Song of the Day #4,084: ‘Miserlou’ – Dick Dale

Continuing my countdown of the films of Quentin Tarantino:

#5 – Pulp Fiction

Surprisingly, of all the Tarantino films I rewatched, the 1994 classic Pulp Fiction fell the most in my estimation.

Don’t get me wrong. It remains a crackling pop art masterpiece, filled with memorable dialogue and visuals indelibly seared into my brain. It’s an all-timer, no question.

But 25 years later, in light of all movies Pulp Fiction inspired, it feels less revolutionary. Or maybe its revolutionary status becomes more a simple fact and less a reason to love it.

Would Bad Times at the El Royale exist in a world without Pulp Fiction? Certainly not. But setting that aside, are the two films that far apart in terms of quality? It’s an interesting question.

Pulp Fiction drags a bit during its middle section (Bruce Willis’s Butch in the cab and hotel room before the still-wild Gimp scene). The ‘Bonnie Situation’ segment falls a little flat, to say nothing of Tarantino’s cameo, which feels like an excuse for him to drop the n-word as many times as possible.

On the other hand, every scene with Uma Thurman’s Mia Wallace and John Travolta’s Vincent Vega belongs in a time capsule. Pure cinematic ecstasy. And Samuel L. Jackson’s Jules Whitfield is one of Tarantino’s (and Jackson’s) greatest creations, a soulful hitman questioning his life’s purpose.

Finally, the soundtrack is one of the greatest ever compiled (though you can say that for almost all of Tarantino’s movies). When Dick Dale’s ‘Miserlou’ kicks in over the opening credits, you know you’re in for a hell of a ride.

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,084: ‘Miserlou’ – Dick Dale

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I really assumed Pulp Fiction would be top 3 on your list. For me, it was and remains the quintessential Tarantino film. I’ve seen it at least 3 times, including at least once In the past five years, and didn’t find it draggy. Indeed, I think it’s one of his tightest, sharpest movies.

    • Clay says:

      Before I did my rewatch off all ten movies, Pulp Fiction was at the top of my Tarantino list. It’s certainly the one I’ve seen more than any of his others — it came out when I was working in the movie theater so I must have seen this movie, in whole or in parts, easily more than a dozen times.

  2. Peg says:

    I thought this one would be in the top 2 or 3 as well. I’ve seen it a few times and watch the twist dance scene whenever I can. Will be interesting to see how the rest fall on your list. I hope the one I hate is not number one 🤞🤞

  3. Amy says:

    I started to watch this film with Daniel just a month or so ago and was surprised by how revolutionary it still felt. And shocking. And hilarious. We didn’t make it through to the rain of bullets Vincent and Jules miraculously survive before we looked at each other and decided we needed something less disturbing for our evening’s viewing pleasure.
    And I knew what was going to happen!

    I’ve seen the Vincent and Mia scenes a couple dozen times easily, so I’m finally comfortable enough with the beats of those scenes to just marvel at the decisions Tarantino makes during them. That may be one of my single favorite sequences in any film of any time (up there with the 4th of July segment of Jaws and Joel rushing around trying to protect his Clementine memories in Eternal Sunshine).

    Where QT places a camera and how he uses music remain as fresh and startling as ever. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the opening scene between Pumpkin and Honey Bunny, which is such an odd, funny, powerful way to begin the film. I love how Tim Roth and the rest of his favorite cast members pop up again and again in his films.

    This is certainly the Tarantino film I think of first when his name comes up in conversation (until recently, of course; now Once Upon a Time is the center of those conversations). I’m intrigued by your experiment here and the results you have thus far revealed. And, finally, yes, yes, yes… this has to be the best opening credits song ever!

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