Follow TV Tropes


Fridge / Pulp Fiction

Go To

As a Fridge subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Fridge Brilliance

  • Vincent dies because he shits where he eats. He first comes close to doing so when he is tempted by Mia (his boss's wife) and then he seals his fate when he takes a bathroom break in Butch's apartment (the place he was working). And the one time he didn't take a shit where he metaphorically ate, was when he took a shit where he literally ate, at the diner.
    • Vincent uses heroin, and one side effect of being a dope fiend is constipation. This explains why Vincent is so backed up that he's constantly trying to relieve himself and also why he takes so long that he brings a book everywhere to read on the john. And eventually his habit caught up with him.
  • Vincent monologuing that "being loyal is very important," convincing himself not to sleep with his boss's wife. It's actually an important maxim for him: Vincent's brother served four years in prison by refusing to give the cops his boss's (or rather, business partner's) name.
  • Advertisement:
  • Vince calls out The Wolf for not saying "please." Vince's brother calls out Mr. Pink for not leaving a tip.
  • Butch's choice of a samurai sword seems to fall completely in line with Katanas Are Just Better. He's awed by the sword's majesty and it symbolizes the honorable decision he's made to rescue Marcellus. However, the sword is also the most practical weapon available: the hammer and baseball bat aren't as damaging as a blade, and the chainsaw would make a lot of noise to forewarn the rapists. The samurai sword is also the only item he sees that was designed to be a weapon rather than a tool.
  • Koons's words to Butch: "Hopefully, you'll never have to experience this yourself, but... When two men are in a situation like me and your dad were, for as long as we were, you take on certain responsibilities of the other." This is probably one of the reasons Butch chose to return and come to Marsellus's aid.
  • Advertisement:
  • In his first appearances in "Vincent Vega and Marcellus Wallace's Wife" and the beginning of "The Gold Watch", we only ever see Marcellus Wallace from behind. This distances us from him, and dehumanizes him; he's an unknowable, almost inhumanly threatening presence, in constant command and control. Pretty much the first time we see his face is when Butch runs him over, and then during his experiences in the pawn shop. This 'humanizes' him, brings him down from his pedestal of all-powerful crime lord to vulnerable human being. Fittingly, when we see him in "The Bonnie Situation", although the segment is set before these experiences, we see him from the front, demonstrating the humanity he developed in the earlier segment. Character Development — it doesn't have to happen in linear order.
  • Jules' habit of sarcastically calling Pumpkin "Ringo" in the final scene can be taken as a subtle clue that he's a fan of The Beatles, referencing the deleted scene in which Mia states that "You're either a Beatles man or an Elvis man," and she correctly concludes that Vincent is an "Elvis man." So much of Jules's and Vincent's character dynamic is centered around the fact that they're polar opposites of each other (one's black, the other's white; one's religious, the other's a skeptic; one's a serious and intense professional, the other's a casual, irresponsible druggie; one goes straight, the other dies violently; etc.), and the fact that they're "a Beatles man" and "an Elvis man", respectively, is meant to tie into this.
  • Seems like a long shot at first, but the events of the film are shown in a perfect mirror, with the gold watch scene (which, if you think about it, started it all, and indirectly led to every character's final fate except for Jules) in the middle:
    • The diner scene
    • Jules and Vincent's journey to Brett's place
    • the scene where Jules kills Brett
    • Marcellus and Butch make a deal
    • Vincent and Butch have a nasty encounter
    • the first romantic story, ending in disaster
    • the gold watch
    • the second romantic story, ending in disaster
    • Vincent and Butch have a nasty encounter
    • Marcellus and Butch (ending up with them making another deal)
    • the scene where Jules kills Brett
    • Jules and Vincent's journey from Brett's place
    • The diner scene
  • During the first Ezekiel 25:17 scene, Jules slowly turns around, surveying the room. When he gets to "the finder of lost children", who's he looking at? Marvin, who's later revealed to be their informant.
  • In the opening scene, Vincent tells Jules that he doesn't really watch much television. In virtually every subsequent scene he's in, he makes a reference to a TV show.
  • Zed's chopper that Butch gets away on is named Grace. Grace can be defined as "a favor rendered by one who need not do so" or as "a temporary immunity; a reprieve," which is exactly what Marcellus had given Butch after the incident at the pawn shop. This is his karmic reward for doing a good deed.
  • Jules pointedly refuses to let Marvin, his informer, tell him where the briefcase is, saying, "I don't remember asking you a goddamn thing!" Jules doesn't ask Marvin for any help because he's getting a sadistic kick out of intimidating the men he's about to kill. Since Jules isn't going to kill Marvin, he doesn't want to interact with him.
  • Butch never got to meet his father because he died in a POW camp, and his most prized possession is a memento of his father. Fittingly, his story arc in "The Gold Watch" ends with him deciding to rescue his worst enemy from a hellish imprisonment in the pawn shop, even though it means delaying his own chance at escape. After being haunted by his father's death and imprisonment for most of his life, there's no way that Butch could ever have left another man to die as a helpless prisoner, even if he had every reason to leave him behind.
