“A please would be nice,” John Travolta said as Vincent in Pulp Fiction. He’s talking to Mr. Wolfe, portrayed by Harvey Keitel. They’re at Jimmy’s house – Quentin Tarentino is Jimmy. They’re at Jimmy’s house because Vincent accidently shot Marvin’s face off while in a 1974 Chevy Nova. Besides killing Marvin, the accident’s collateral effects is that brain, blood and skull has changed the car interior’s ambiance and poor Marvin’s body must be hidden somewhere safe from investigators.
Mr. Wolfe, a brisk and brusque man, chops Vincent to pieces about being curt, about the need for speed against the clock’s passage and getting this car cleaned and leaving before Jimmy’s wife comes home from the night shift.
It’s a good scene, one of many good scenes in the movie. In a film about drugs, death and violence, it’s actually about the characters and their humanity that gives the movie tension and makes it shine. People go against their best interests because of their nature, proving they’re not always masters of their own domain. Conclusions about what happened and why are rife, uncertain enough for us as the viewers that both sides could be right. It’s a beautiful thing.
I saw Pulp Fiction on IFC again late one night this week but that’s not why I’m thinking of it today. I’m thinking of it because of a family here in the coffee shop. The little one, a toddler, marched across the floor with absolute focus on the door. “Rick,” a man, presumed to be his father, said, following several feet behind him. “Rick. Rick. Rick. Rick. Rick. Rick.”
The man stopped. Rick, at the door, pushing on it, looked back. “You can’t go out without us, Rick,” the man said. “You need to wait for us.”
Rick stared at him. I thought Rick was thinking, “A please would be nice.” Are parents required to say please to their children when giving them life instructions? I would think it would help in their general development.
But that’s me and I’m not Rick’s caretaker. A woman joined the man. They joined Rick. “Take my hand,” the man said to Rick.
Pressing his lips together, Rick took the man’s hand. The man pushed opened the door and led them out. I still think Rick’s expression said, “A please would be nice.”
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com