The reason for naming this movie Pulp Fiction had a lot to do with the novel that Vincent Vega was reading at a couple of points in the movie. If you’ll take a quick look you’ll also note that he’s the only one reading anything in this movie, as everyone else is too busy doing other things. But pulp novels were popularized in the 40s and 50s apparently and had a lot to do with subjects that people might not have labeled as ‘high’ art, meaning that they were for the masses that enjoyed the simple, violent stories that catered to those that enjoyed something that was quick and to the point and didn’t dig too deeply into the motivations of the characters. That almost sounds elitist in a way, but it made for a great movie since the truth is that Pulp Fiction might appear to be kind of hard to follow unless one is paying attention to how the movie jumps forward in time and then back since if one has already figured it out, the movie actually since the movie started at its ending.
It was a curious way to work with a movie but it was entertaining since it kept people guessing if Vincent was alive or really dead when Butch massacred him coming out of the bathroom. But being told that the movie’s title came from the fact that Vincent was the only one reading, and that he was reading something that was actually considered to be actual pulp fiction, is pretty amusing. On top of that, it does describe the movie in a very big way since Pulp Fiction was fairly violent and had a lot of detail to it that wasn’t exactly high art, but was more street-level stuff that showed off the gritty and grimy belly of the underworld scene that Marcellus Wallace was running. It also went a little deeper when it came to the torture that Marcellus and Butch had to endure for a short period of time.
This was a rather curious movie when it first came out since some of the moments in it were considered hilarious when they were in actuality kind of gruesome. Butch slaughtering Zed and his buddy and then Marcellus neutering Zed via shotgun wasn’t so much hilarious as it was amusing since the two both received some very well-deserved comeuppance. But the scene in which Jules, Vincent, and Marvin are in the car and Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin turned out to be one of the funniest scenes in the whole movie since it led to another hilarious scene at Jimmy’s, played by the director Quentin Tarantino, that was only enhanced when The Wolf, played by Harvey Keitel, was brought in to help with the situation. The dark humor in this movie definitely helped to make it enjoyable and it did a great job to balance out the rest of it since otherwise, this might have been a movie that didn’t really fire on all cylinders. It was one of the movies that really established Tarantino as a favored director to be fair since it went a long way toward showing that he could put something together that felt like a lot of moving parts that didn’t connect, but that had a series of connections that made it work in a very interesting way.
Plenty of people were likely a little confused when they watched this movie for the first time since it is something that’s chopped up into pieces and essentially fed to the audience in a way that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, especially given that Vincent dies and then comes back at some point. We never did find out what happened to Jules, other than the fact that he was going to quit working for Marcellus and simply wander the earth. In fact, the only character that we know for certain wouldn’t be continuing was Vincent and Marvin of course. The guys in the apartment weren’t even a consideration since many people assumed they were going to die before Vincent and Jules even stepped into the room. They were, essentially, throwaway characters that didn’t have a lot to do with the movie but were necessary at that moment.
But Pulp Fiction lived up to its name since it wasn’t some grand story that stretched beyond the boundaries of its own narrative, but stayed well within them and found extra room to move around in an effort to keep things moving in an entertaining way. It became one of the best movies of its time and a seriously big return for John Travolta, who started to see his career and his popularity rise once again as he started to really come back as an actor. As for the rest of the cast, they were already on their way up or had been there for a while.