Eating in cars with boys: QT tips his hat

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Speedway (1968)

I assumed most people knew where the Pulp Fiction nightclub set came from, and the inspiration it acknowledged, in a no-bones-about-it kind of way, but that would mean people would need to watch Elvis movies, which … is not the case. I clocked it instantly, though, the first time I saw Pulp Fiction – at a matinee in a movie theatre in Ithaca, New York, with Michael. Dear Michael. I whispered excitedly, “Oh my God, that’s from Speedway.” Michael was a good boyfriend. He had no idea what I was talking about but he asked me about it after, and listened to me rapturously – yes, rapturously – as I described Speedway to him. The rapture came because I provided a piece of the puzzle for this movie we had just seen and were blown away by. You have to realize how Pulp Fiction hit when it first came out. It was so DIFFERENT from anything else that was out there. It opened up possibilities. It changed everything. For better, for worse. Tarantino’s imitators are usually awful. They still walk among us. But Pulp Fiction exploded our minds. Plus, 1. we loved Reservoir Dogs and 2. there was our shared adoration of John Travolta. So we were ALL IN. And so me providing this RANDOM reference was so exciting to him. We didn’t have the Internet, yo, so I couldn’t pull up a picture and he had to just take my word for it. But he believed me.

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2 Responses to Eating in cars with boys: QT tips his hat

  1. I went to see PULP FICTION at the theater the day after I watched the episode of Siskel&Ebert when they talked about it (their mutual reaction was basically “Holy SHIT!!!”). When I saw it, at my local multiplex in Olean, the theater was literally empty. As in, I was the ONLY one seeing that movie that day. I thought it was going to be one of those little-known films that I loved and few others knew about…but then I took The Girlfriend (now The Wife) to see it a few weeks later, and in the meantime PF had taken its place in pop culture. That time, the theater was PACKED.

    I have a hand-written essay someplace about why I love PF; I should get that posted one of these days.

    (And no, I had no idea about the Elvis allusion, but it’s not the least bit surprising. Nobody does casual allusion like Tarantino. Lots of folks hear about his allusions and conclude that he’s just a rip-off and homage master, but for me the amazing thing is how he makes allusions that still work perfectly in the context of whatever gonzo story he’s telling at the moment.)

    • sheila says:

      // I have a hand-written essay someplace about why I love PF; I should get that posted one of these days. //

      You totally should! I would love to read it!

      I love that you saw it in an empty theatre and then Pulp Fiction caught on and it was packed a couple weeks later. Amazing! I am sorrowful that movies don’t really “happen” like that anymore. They don’t really have a chance.

      There are those weird movies that suddenly – critics be damned – the world be damned – suddenly catch on. The Greatest Showman was one of those movies. It played for MONTHS in the theatre. So did Hidden Figures. So did Elvis – it just left theatres a couple weeks ago and it opened in June.

      That’s not just a marketing ploy – marketing ploys give you big opening weekends but don’t keep things in the theatre for months, especially not now!

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