Quentin Tarantino Loves Breakfast

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Ever notice that pivotal plot developments in Quentin Tarantino's films are based around a breakfast scene? Think I'm crazy? Read on...

Submitted: December 25, 2011

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Submitted: December 25, 2011

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Any follower of literature or film notices patterns in an artist's work. From the protagonist's grim realization after the fatal act in Shakespearean tragedy, to M. Night Shyamalan's incessant "dire plot twist." But what of Quentin Tarantino and his love of breakfast scenes to mark pivotal moments in his films? This writer intends to study the significance through three of his most acclaimed films.

"Reservoir Dogs "

One of Tarantino's first films, it opens to show the Color Gang discussing the validity of "tipping the waitress" in a diner shortly before the ill-fated bank heist for which the film is based around. "Mr. White" and "Mr. Pink" ( Harvey Keitel and Steve Buscemi respectively) at one point engage in a somewhat expletive-filled debate over the issue. The group of men already don't trust each other, given the fact that the heist has very specific parameters to be met and that complications may arise. The tension is set from the start with the strained interaction between the main characters. Hell, they're using code-names! I'm sorry, but not knowing the names of the people I'm going to risk my life with for a bunch of scratch would make me totally fucking edgy. Add in to the fact that one of them won't tip the waitress? Well now I'd know a bit of the character of one man in this group, were I Mr. White and the little he did know of Mr. Pink leads one to believe he's a little opportunistic weasel-ass. It's bad enough that "Mr. Blonde" (Michael Masden) is steady giving everyone the creeps (which ironically enough he does something "creepy" but you'll have to watch the bloody movie to know.) So, what were they doing before all of this you (had you not seen the film) wonder? Eating breakfast!

"Pulp Fiction"

During the prologue, we're met with "Pumpkin" (Tim Roth) and "Honey-Bunny" (Tim Roth in drag... Just kidding, it's Amanda Plummer, but she needs surgery) both of whom are discussing the perfect target for a heist and past "jobs" they had performed together, shortly before attempting to knock over the diner after having breakfast. The entire sequence gives the viewer insight into the nature of the film and the plot, based largely around criminal acts and the lives of those who perform said act. Then, in the first chapter, after a long discussion between Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) about the ethical and moral ramifications of giving another man's wife a foot massage, they enter the apartment of a group of young men in the possession of a mysterious briefcase. To hammer home the point in this case, Winnfield says "Looks like we interrupted you boys at breakfast." There you have it, folks. Yes, they were eating "hamburgers, the cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast," but it is made explicitly clear in the dialogue that breakfast has occurred, there is nothing to be inferred from the scene; it's laid out in front of you. This, shortly before taking the ultra valuable briefcase to Marcellus Wallace after wasting one of the young men in what is the most awesome example of Sam Jackson yelling "mothafucka" that you will ever come across.

(Side Note: This writer actually watches the aforementioned scene on YouTube to get himself pumped up before hitting the gym: true story.)

During the third chapter, Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) has returned home to his apartment to retrieve his father's gold watch, a family heirloom. After finding the watch, Coolidge finds himself face to face with his would-be assassin who, ironically enough, is at a disadvantage after leaving his silenced MAC-11 on the kitchen counter across from the bathroom. Said MAC-11 is now in the hands of Coolidge, who proceeds to burst half of the magazine into the assassin's chest. The toaster pastries he had placed in the toaster popped out, almost like a shout to draw in a western, before Coolidge gives the assassin what this writer likes to call "high-speed lead poisoning." But none of this occurs until Coolidge lingered in his apartment to make himself some (all together now) breakfast. In fact, the very idea of assassins being on the lookout for Coolidge is an abstract concept until that moment, even to Coolidge himself, which sets the tension for the rest of the chapter. Also, non-consensual anal sex, of which I'd elaborate on but there's no need to spoil it for you. The epilogue of the film is, by far, the best example of breakfast scenes as a foretelling to a greater destiny or development for characters in a Tarantino film. Flashback to the original diner in which Pumpkin and Honey-Bunny are in the process of shaking down. Winnfield has already come to the resolution that his current occupation is a lost cause, and that he should change his life in order to do good with his life. At the same time he encounters Pumpkin, where after a brief "Mexican standoff," Winnfield shares his insight in the hopes that it would enlighten the misguided pair of thieves.

"From Dusk till Dawn"

Though only written by Tarantino, one of the earlier scenes splits between the Gecko brothers (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino) and the Fuller family (Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu) and their plans to cross the border into Mexico. Yet another pivotal plot moment, it is also filmed at a diner and the aforementioned characters are having (what else but) breakfast. This shifts the proverbial gears of the film as shortly thereafter our characters find themselves going from subjects of violent crime, to victims of a vampiric horde after crossing into Mexico.

Quentin Tarantino; perhaps the morning plays a significant role in terms of symbolism to him? Or perhaps Tarantino is a morning person in general? In any case, this writer knows only one thing: In Tarantino's world, breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day.


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