Interesting to follow the discussion around meaning these films, certainly some fair points. SPR does bring some nice messages about brotherhood, sacrifice and similar military virtues but does it honestly tell us anything about history? About why these battles were fought and what their significance was in the greater war effort? Not really. These Germans could be replaced with any other non nondescript villainous military force, like any Rambo film, without changing either the substance or the interpretation of the film.
As a European this easily comes across as a movie about Americans, for Americans, fighting yet another war overseas. So I guess I'm voting cool ;)
If we were voting on which movie has the best opening scene, or the best thirty minutes, Saving Private Ryan would probably win. Unfortunately, it would also win for worst bookends, and for scene after scene that never lives up to its opening. Tarantino is a director that has I don't appreciate as much as I used to, but that doesn't mean that Pulp Fiction is any less than a brilliant film from the first frame to the last.
I love Steven Spielberg. I love Tom Hanks. I even have warm feelings for Matt Damon. But nothing in Ryan is as indelible in my mind as the Walken speech about the watch, or the conversations between Travolta and Jackson about anything. I’m sorry Private Ryan, you have lost your Filmspotting privileges.
There will come a time in this tournament when I start to vote against Pulp Fiction. Right now, it's all fun and games and $5 milkshakes. Sorry, Spielberg, this booth's taken. For now.
How did Good Will Hunting not make this competition?
Its probably over for Ryan. Pulp is a masterpiece but Ryan had an impact on me. The beach scene in Ryan transformed my 15 year old self. For the first time WW2 became more than just dates and slideshows in class. The movie is flawed but that first 30 minutes made me hold my breath and reevaluate a generation and their sacrifice.
Both are kinda overrated and both are derivative. But as modern updates by contemporary master directors working at their peak with exceptional collaborative effort from music to cinematography and great casts.
The nudge goes to Pulp Fiction even though I didn’t vote for it in the first round.
Saving Private Ryan is 2/3 of a masterwork from Spielberg, and the most savagely brilliant opening of any film, cinema at its very finest. Pulp Fiction is 100% a masterwork, so there's no contest.
Jake expressed it perfectly, even while coming down on the opposite side of this vote, Pulp Fiction doesn't communicate any particular message to me. Its brilliant on many levels, but when I think about it I get no message out of it. Distinctly 90s violent, stylish, dripping with cool, quotable, yeah these are all impressive features. But, in the end, empty.
Saving Private Ryan on the other hand gets put down as being preachy, sentimental, and mawkish ad nauseam. But I don't see what the problem is with being sentimental, Or having a message of valor, honor, the ugliness of war, while also showing that the things being fought for were so intensely important and the war was necessary to stop the rising power of Nazi Germany. Saving Private Ryan is gorgeously filmed, features an outstanding ensemble cast composed of actors and characters with vastly different backgrounds playing off each other brilliantly, and, oh yeah, the opening and closing battle sequences are 2 of the best of all time. And yet the film is generally given a bit of a critical lashing all these years later for being "jingoistic" and for its somewhat awkward book-ending scenes (which I agree is a bit bland, but also at times quite beautiful and emotional.)
Anyway, Saving Private Ryan has a lot more to say about honor and courage than Pulp Fiction has to say about anything. At. All.
Saving Private Ryan, easily.
I think that Ryan is a wonderful movie and I really thought about it for a second. Pulp's often been criticized for not actually being about anything. Can style really win so handily over substance? When it's this good it can. Pulp Fiction it is.