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March 1995, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 20 Mar 1995 15:22:49 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Arn McConnell said:
>Gee, did we see the same film?  Think about the Bruce Willis character.
> Think about how he gets the leccture about "pride," and how it is
>ultimately pride that motivates him to turn around and go back down to
>the basement with the bat.  Look, I*liked* this bit of hokey malarkey, but
>hokey (heroic) malarkey it was.
Butch's rescue of Marcellus was a _heroic action_, yes.  But a heroic action
does not a hero make.  Do you think Butch Coolidge was a hero?  Let's
list the actions we know Butch has undertaken in Pulp:
1) killed his boxing opponent for which he shows no remorse
2) accepts payment for fixing a fight
3) proceeds to doublecross Marcellus by not taking a fall so he can make
out on the bets he has placed.
4) kills Vincent Vega even though he didn't know who he was and could
surely have managed the situation without killing him
Now does this sound like a hero?  I don't think so.  But there's no question
in my mind that Butch's rescue was a heroic act.  He could have left Marcellus
to be raped and probably killed but he didn't even though saving Marcellus
might mean more trouble for him.  That was brave and compassionate from a man
who has demonstrated neither quality in abundance elsewhere in his life.
And that's my whole point in saying Tarantino depicts his non-heroes.  Cretinous
 guys can be pretty heroic at times, cretins at others.    WHat Tarantino
doesn't buy into is the notion that one must be a hero or not.  His
characters have no tie whatsoever to the 'heroic continuum' or whatever
you want to call it.  They simply act as they do because that's how they
think they should act.
Non-heroes.  Similarly, I would call much of Tarantino's work
a-conventional rather than un-conventional.  The point is he isn't
_concerned_ with what is conventional either in trying to be conventional
or trying to NOT be conventional.  You know, like the difference between
amoral versus moral-immoral.
Of course, once something like this becomes popular it, almost by
definition, becomes more 'conventional' but that's after the fact.