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'Pulp Fiction,' A to Z

Page 2 of 3

The Gimp The gentleman responsible for the oddest, most WTF moment in Pulp Fiction. Sleeps in a trunk in the basement of Maynard and Zed’s pawn shop; has a predilection for leather bondage gear and lending (im)moral support to his masters’ less-than-savory carnal activities. We’d like to think that, in his off-hours, he’s the CEO of a software company in Venice Beach or manages a Coffee Bean somewhere around La Brea.

'Get the Gimp': Breaking Down 'Pulp Fiction's Most Notorious Scene

The Gold Watch See Captain Koons.

H: Hawthorne Grill The diner that features prominently in the beginning and end of Pulp Fiction — the place where Honey Bunny and Pumpkin decide to start ripping off coffee shops, where Jules decides to tell Vincent that he’s out of “the life,” and where all of their lives briefly intersect. This restaurant, located in the city of Hawthorne in L.A.’s South Bay region, has since been torn down. 

Honey Bunny See Yolanda.

I: Inglewood The neighborhood that Jules calls home, at least prior to deciding to wander the earth like Caine from Kung Fu. (See also Divine Intervention, Kung Fu.)

J: Jackrabbit Slims The ultimate homage-to-the-1950s diner — a wax museum with a pulse, a surly Buddy Holly-esque waiter, lots of celebrity lookalikes and, of course, a dance contest. Constructed inside of a Culver City warehouse and taking up roughly 25,000 square feet, this movie-mad restaurant was the film’s biggest set (it was also the site of the film’s wrap party). The racetrack-like décor was Quentin’s homage to Howard Hawks’ Red Line 7000 (1965). We recommend the milkshakes. 

Jheri Curl The oft-retold story is that Tarantino asked for an afro wig for Samuel L. Jackson to wear, as a tip of the cap to the great blaxploitation heroes of the Seventies. The wigmaster accidentally picked up a jheri-curl wig for Jackson, the actor convinced Quentin to let him keep it by invoking N.W.A. (several of whom sported the J.C. ‘do) and the rest is screen-hairstyle history. 

Jules Winfield A bad motherfucker, a gentleman who’s been known to break people’s concentration, a quoter of biblical verses, a hater of swine (see Pork) and a professional hit man — at least, until a miracle turns him around and he decides to try harder to be the shepherd. Samuel L. Jackson had done extraordinary work before, as anyone who remembered him from his supporting roles in Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever and Menace II Society could attest. But Jules made him a star. Almost overnight, the actor went from that guy you saw in that thing once to Samuel L. “AND YOU WILL KNOW MY NAME IS THE LORD!” Jackson.

"Jungle Boogie" The 1973 Kool & the Gang song that plays over the famous “Royale With Cheese” dialogue; the fact that the band’s song “Celebration,” and not this funky-as-all-get-out tune, is the de facto choice for wedding receptions is a genuine crime.

K: Kahuna Burger Technically, it’s the Big Kahuna Burger — but regardless, it is a tasty burger. Along with Red Apple Cigarettes, Tarantino’s fake chain of Hawaiian-style fast-food restaurants has taken on a life of its own, gracing several of friend-of-Quentin filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s movies and, recently, faking out a lot of Austin, Texas, locals who saw what appeared to be an actual Big Kahuna Burger restaurant. (It was merely a set, however, for the From Dusk to Dawn TV show on Rodriguez’s El Rey Network.)

Kung Fu A TV show that ran from 1972 and 1975, about a monk named Kwai Chang Caine who wanders the Earth and, on occasion, kicks ass using the titular martial art. It was originally designed as a star vehicle for Bruce Lee (though this fact has been disputed over the years) and starred David Carradine, who would later play “Bill” in the Kill Bill films. Tarantino was a fan of the show growing up — as was Jules Winfield, we can assume, since Caine serves as the inspiration for the ex-killer’s post-miracle lifestyle.

L: Lance Rumor has it that Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain was asked by Tarantino to play the party of the film’s resident bathrobe model/breakfast-cereal aficionado/heroin dealer (Courtney Love herself said as much in a 2011 GQ oral history about the making of Nevermind). It’s hard to picture anyone playing La Clede Avenue’s primo purveyor of street drugs, however, besides Eric Stoltz, who finds just the right pitch between amiably stonerish and uptight. Just don’t talk about dope on a land-line or bring some poop-butt to his house late at night, please?

M: Marsellus and Mia Wallace He’s a gangster who calls shots, fixes prizefights and does not like a number of things (people who cross him, being hit by Hondas, rapin’ hillbilly motherfuckers); she’s a former actress with a love of jet-black Lulu-Brooks bobs, dance contests and cocaine. Together, they make up the first couple of the greater Los Angeles criminal underworld. We would have loved to been a fly on the wall of their first date.

Medieval What some known associates of Mr. Wallace will get on your ass should you decide to bugger him in your pawn shop’s basement. We do not recommend the latter, by the way.

Miramax Named after their parents (Miriam and Max), Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s film distribution/production company had already made a name for itself as smart, savvy purveyors of independent and foreign movies prior to hooking up with Tarantino. The story is that Harvey was handed the thick Pulp Fiction script as he was catching a plane to Martha’s Vineyard, where he was set to vacation. He then read the script on the plane, excitedly calling his Head of Production Richard Gladstein numerous times before he landed, demanding that they get the property ASAP. After Pulp Fiction became the first indie to cross the $100 million box-office threshold and started garnering Oscar nominations, Harvey began referring to Miramax as the “House That Quentin Built.”

Modesty Blaise A British comic strip created by writer Peter O’Donnell and artist Jim Holdaway in 1963; filmgoers may remember the 1966 film of the same name, directed by Joseph Losey and starring Monica Vitti. Why is it included here, you ask? Our friend Vincent Vega is reading an anthologized collection of the strips when he’s on the can in the Hawthorne Diner and later (or earlier, depending on how you process the film’s chronology) in the loo at Butch’s place. We’ll take a 10% commission on all of your future trivia-game winnings from this, thank you.

N: Nine minutes, 37 Seconds How long it takes the Wolf to get from the swank party he is at to Jimmy’s house in Toluca Lake, estimated to be 30 minutes away. Because he is that good, people. (See also Winston the Wolf.)

O: Oak The type of furniture that Winston himself prefers in his bedroom. You might say he’s an “oak man.”

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