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How happy is Twitter?

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 06, 2016

Using a 5000-word dictionary of words rated on their happiness, the Hedonometer measures the average happiness on Twitter.

Happy Twitter

Christmas is always the happiest day of the year (“merry”, “happy”, and “joy” are all pretty positive) while shootings and terrorist attacks are Twitter’s saddest events. The recent mass shooting in Orlando seems to be the least happy Twitter has been over the past 7+ years.

The Hedonometer also analyzes the overall happiness of movies based on their scripts. The happiest movie is Sex in the City while the saddest is Omega Man (followed by The Bourne Ultimatum). Somehow, the fourth happiest movie is Lost in Translation, which might be reason for some overall skepticism about the project’s sensitivity to context.

The happiness over time of individual movie scripts has been analyzed by the Hedonometer too. Pulp Fiction’s happiest moment is when Vincent and Mia go to Jackrabbit Slim’s and the low point is “Bring out the Gimp”.

Happy Pulp Fiction

The system has analyzed books as well…the low point of the entire Harry Potter series seems to be the event at the end of The Half-Blood Prince.

Update: Grain of salt and all that, but the shootings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the Dallas police officers have pushed the happiness quotient on Twitter lower again so that the two least happy days have both occurred in the past month. There’s been a general feeling that 2016 has been a bad year, like George RR Martin is writing it. I wish the data were available for a closer analysis, but if you look at the chart, you can see that Twitter’s overall happiness starts to rise around the end of 2012 but starts to fall again right around the beginning of 2016…the effect is quite clear, even just from eyeballing it.

We Work Remotely

The subtle ways in which Pulp Fiction visually inspired Breaking Bad

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 23, 2015

There are a few shots in here that are generic to many movies but many others have the feel of definite homage. See also this list of similarities from a couple of years ago.

The moment when Walt spots Jesse’s escaped hostage on the road is very reminiscent of the moment when Butch sees Marcellus. The scene where Walt chooses the weapon to kill someone looks exactly like the scene where Butch wonders what to use as he comes back to rescue Marcellus. In one scene Walt is forced to visit his home and there is a great chance someone is waiting there to kill him. Sounds familiar?

Quentin Tarantino’s desired cast list for Pulp Fiction

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 20, 2015

Pulp Fiction Cast

Pulp Fiction Cast

Quentin Tarantino is the type of writer/director who writes roles in movies with specific actors in mind. For Pulp Fiction, he wanted Harvey Keitel to play Winston Wolf, Tim Roth to play Pumpkin, and Ving Rhames to play Marcellus Wallace. But he also wanted Michael Madsen to play Vincent (with Travolta as a strong second choice), John Cusack to play Lance, Matt Dillon to play Butch, and Laurence Fishburne to play Jules. Another possibility for Jules was Eddie Murphy, and Tarantino also specified “No Rappers” for that role. Bruce Willis and Uma Thurman weren’t even listed for their respective roles. Gary Oldman, Nicholas Cage, Johnny Depp, and Alec Baldwin were considered for several roles but ultimately didn’t appear in the film.

Here’s the full list. (via open culture)

The sounds of Tarantino

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 18, 2015

A montage of hundreds of sounds from Quentin Tarantino’s movies, from Zed drumming his fingers on top of the gimp’s head in Pulp Fiction to the schiiiiing of The Bride’s Hattori Hanzo sword in Kill Bill.

An oral history of the making of Pulp Fiction

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 26, 2013

Mark Seal pieces together an oral history of the making of Pulp Fiction through interviews with Tarantino, Thurman, Jackson, Travolta, Harvey Weinstein, and many others.

When Pulp Fiction thundered into theaters a year later, Stanley Crouch in the Los Angeles Times called it “a high point in a low age.” Time declared, “It hits you like a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart.” In Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman said it was “nothing less than the reinvention of mainstream American cinema.”

Made for $8.5 million, it earned $214 million worldwide, making it the top-grossing independent film at the time. Roger Ebert called it “the most influential” movie of the 1990s, “so well-written in a scruffy, fanzine way that you want to rub noses in it — the noses of those zombie writers who take ‘screenwriting’ classes that teach them the formulas for ‘hit films.’ “

Pulp Fiction resuscitated the career of John Travolta, made stars of Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman, gave Bruce Willis new muscle at the box office, and turned Harvey and Bob Weinstein, of Miramax, into giants of independent cinema. Harvey calls it “the first independent movie that broke all the rules. It set a new dial on the movie clock.”

“It must be hard to believe that Mr. Tarantino, a mostly self-taught, mostly untested talent who spent his formative years working in a video store, has come up with a work of such depth, wit and blazing originality that it places him in the front ranks of American filmmakers,” wrote Janet Maslin in The New York Times. “You don’t merely enter a theater to see Pulp Fiction: you go down a rabbit hole.” Jon Ronson, critic for The Independent, in England, proclaimed, “Not since the advent of Citizen Kane … has one man appeared from relative obscurity to redefine the art of movie-making.”

