#94 Pulp Fiction (AFI) vs. Gran Torino (IMDb)
It pains me to make “Gran Torino” a loser. If haven’t seen “Gran Torino,” you really must. It’s one of Clint Eastwood’s very best in my opinion. A truly beautiful story of redemption and friendship. Eastwood’s character so reminds me of my own grandfather – an external gruffness housing a heart desiring fairness and justice. Deep compassion under a thin layer of racism. The story is just great. I’d seen it before and it was a pleasure to watch it again.
And Eastwood doesn’t talk to an empty chair one single time.
“Pulp Fiction.” This. Movie. Changed. Everything. It was 1994. I was 21 years old. “Pulp Fiction” provided a visual soundtrack for the rebellious stage I was determined to go through. The movie was new, it was different. And I loved everything about it.
The 1994 Oscars for me is kind of like JFK’s assassination for my parents. I could tell you exactly where I was, who I was with, and what I was thinking. 1994 is the only year in history I can tell you all of the Best Picture nominees without looking them up (“Forrest Gump,” “Four Weddings & a Funeral,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Quiz Show,” and “Shawshank Redemption”).
I was in college, my friends and I were all over at our film professor’s house, and we all fell on the floor sobbing like toddlers when “Forrest Gump” beat out “Pulp Fiction” for Best Picture (doubly for me, I was secretly rooting for Shawshank). I like Forrest as much as the rest of America, but honestly “Pulp Fiction” should’ve taken it. How young and naive I was then, back before I realized the Oscars aren’t about daring and originality, but about doing the same old thing really well.
“Pulp Fiction” is #94 on the AFI list, but it is #5 on the IMDb (much closer to where I think it should be), so it will show back up later (against Singing in the Rain). I’ll admit I became less and less of a Quentin Tarantino fan as the years went on. But “Pulp Fiction” will always hold a piece of my heart.
AFI pulls ahead a little more, the score is now 5 to IMDb’s 2. Next week is “Goodfellas” vs. “Up.” Sigh. Yeah, that comparison ranks right up there with “Toy Story” & “Unforgiven.”