Author Topic: Anyone else find the Marvin story in Pulp Fiction unfunny?  (Read 5914 times)

Totoro

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Anyone else find the Marvin story in Pulp Fiction unfunny?
« on: January 25, 2016, 06:52:18 PM »
Listening to the Nerdist podcast, Hardwick asks Tarantino a question like, "What's your favorite death scene in one of your movies?" And Tarantino first says when Marvin gets killed in Pulp Fiction. Everyone laughs.

 ???

Apparently this was a funny scene? I guess it's played for humor too but I never found it that funny. I found it pretty sad and dark that they "accidentally" killed this young black man. The subsequent story of them covering it up is also played mostly straight for laughs and I never found much of it funny either. But I may also be further in the minority by stating - I also just don't get why the Marvin story needs to exist. It's the least interesting story to me in Pulp Fiction. All it does is reinforce the fact that these characters are bad people which isn't needed to be further restated after the first two stories.

1SO

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Re: Anyone else find the Marvin story in Pulp Fiction unfunny?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2016, 07:18:41 PM »
It reinforces the casual way these criminals deal with death. It's not a major event in their lives, but part of the lifestyle they've grown into. This combines with their near death minutes earlier, leading Jules to his decision at the restaurant.

And the color of Marvin's skin has nothing to do with these events. It's not any sort of comment on race. It's the wild part of the Bonnie Situation story.

How do you feel about what happens to Marsellus Wallace in the basement?

All it does is reinforce the fact that these characters are bad people which isn't needed to be further restated after the first two stories.
Then maybe that's not all it does. I thought it showed that - like with any profession - there are pros and there are idiots. Travolta's character is an idiot, especially when it comes to be careless with loaded weapons, which is why he ends up on the bad end of Bruce Willis.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2016, 07:27:41 PM by 1SO »
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mañana

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Re: Anyone else find the Marvin story in Pulp Fiction unfunny?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2016, 08:25:26 PM »
I thought it was funny.
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chardy999

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Re: Anyone else find the Marvin story in Pulp Fiction unfunny?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2016, 02:01:28 AM »
Hilarious.

And also all the actual explanations of 1SO.  ;D
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Re: Anyone else find the Marvin story in Pulp Fiction unfunny?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2016, 03:21:31 AM »
The murder of the guy on the couch in the previous scene is a lot more disturbing. It is premeditated rather than being a stupid accident. It's sole aim is to shut someone up who is talking too much. That's a completely pointless act that only "looks cool" in the context of the movie it serves.

The stupid accident in the car is farce. I've seen very funny farce; particularly Feydeau. If you analyse it pratfall humour always sounds puerile. The punchline in farce is generally the stupid act and then the tension and nerves that come from covering up the mistake. This part of PF follows that process. If farce isn't funny to any individual then that's fine but that doesn't mean farce isn't humour.

I suppose if Tarantino made some weird point about it being funny that it's a black guy being shot then that would deserve comment. Otherwise I'm not aware that Marvin's race has much bearing on whether it's farce or not.

Perhaps the current race debate at the Oscars has its roots in this level of thinking. It might be safer not to shoot or punch any minority. If you just shoot or punch a white Anglo Saxon type you'll not risk raising this delicate issue. Perhaps when this becomes the way people start thinking then the issue has become overly delicate. So I have to ask; is this how people seriously think? I've heard the discussion over JJLeigh being punched a lot in The Hateful 8. Would it have been easier for Tarantino to have cast a white man to be repeatedly punched? Of course it would, in the light of the discussion that followed. So Tarantino can be seen to be courting this controversy obviously, with his casting. What reaction does it get if I say that Daisy Domergue looks tougher because she can take a punch and ends up looking the baddest badass of the bunch? If it was just another man in that role Tarantino loses a dramatic element. In his way of thinking he might just think it would make his film more bland. Of course, he knows what placing black men in a film and calling them "n..." Or punching women will do. It will cause a discussion, controversy or offence. I can see he is either brazenly or bravely using those story elements. My personal PoV is that I'm tired with it because he hammers the same point repeatedly so I start ignoring it. That's the reaction I always feel when I think my chain is being jerked; just like in any dull piece of storytelling- I can see the strings being pulled or the buttons being pushed and I ignore it. I'm sure most people are the same.

So to bring this back to Pulp Fiction; if I don't care about his placement of minorities and how he treats them in his new film then I'm not going to reel back 20 years to treat his placement of minorities differently then.
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wuatenigenu1

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Re: Anyone else find the Marvin story in Pulp Fiction unfunny?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2016, 05:45:14 AM »
I think it's funny, the "rape dungeon" scene is cringeworthy too me though.

Totoro

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Re: Anyone else find the Marvin story in Pulp Fiction unfunny?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2016, 05:36:46 PM »

And the color of Marvin's skin has nothing to do with these events. It's not any sort of comment on race. It's the wild part of the Bonnie Situation story.


Why do you get (or Verbals) get to say this?

I don't want to distract from my main point of the thread and focus primarily on race, but why does the race not matter? None of Tarantino's films take place in a post-racial world. Pulp Fiction is FULL of conversations on race and even displays acts of blatant racism. So why does this get a free pass?

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Re: Anyone else find the Marvin story in Pulp Fiction unfunny?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2016, 06:06:25 PM »
I was actually thinking about this awhile ago. Most stupid death scenes in a movie...and I had the following

Marvin (Pulp Fiction)
White Boy Bob (Out Of Sight) - Clooney's look! ;D
Samuel L. Jackson & Dwayne Johnson (The Other Guys)

They are the ones that instantly came to mind. I sure there's a Coen or two that should be in the list?


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Re: Anyone else find the Marvin story in Pulp Fiction unfunny?
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2016, 06:21:55 PM »
For one thing, Totoro, Jules is African-American. The scene would be considerably different if Vincent and Jules were both white.
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Re: Anyone else find the Marvin story in Pulp Fiction unfunny?
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2016, 07:02:36 PM »
I think 1SO and verbals have roughly the same right as you to say whether or not the scene has a racial element, Totoro. As for my own opinion - which again, same as everybody else - is that the murder scene itself doesn't have a racial tinge, though the Tarantino-starring scene afterwards certainly does, and it's an uncomfortable element at that. It is one of the reasons why I don't love Pulp Fiction like I do some of his other movies.
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