We fucking love Quentin Tarantino. And odds are if you’re thinking about buying “Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece” from Voyageur Press, you fucking love him, too. At two hundred pages in length,. the giant tome written by Jason Bailey (with essays from movie historians and critics) doesn’t just fill you in on “Pulp Fiction,” but on everything Tarantino. This is the big Kahuna of Tarantino knowledge, and it’s a hell of a fun book to sift through.
Though many would likely argue that “Pulp Fiction” is Tarantino’s definitive masterpiece or not, it is the film that put him on the map. It not only made him an indie God, but also showed he could also be an accessible filmmaker for the broader mainstream audiences. Author Jason Bailey tracks every single aspect of Tarantino and his universe leading in to “Pulp Fiction.” And though, in the introduction, Tarantino professes to not giving a shit about history and going back and recording it all, author Bailey freely admits he loves it. Author Jason Bailey and a slew of contributors offer dissections of Quentin Tarantino, and his obsession with pop culture and film, as well as exploring his origins as a movie lover and television fanatic.
Author Bailey tells of Tarantino who was named after his mother’s favorite movie character, and grew up being exposed to her favorite books, television shows and movies. From there, Tarantino was given free reign to watch all kinds of classic cinema, and found the death of Bambi’s mother the most disturbing moment of his young life. We learn of Tarantino’s eventual job as a ticket taker at a porn theater, his twenty mile treks to rent movies at his favorite video store the Video Archives, and how that eventually fueled his thirst for filmmaking. Author Bailey explores every single reference from other films in his filmography, and we learn a good deal about Tarantino’s favorite films. He expresses love for Brian DePalma, the film “Bad Lands,” and declares how every serious relationship with a woman is initiated with a viewing of “Rio Bravo,” to which Tarantino states “And she better fucking love it.”
We’re given a full time line of “Pulp Fiction,” the film in order from beginning to end, and the exploration of why Tarantino broke the film in to out of sequence sub-plots. To make things even more entertaining, we’re given time stamps for all of the events, a large chart for every single recorded incident, and a map of Los Angeles and where our characters were during the time we meet them to the time we leave the film. We learn about the goofy credits Tarantino instilled, and we even get to view Tarantino’s penchant for repeating lines and references, including his love for Madonna, and variations of phrases like “According to Hoyle.” There’s a long list of looks at various works of Tarantino, and the scripts he wrote that were never developed for films.
We also get to read about how Tarantino was asked to develop “From Dusk Til Dawn” for KNB Effects, and how it inevitably became the 1996 vampire gangster film from friend Robert Rodriguez. There’s peeks at the brand Tarantino enlists for his films like Big Kahuna and Red Apple, as well as a long list of potential casting choices for key characters in “Pulp Fiction.” Tarantino originally wanted Brigitte Nielsen for Mia Wallace, and Jules and Vincent almost became two proper British hit men played by Tim Roth and Gary Oldman. “Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece” is a treasure trove of information and juicy tidbits, and is an excellent read for one of the most divisive filmmakers who ever lived. It may even inspire a reader to pick up a camera and shoot their own film.