Pulp Fiction

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Pulp Fiction (1994) is a mesmerizing, violent and entertaining movie. It has a bizarre cast of characters, a nonlinear sequence of events and endless references to pop culture. The underlying theme of the movie, however, deals with religion and the transformation of two characters: Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) and Butch (Bruce Willis). In the beginning of the film, Vincent (John Travolta) has returned from a stay in Amsterdam, and the conversation between Jules and Vincent deals with what Big Macs and Quarter Pounders are called in Europe. As the movie moves on, other references are the Fonz on Happy Days, Arnold the Pig on Green Acres, the band Flock of Seagulls, Caine from Kung Fu, TV pilots, and other such topics. At first viewing, these kinds of references seem to be a kind of comic relief set against the violence the audience witnesses on the screen. These brief, pop-culture symbols and icons are more than just comic relief. They are the way these characters make sense of their lives. In past centuries, people were "connected by something they saw as larger than themselves, most often religion, which would provide sense and meaning for their lives and which would help to determine the value of things." (The Sage, p.10) Such a larger context is completely absent, however, from Jules's and Vincent's lives. This explains why the film is so saturated with these pop icons. The empty and subtle icon phrases are the reference points by which we now understand ourselves and each other. These references comes to a real climax when Vincent and Mia (Uma Thurman) visit Jack Rabbit Slim's, where the host is Ed Sullivan, the singer is Ricky Nelson, the waiter is Buddy Holly, and the waitresses include Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield. In the film, the pop cultural symbols are set into sudden words against a passage said to be from the Old Testament, Ezekiel 25:17:

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny

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