Pulp Fiction (1994)

Entertainment Rating: 3 of 5

Hailed as one of the greatest movies of all time, I was a little disappointed. The story was inventive and well put together. I enjoyed the way everything slowly tied together from beginning to end, even though it all seemed like separate stories at first. While there was an over abundance of swearing, looking back at the movie (replaying scenes in my head) the language is not what I remember. Can’t say that I’d recommend this one.

Moral Rating: 2 of 5

The coolest part of the movie was Samuel L. Jackson. I’ve always been curious about this movie and my curiosity was increased after reading Thomas Hibbs Arts of Darkness. Hibbs states,
“Tarantino’s repudiation of linear narration suits a world out of joint where character development and unified story telling are impossible. The sequence of events in the film pivots around a remarkable chance event, the interpretation of which determines the destiny of the two central characters, Jules and Vincent.”
He concludes that (along with Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life)
“Pulp Fiction [provides] evidence of the flexibility of noir narration and of a potential link between noir and the religious quest.” 
He then says, with regards to film noir,
“In most noir films, God is absent, if not dead. As we have noted, Mark Conard contends that noir is best understood as embodying the problems of human life in a world where the existence of God is no longer a viable assumption. After an examination of the various attempts by film critics to define noir or to argue that definition is not possible, Conard concludes that the task of defining noir in any strict sense is doomed to failure. There are, nonetheless, certain standard features of noir: inherent pessimism, a sense of alienation and disorientation, and a pervasive preoccupation with the problem of seeing and speaking the truth. Borrowing heavily from Nietzche, Conard suggests that the pre-eminent source of these various common elements in noir is the death of God. The noir universe is characterized by the absence of any overarching framework, of any clearly identifiable meaning or purpose - all of which Nietzche saw as the result of the death of God and the devaluation of the highest values. As Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton put it in ‘Toward a Definition of Film Noir,’ the intended effect of noir is to ‘create a specific alienation,’ resulting from ‘the state of tension instilled in the spectator when the psychological reference points are removed.’ 
“If the link between noir and penitential redemption opens up an underdeveloped theme in the literature on film noir, it also exposes an under-appreciated approach to religion in popular film and television. The literary scholar and cultural critic Mark Edmundson argues that our culture is trapped in a dialectic between facile transcendence, evident in films such as Forrest Gump, which offer happy endings achieved by the avoidance of difficulty and complexity, and debased Gothic, a pervasive, unrelenting, and unredeemable sense of evil evident in the popular genre of contemporary horror. We are forced to choose between tales of ineradicable evil and stories of cheap grace, where the difficulties of our world are quickly overcome by good intentions and a benevolent providence. We lack, Edmundson declares, stories of redemption that encompass, rather than simply avoid, the darkness, suffering, and deprivations of our world. The mixing of noir and redemption promises a way of overcoming that division; it suggests the possibility of stories of renewal or redemption that, instead of ignoring or glossing over darkness, embrace, transform, and redeem it.” 
I love this concept of film noir. The genre takes you deep into the depths of despair, only to show you that there is a way out. Even if the film doesn’t show you the way out, the possibility of hope makes all the difference.

In Orson Scott Card’s review of John Gardner’s On Moral Fiction, he says,
“If a work of art depicts evil and shows it to be painful, unrewarding, negative, destructive, bad, then that work of art is exactly as moral as one which shows good to be beautiful, uplifting, desirable. Art is not moral when it never show ugliness; art is moral when it shows ugliness honestly. 
“And yet so much of Mormon art shows good to be bad! That is, it often shows goodness to be puerile, or impossible, or -- heaven forbid -- boring. A gooey G-rated film that reduces goodness to niceness does as much harm as an R-rated film that makes evil seem rewarding, since both will move an audience to shun the good and espouse the evil.” 
This may be a bit of a shock statement, but I believe it to be true. When art fails to inspire it is evil.  Different people are inspired in different ways, so just because one person doesn't feel inspired, doesn't mean that the art is evil.  However, if the art inaccurately portrays good or evil, it is not worth experiencing.  Pulp Fiction is not what I would call an inspirational movie, but Samuel L. Jackson's character is the only redeeming factor of the entire movie.  He sees what he considers a sign from God and completely changes his life around, trusting in divine providence to guide and protect him in his new-found course.

While I enjoyed the film, I can't recommend it, and it would be impossible for ClearPlay to provide an edited version due to the language used.

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