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October 1994


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Troy Warr <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 19 Oct 1994 14:39:00 MST
text/plain (41 lines)
  someone wrote:
  *I as well loved the part where Marvin gets his face shot off, and
  *Vincent's line following it, "Oh shit, I just shot Marvin in the face."  I
  *laughed so hard I almost pissed myself.
I liked Pulp Fiction a lot, and I also laughed quite hard when Marvin got his
face shot off.  I am not criticizing the original poster, but this reaction
bothers me, especially because it was intentionally elicited.  The fact that
around 500 people simultaneously laugh at scenes like this (myself included),
and the fact that I heard teenagers talking of how much they loved the movie
and how badly they want a personal copy of it because it was so fun to laugh
at people being murdered and abused is very discouraging.
It can possibly be argued that Pulp Fiction gives us some sort of moralistic
ending via Jules and his groping toward a more pure life, or that "bad"
violence was thwarted by "good" violence in scenes such as when Marsallis and
the Bruce Willis character turn the table on the rapists.  (I don't
personally think Pulp Fiction makes any profound statements about violence.
I don't feel that is the point of the film.)  But Pulp Fiction, as well as
other films like Natural Born Killers, revel in violence, and in fact exploit
Killers makes obvious comments on violence in American society and in the
media, but it is so excessive it becomes guilty of the same thing it
criticizes.  Its power comes from the use of violence, and it would be weak
without it.  Eventhough a film like Killers is at least trying to bring up
the issue of violence, I'm not sure that it is useful.  It seems to me that
the only people who recognize the use of violence as a critical cultural
statement are the people who are already clued into the fact that such a
statement needs to be made.  There are too many people who are either unaware
that they are being manipulated by images in mass media, or they are saying,
"Cool...more blood."
Okay, someone convince me that I'm wrong...
Troy Warr
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