  • After the kid with the "hand cannon" empties his weapon and improbably misses Jules and Vincent at point-blank range, Jules decides that this is an act of God, a message telling the two hitmen to give up "the life". Jules is proven correct later when Vincent is killed by Butch, who returned to retrieve the watch. If Jules hadn't quit being a hitman, he would have been in the apartment with Vincent when Butch came back. The miracle may have actually saved Butch, not Jules, since the latter would likely have been guarding the apartment while Vincent was in the bathroom, but the scene would have gone down very differently if Jules had not quit. And Vincent certainly would not have been killed if he had followed his partner's advice and quit "playing blindman" by continuing to murder people for a living.
    • And on top of all that, the diner scene would have played out differently: either Jules and Vincent wouldn't have been there at all, or Jules would still have been in his old mindset.
  • In the '50s style restaurant, when Mia orders a milkshake, the waiter asks her whether she wants the "Martin and Lewis" milkshake or the "Amos 'n Andy" milkshake. Martin and Lewis are white, meaning vanilla, while Amos 'n Andy are black, meaning chocolate.
  • In a very subtle moment of foreshadowing: Jules' very first scene in the movie has him enthusiastically saying that he wants to go to Europe, after hearing Vincent's many stories about his travels there. The very last scene in the movie has him planning to walk the Earth after quitting his life of crime. With his past behind him, now he has a reason to make good on his promise and take that trip.
    • Except how's he going to do it without a passport and now any money?
  • In the pawnshop is a neon sign for Killian's Irish Red lager. Some of the letters on the sign are out, causing it to read "Kill Ed." When coupled with the silver "Z" on Zed's keychain, it reads "Kill Zed." Which is exactly what's going to happen offscreen.
  • Steve Buscemi plays a waiter. In the previous Tarantino film, Buscemi's character had explained why he doesn't like to tip, essentially making this Laser-Guided Karma.
  • The prologue features a rather famous moment in which Jules intimidates Brett by snatching his hamburger and eating it in front of him before remorselessly murdering him. It's easy to miss, but that scene is practically a mirror image of another scene in "Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace's Wife": Mia orders a hamburger at Jackrabbit Slim's, and Vincent (Jules' foil) respectfully keeps his distance while she eats it—subtly showing that the soft-spoken, feminine Mia has far more power than the ambitious, masculine Brett. Jules' dialogue even subtly highlights the connection, as he chews Brett out for "fucking" Marsellus, and points out that only "Mrs. Wallace" is allowed to do that.
  • The three main stories in the film all involve the three main characters, in turn, killing (or almost killing) three people who literally or figuratively "fucked" Marsellus Wallace. Brett betrays Marsellus, and gets murdered by Jules in retaliation. Mia is Marsellus' lover, and Vincent very nearly kills her by leaving heroin for her to overdose on. And Zed, the Big Bad of "The Gold Watch", rapes Marsellus, and ends up being cornered with a samurai sword by Butch, then led away to be tortured to death by Marsellus' men.
  • When Vincent goes to buy the heroin from his drug dealer, Lance, the dealer, mentions that he's out of "balloons", and offers a baggie instead, which Vincent accepts. Since cocaine is usually stored in baggies, it makes perfect sense that Mia would assume the heroin she finds is cocaine, which is why she suffers from her overdose when shooting it up her nose.
  • Vincent's reaction when Butch kills him makes logical sense when one realizes that the MAC-10 Butch finds on the counter isn't his, but Marsellus's. Vincent and Marcellus were staking out the apartment together, since it was a job that Marcellus was interested in carrying out personally. Vincent went to the bathroom while Marcellus headed out to get coffee and donuts for the two of them (Marsellus is carrying a pink box with two coffee cups on top when he encounters Butch later on at the intersection). Vincent most likely heard someone entering the apartment; he just assumed it was Marsellus returning from his errand, which explains why Vincent didn't react. Vincent also didn't react because he is a heroin addict which can seriously cloud your better judgment.
  • I don't think this is really Fridge, but it should be clarified: Some film trivia buffs claim that Butch was the one who keyed Vince's Malibu. While Butch has motive and means, he doesn't have opportunity in the finished film (although the script includes a scene where the Malibu pulls into the club parking lot and parks next to Fabienne's Honda), because even if it was there, it would be sheer luck that Butch chose the correct car to exact his revenge on. This is moot anyway, because later that afternoon, when Vincent is telling Lance about the damage, he starts off by saying "You know what happened the other day?" (ie. prior to the chronological beginning of the movie).
  • Bora Bora is part of French Polynesia; they speak Fabienne's native tongue. Of course, American-bred Butch doesn't know that.
  • In a deleted scene, Mia asks Vincent if he's an Elvis man or a Beatles man. Vicent is the former and Jules refers to Pumpkin as Ringo, so he's obviously the latter.

Fridge Horror

  • Marcellus makes a deal to spare Butch's life over the rescue in the pawn shop. But Marcellus doesn't have any idea that Butch has killed one of his enforcers (Vince) just roughly less than an hour before (although, it could be argued he figured out Vincent was dead when he saw Butch driving). And he's already down one top enforcer today since Jules has quit the life. However, given Vincent's rather obvious nature as a constant fuck-up, while Marsellus' organization's strength has possibly gone down, it's probably not as vulnerable as it could be.
  • On the night of the fight Butch shoots shit with Fabienne about speaking Spanish before going to bed. "What time is it?" triggers something in Fabienne to speak to Butch about something important, but he's already asleep and it goes out of her mind. It is quite plausible this is the first moment she forgets she packed the watch, and if he had been awake then the events of the morning may have occured the night before... except as it's so late the pawn shop may have been closed so there's no subplot to complicate Marsellus running down Butch with a gun in his hand.