Now Ringo, I'm Gonna Count To 3
December 24, 2012 3:15 AM   Subscribe

Somebody got really, really stoned and came up with a rather creative interpretation of Pulp Fiction (slreddit)

from the comments:

Vincent/Elvis both die on the toilet

Marvin = Marvin Gaye

The Wolf = classical music
posted by mannequito (48 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I believe this theory. That they were really, really stoned, that is.
posted by chavenet at 3:20 AM on December 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


If we're talking beautiful theories about movies...
posted by cthuljew at 3:23 AM on December 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


Oh wow, man. Fuck.
posted by Jimbob at 3:24 AM on December 24, 2012


Uhhh... great. Keep me posted on that.
posted by ph00dz at 3:44 AM on December 24, 2012


The title: Pulp Fiction, or PF, stands for "perfect fifth" which all American music is based on.

Yes, I am stoned.
posted by telstar at 4:19 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Still makes more sense than anything I've ever heard about "American Pie" by Don McLean.
posted by randomkeystrike at 4:47 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Interesting, but I think I'll stick with my girlfriend's theory that the briefcase contained a collection of insanely valuable rare and vintage pulp dime novels, that Marvin and his crew had sold to Marcellus and then tried to back out of the deal and/or rip him off at the last minute. Probably stories that had all been made into popular violent films in the cinema-addicted Tarentinoverse, and most likely intended to be a gift from Marcellus to his actress wife.

After all, look at Marvin, Brett, and the rest of the guys in the apartment. They're hardly professional criminal material, they're more like a bunch of college kids who got in over their heads. The one handgun that anyone on their side pulls is too big to be practical for an inexperienced shooter, with recoil that kicks bad enough that he doesn't hit his mark with any of his shots, despite being only a few feet away. I have a hard time picturing a situation where those guys would have gotten a hold of the diamonds from Reservoir Dogs, a case full of drugs, Marcellus Wallace's Soul, or any of the other popular theories, but I could see them putting together a case full of collectable old books.

The twist comes in with the fact that Vincent seems to pilfer one of these dime novels from the case when he's alone with it on the drive to the auto scrap yard, a move seemingly out of character for someone who worries about having his loyalty tested. Perhaps Wallace didn't know the exact contents of the collection he was buying, or he told Vincent and Jules they might not find the whole set when they confronted Brett and Marvin, but bring back as many as they could.

Or maybe he was that tempted that he just had to take one. Of all the people who look into the case during the movie, he seems to be the most hypnotized by its contents. Pumpkin/Ringo looks long enough to be able to say "It's beautiful" but he doesn't completely zone out of reality like Vincent does. The only other times in the film that he seems that lost in his own little world as he does when he's looking in the case are the two times you see him reading the pulp novel I believe he took from it.

It's clear from the scene in Jack Rabbit Slims that Vincent is steeped in vintage pop culture. And while the story he's shown reading, Modesty Blaise, was never made into a major motion picture in the real world, it might well have been in the Tarantinoverse. (Tarantino himself has expressed interest in adapting the story to the screen.) It could well be Vincent's favorite film, which is why he risked the wrath of Marcellus to pocket it.
posted by radwolf76 at 4:52 AM on December 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


The best part of this theory is that half of it is summarizing the plot of the movie as though that is also part of the theory.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:52 AM on December 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm very aware that this is most likely not true, but we had a lot of fun talking about it.

It's like posts about Star Wars or Die Hard. People will find whatever reason to rehash certain bits of pop culture. Fair enough.

But I think Pulp Fiction is pretty good as is. No need to try to make it more meaningful.

On preview: that glowing case interior does beg for this sort of discussion.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 4:55 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Reddit comments are just great! This is my favorite set:

"The Gimp can represent the extreme nature of metal... The Gimp is kept underground as in the same way the Metal genre is classified as "Underground" music. That coupled with the weirdness and extremeness of The Gimp character may be a legit depiction."

"except the Gimp wasn't totally awesome."
[–]moddestmouse 100 points 18 hours ago

I think this theory makes a lot of sense because intuitively we know that the aesthetics of each character match the style of music that they prefer. Each character is authentic in this way, and this is reinforced by the other characters in the film acknowledging them as such. Also, they all happen to be extreme versions of whatever aesthetic they fit into, and that impression is all constructed by the references used to build them as those types to the audience. So it fits, if not a bit circularly, by design.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:15 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


On preview: that glowing case interior does beg for this sort of discussion.

