The Has Been and The Never Was
This is the story of two very different individuals who, up until a certain point, could have been called The Has Been and The Never Was. They are both successful actors who pursued slightly different paths to fame. When the two were cast together in the same movie, their performances were nothing short of spectacular. They proved to all of Hollywood that they were A-list, bankable Talent, and deserved the professional respect accorded to people of this caliber. The movie that they appeared in was Pulp Fiction and the actors are John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson.
First, a few brief sentences about the film that many people call one of the greatest ever made (a simple search on the Internet brings up over 50,000 websites devoted to the movie). Directed by a then unproven Quentin Tarantino, who Roger Ebert calls ‘ The Jerry Lee Lewis of cinema, a pounding performer who doesn’t care if he tears up the piano, as long as everybody is rocking’; (Chicago Sun-Times 10-94) the movie is a combination of several short-stories into a larger story. Tarantino ignores the concept of time, going forwards and backwards in such a way that the ending and the beginning of the movie are almost the same scene. This nonlinear way of shooting, combined with the brilliant acting of Travolta, and Jackson make the film one that can be watched a dozen times, and every time the viewer will take something different away from it.
John Travolta is an actor whose career has seen as many downs as it has seen ups. An awe-inspiring Hollywood star of the late 70’s and early 80’s, Travolta was the youngest of six children born to tire salesman and former semi-pro football player Salvatore Travolta and high school drama teacher Helen Travolta on February 18, 1954 in Englewood, NJ. Being the baby of the family, Travolta grew up pampered. The Travolta children were encouraged to be creative, and would stage shows in the basement of their home. By age twelve, John knew he wanted to be an actor, having already joined an acting workshop in his hometown. He soon began appearing in local theater and began taking tap lessons from Gene Kelly’s brother Fred. Travolta admits he picked up a lot of moves from TV’s Soul Train, and he ascribes his love for dance to the fact that his high school was fifty percent black.