Monday, October 21, 2013

Brett and Marvin: Pulp Fiction and the (skill-testing) question

In this fifth installment exploring Pulp Fiction's treatment of redemption, we consider Jules' famous scene with Brett; he  had asked Brett if he knew why a Quarter Pounder with cheese was called a Royale with cheese in France. Brett proved he was a smart guy, figuring out that a Quarter Pounder with cheese can’t keep the same name in France… “because of the metric system” (“Check out the big brain on Brett…you’re a smart mothe…”) It was on the basis of his right answer that Jules could “lay his vengeance upon him” – because he should have known better

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Apartment

So, after watching Double Indemnity, I went looking for other Billy Wilder titles. I’d previously heard of The Apartment, although at that time I had no idea who Wilder was; it seemed like a good next movie to watch, given that Fred MacMurray was in both. And given that, unlike the darkness of film noir, this was a romantic comedy. Let's see how he handled himself. 

Double Indemnity - the film that started it all

I've mentioned on not a few occasions that Billy Wilder is my favourite movie-maker of all time. Quentin Tarantino is up there, as is Spike Lee, David Mamet, David Fincher, John Hughes, and other honourable mentions. However, insofar as I've been able to recognize, Wilder was not limited to any single genre - whatever style he approached, he nailed it.

The first Wilder movie I ever saw was not chosen because it was Wilder. I knew nothing of plot, didn't go looking particularly for it; I was at the video store (back when one went to video stores to rent videos), and decided to start getting through some classics. I saw the case, it had some award mentions on it, so I said "Okay, let's watch this tonight."

That movie was Double Indemnity, it had me from the opening to the close, and was the beginning of a journey of movie-making discovery I'm still travelling.