Puff, puff, pass.
posted by three blind mice at 5:16 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Expand that theory by about 20,000 words, throw in a couple references to Derrida, and you could get tenure.
posted by googly at 5:25 AM on December 24, 2012 [20 favorites]


During a long night of drinking, I formulated a workable theory that "Black Belt Jones" was a treatise on socialism. It holds together, even when you're sober.

I am proud and ashamed.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 5:57 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


> On preview: that glowing case interior does beg for this sort of discussion.

It glows because of the spacetime tunnel to the dead alien in the trunk of the car in Repo Man. This is my theory. This theory, it is mine. It's only just after 9:00 in the morning, I am not stoned, yet.
posted by jfuller at 6:19 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The rapists represent country music.

And look, this theory also neatly encapsulates my feelings about country music!
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:25 AM on December 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


On preview: that glowing case interior does beg for this sort of discussion.

I mean, that's explicitly why Tarantino put it in there.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:51 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it?
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:55 AM on December 24, 2012


Tarantino has said that there is no explanation for its contents—it is simply a MacGuffin, a pure plot device.

Oh, okay.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:57 AM on December 24, 2012


The scene where they give Mia Wallace a shot to the heart represents Bon Jovi.
posted by orme at 6:57 AM on December 24, 2012 [38 favorites]


From Roger Avery:
Originally the briefcase contained diamonds. But that just seemed too boring and predictable. So it was decided that the contents of the briefcase were never to be seen. This way each audience member would fill in the blank with their own ultimate contents. All you were supposed to know was that it was "so beautiful." No prop master can come up with something better than each individual's imagination. At least that was the original idea. Then somebody had the bright idea (which I think was a mistake) of putting an orange lightbulb in there. Suddenly what could have been anything became anything supernatural. Didn't need to push the effect. People would have debated it for years anyway, and it would have been much more subtle. I can't believe I'm actually talking about being subtle.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:03 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I always assumed there was a connection between whatever is in the briefcase and the bandage on the back of Marcellus' head.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:08 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is also a glowing briefcase in Kiss Me, Deadly and a never-explained glowing trunk in Repo Man. I think it is fair to assume that Tarantino saw those films, and he tends to cleverly stitch his films together from visual (and sometimes textural) references to other films.

That being said, when you leave a question unanswered in a film, you give the audience permission to fill in the answer with whatever pleases them the most. Writers can suggest subtext, but its really the playground of the audience, and, I think, should be. If you can justify your interpretation of subtext with the text of the film, and it pleases you, no matter how outlandish, it's valid.

I don't think you can say it's the real meaning of the film, nor can you declare this interpretation was intended by the artist, unless they themselves have made that claim. But it's your version of the meaning of the film, and, in this way, art is written in collaboration with its audience, and I think that's wonderful.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:22 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The rapists represent country music.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:23 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was relatively inexperienced when I first saw Pulp Fiction; I was used to films of the Planes, Trains and Automobiles ilk. So when I first saw PF, my primary concern wasn't 'What's in the briefcase?' or 'What's with the band-aid?'

What I remember most clearly was marveling regarding the non-linear plot. It really blew my mind. 'You can just throw the scenes together in whatever order you want! It makes it more interesting!'

Did anyone do this sort of thing before Tarantino? (Not counting flashbacks.)
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 7:29 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tarantino's said that the similarity to the briefcase in Kiss Me Deadly was unintentional, but he likes it.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:31 AM on December 24, 2012


I think this theory makes a lot of sense because intuitively we know that the aesthetics of each character match the style of music that they prefer. Each character is authentic in this way, and this is reinforced by the other characters in the film acknowledging them as such. Also, they all happen to be extreme versions of whatever aesthetic they fit into, and that impression is all constructed by the references used to build them as those types to the audience. So it fits, if not a bit circularly, by design.

You were stoned when you wrote this, right?
posted by KokuRyu at 7:38 AM on December 24, 2012


I had always figured that not even Tarantino knows what's in the briefcase, and he doesn't even care. The minute you make a Macguffin as amazing as "what's in the briefcase" and then reveal it to be Emma Watson's underwear, it turns out to be completely underwhelming to a large segment of the audience.

Nevertheless, the briefcase being "rock and roll"...that's beautiful. How would you even show it? Glowing faces around an open box. Brilliant.
posted by Xoebe at 7:40 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I remember most clearly was marveling regarding the non-linear plot. It really blew my mind. 'You can just throw the scenes together in whatever order you want! It makes it more interesting!'

Did anyone do this sort of thing before Tarantino? (Not counting flashbacks.)


