The Making of Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction”

It’s amazing to me that Pulp Fiction is nearly twenty years old. Released in 1994, I was mid-way through college, and twenty years old at the time. I’ve seen the film several times since, but it’s been a few years. After reading Mark Seal’s article Cinema Tarantino: The Making of Pulp Fiction, I’m feeling the urge to watch it one more time.

I guess if you haven’t seen the movie, you might want to consider doing so before reading the article. There are a few spoilers, though probably nothing you haven’t heard about since the film first came out.

Part of the allure of the article is based on Tarantino’s rise to fame – he was a video store clerk in love with movies, and wound up a Hollywood director. The story of him spending three months in Amsterdam, hand-writing the script to Pulp Fiction, is the kind of thing writers dream about. Sure there’s the drugs, but three months with nothing to do but write? So awesome.

For fans of the movie, there are little details throughout the article that make you think Oh, that’s where that came from. For example:

Chen worked without pay on the condition that Tarantino would rabbit-sit Honey Bunny, her pet, when she went on location. (Tarantino refused, and the rabbit later died; Tarantino named the character in Pulp Fiction played by Amanda Plummer in homage to it.)

But the article isn’t all trivia-focused. Seal winds up tracing the history of how the film came to be – descirbing the roles of various actors, movie studios, and producers along the way. One of the more pleasurable elements of reading about the film’s history is in imagining a different cast – hearing about other actors who could have potentially played one of the major characters (sidenote: I’d love to see a movie featuring Matt Dillon with Tarantino’s dialogue).

The itch to re-watch the film is now a pretty strong one for me. If this was 20 years ago, I’d just hop in my car and hit up the local Blockbuster. Sadly, these days there are precious few video rental stores around… and even fewer rental store clerks.

Maybe they’ve all moved over to Amsterdam, temporarily.

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