem in my book but some of the scenes (especially the ones showcasing a bloodied Tim Roth) were a little too hard to take and forced me to tread lightly in a distracting way. But Pulp Fiction released something in me that realized the oath of superior filmmaking. It was too good to be true. It was wondrously adventurous, bluntly sadistic, and packed with audacious fodder. I was in love with every character and even more smitten with the man responsible for holding my posse and I hostage in a timely fashion.

It’s hard to believe that is has been twenty years, but when I consider how long it has been since I was transported to a portal that revealed all things impossible and invincible, it occurs to me that perhaps the passage of time reveals a lot more than I anticipated. It has been awhile since I have been reveled by gregarious mayhem fraught by the wiles of an overzealous genius.

The Hollywood Reporter also pays homage to Tarantino’s masterpiece that starred a plethora of stars, including, Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Harvey Keitel, and Samuel L. Jackson among others. The Cannes Film Festival 2014, just recently wrapped up, and it was a great opportunity to recall that back in 1994, Pulp Fiction was honored with the Palme d’Or and feted to it’s world premiere at the Grand Theater Lumiere. Only a handful of critics were invited to partake of the feast that would eventually spread amongst inquiring masses.

Film critic and Hollywood Reporter scribe, Todd McCarthy generously shares his memories of the time when he made the discovery that would alter his already charted course. He also goes into detail about how he bumped into Tarantino (literally) amidst all the vibrant chaos, and how his chance meeting set the tone of his still thriving career.

In the meantime, all I can do is just be grateful and humbled by the fact that I was young enough to soak in the magnificence of Pulp Fiction without prejudice, and still mature enough to fully comprehend what I was registering.

It’s gratifying to know that twenty years later, the magic unleashed by the assembled village responsible for the renegade bubbles that keep cinematic confection dutifully valid is still in place, thanks to the monstrous contributions of a propelled visionary.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing Pulp Fiction, I feel sorry for you and urge you to rectify that problem immediately!