Short answer: yes. as with just about everything else in film, it goes back to D.W Griffith. I had managed an arthouse cinema for a couple of years before Pulp Fiction came out and had to explain non-linear narrative to a friend of mine who was complaining that they showed the reels out of order. For myself, I thought the structure was brilliant: by the time we see Vincent scorning Jules' decision to quit the life, we know that because Vincent sticks with it, he will be dead in about a day and a half. It is what changes a movie about gangsters and addicts into a movie about redemption.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:55 AM on December 24, 2012


It's only just after 9:00 in the morning, I am not stoned, yet.

Do you have to work today or something?
posted by strangely stunted trees at 8:17 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait so, who is Mia Wallace then? The Ur Hip Chick?


I may have some cookies to help with this.
posted by The Whelk at 8:23 AM on December 24, 2012


I think it is fair to assume that Tarantino saw those films, and he tends to cleverly stitch his films together from visual (and sometimes textural) references to other films.
-----
Did anyone do this sort of thing before Tarantino? (Not counting flashbacks.)
——

If someone hadn’t done it before then Tarantino wouldn’t have done it.
posted by bongo_x at 8:29 AM on December 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


"You were stoned when you wrote this, right?"

This is how I write all my comments. That is to say, it is the state upon which I find myself, when comments, written by me, enter the MetaFilter. A beautiful symbiosis of human and non-human, experiencing and reflecting each other in form and thought. One cannot exist without the other, one lives for the other. But deep down inside, neither speaks for humanity. Just one machine, one human. Touching mechanical, metaphorical hand to human hands...touching you...touching meeeeee....

And the deep whole in the psyche that is left behind can only be filled with more of the same. And chips. Of which some shall now find me in the kitchen.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:30 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter can touch anything but itself.......


....wait
posted by The Whelk at 8:41 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The walrus was Marcuse
posted by growabrain at 8:58 AM on December 24, 2012


I always assumed there was a connection between whatever is in the briefcase and the bandage on the back of Marcellus' head.

Yeah, iirc that is part of the "the briefcase contains Marcellus Wallace's soul" theory.
posted by elizardbits at 9:20 AM on December 24, 2012


The suitcase contains the terrible secret of Funk.
posted by The Whelk at 9:21 AM on December 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


marcellus is ol dirty bastard then; he has failed to protect his neck.
posted by mannequito at 9:40 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think I read somewhere that Tarantino added the jackrabbit slim's scene after casting travolta because he wanted Travolta, as the living embodiement of disco, in a sort of time capsule environment of American eras.

I also read he bought a Welcome Back Kotter board game and forced Travolta to play in order to get the role.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:45 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Good theory ... but I would have pegged Butch for old-school country (think Hank Sr.) and the rednecks as pop country (think Hank Jr.)

... also ...

The Gimp can represent the extreme nature of metal

No way. The Gimp represents The Velvet Underground. Case closed.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:10 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait so, who is Mia Wallace then?

Nico.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:19 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


On preview: that glowing case interior does beg for this sort of discussion.

It's a plate of shrimp.
posted by erniepan at 12:22 PM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Still makes more sense than anything I've ever heard about "American Pie" by Don McLean.

I once read something by some guy from Aryan Nations giving an exegesis of American Pie as a prophesy of the downfall of the United States. So the competition's more significant than you might think.
posted by scalefree at 1:04 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a plate of shrimp.

Beans, surely?
posted by straight at 1:19 PM on December 24, 2012


People who want to pin down the meaning of every single line in a tune like "American Pie" give me a sad. The emotional power of song lyrics, to me, is in their suggestiveness and indeterminacy. When I want everything nailed down tight, I study math or logic.
posted by thelonius at 2:18 PM on December 24, 2012


And while the story he's shown reading, Modesty Blaise, was never made into a major motion picture in the real world, it might well have been in the Tarantinoverse.

You mean, something like this?
posted by jonp72 at 2:28 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


People who have not seen the modesty Blaise movie are literally lesser people, there I said it.
posted by The Whelk at 2:48 PM on December 24, 2012


Tarantino's said that the similarity to the briefcase in Kiss Me Deadly was unintentional, but he likes it.


Oh, ho ho ho, he says that a lot, doesn't he?
posted by alex_skazat at 2:12 AM on December 25, 2012


I always though the briefcase contained the evil that men do. I'm sure Tarantino said this at some time, that it referenced another movie.

Made perfect sense to me too.
posted by zoo at 3:05 AM on December 25, 2012


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