So many great things in this piece. Daniel Day-Lewis as Vincent Vega, Samuel L. Jackson had to fight to play Jules, how to replicate a heroin high (“drink as much tequila as you can and lay in a warm pool or tub of water”), Travolta’s contribution to the humor (and choreography) of the film, and the true contents of the briefcase.

I saw Pulp Fiction on opening weekend in a mall theater in Iowa. We had no idea what to expect going in and holy hell the drive home was a weird mixture of shellshocked and wired. (via df)

The unified theory of Quentin Tarantino’s movie universe

posted by Jason Kottke   May 31, 2012

In the past day, I’ve run across two related theories of how all of Quentin Tarantino’s films are part of the same universe: this video and this post on Reddit. They differ slightly but the Reddit one is more interesting…specifically that Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, etc. take place in the aftermath of Inglourious Basterds and its unorthodox ending to World War II.

Because World War 2 ended in a movie theater, everybody lends greater significance to pop culture, hence why seemingly everybody has Abed-level knowledge of movies and TV. Likewise, because America won World War 2 in one concentrated act of hyperviolent slaughter, Americans as a whole are more desensitized to that sort of thing. Hence why Butch is unfazed by killing two people, Mr. White and Mr. Pink take a pragmatic approach to killing in their line of work, Esmerelda the cab driver is obsessed with death, etc.

You can extrapolate this further when you realize that Tarantino’s movies are technically two universes - he’s gone on record as saying that Kill Bill and From Dusk ‘Til Dawn take place in a ‘movie movie universe’; that is, they’re movies that characters from the Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, and Death Proof universe would go to see in theaters. (Kill Bill, after all, is basically Fox Force Five, right on down to Mia Wallace playing the title role.)

(via ★pieratt & @natebirdman)

Pulp Fiction in chronological order

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 09, 2011

I can’t imagine this is going to be up for much longer, so grab it while you can: Pulp Fiction presented in chronological order.

(via ★interesting)

In which we meet the Emirati Winston Wolf

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 20, 2008

I’ve been reading this site called I Keep a Diary for I don’t know how long, six years at least. The site is a hand-crafted throwback to an earlier web era, a series of annotated photo galleries that document the life, times, adventures, and friends of Brian Battjer Jr. Like its proprietor, the site is funny, enthusiastic, and good-natured, and that’s what keeps me coming back for more. I even visit the splash page each time I go because I like the quote that appears on it so much:

i feel nostalgia for things i’ve never known

IKAD is one of my favorite things on the web and the most recent entry is so truly magical that I had to share. Brian is more than a year behind in documenting his adventures so he’s just now getting around to telling the story of his July 2007 trip to Thailand and the United Arab Emirates with his girlfriend, Meredith. After telling his boss that he’s taking a month off of work, subletting his apartment, and arranging to stay with a friend in Dubai, he and Meredith speed off to the airport.

At this point, I urge you to just go read the story — it’s great and Brian tells it *way* better than I could — because I’m going to ruin a lot of it. If you need more convincing of this story’s wonderfulness, read on.

Anyway, off they go to JFK for their flight to Dubai. The woman at the Emirates check-in desk has no record of their tickets…becaue they got to the airport a whole day late. After some nervous moments, the woman finds them some seats on the plane.

Fast forward 12 hours or so: they land and deplane. Meredith discovers that she lost her passport and she swears that the thing is still on the plane. Emirates won’t let her get back on the plane to look for it but they send an employee to look for it. No dice. They then spent several hours trying to find somone to let them on the plane to search. No luck. Intense panic sets in; the plane is scheduled to leave for NYC in an hour or two.

At this point, Brian phones his friend in Dubai, Bernadette, whom he has never met in person, and explains to her the situation. She says, “I’m on the way to the airport now…I’ll see what I can do.” It turns out that Bernadette’s boss is a sheikh, one of the richest men in the world, and one of the most powerful men in Dubai. Bernadette arrives and tells them that her boss has dispatched his “fixer”, his Mr. Wolf. “You ain’t got no problems, Brian. I’m on the motherfucker. Chill out and wait for Mahmoun, who should be comin’ directly.”

“Shit Negro, that’s all you had to say.”

Sure enough, about ten minutes later a very large, serious-looking Emirati man walked up to the armed guards at immigration and with a nod, they let the dude through! We were like “Whoa.” Mahmoun came over to us, and asked us to tell him the problem (and he even whipped out a little pad to take notes just like Mr. Wolf!). After we’d finished explaining to him that we were almost 100% sure that the passport was still on the plane, he was like “Meredith you come with me. Bernadette and Brian, you wait here.”

He came back like two minutes later with ten airline employees in tow and said something like “This airplane is supposed to fly back to New York in forty-five minutes, but it’s not going anywhere until the passport that’s on there is found. So let’s go find it.”

Did Meredith recover the passport? Does Mahmoun go medieval on anyone’s ass? Oh, you’ll have to find out for yourself.

According to Michael Madsen, Quentin Tarantino is

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 10, 2006

According to Michael Madsen, Quentin Tarantino is thinking about making a sequel to Pulp Fiction/Reservoir Dogs that focuses on the Vega Bros.