Saturday, September 24, 2011

2001 analysis - part 10: Another correspondence with 'Pulp Fiction'


From Pulp Fiction: Boxer Butch Coolidge places a phone call.

The above screencap from Pulp Fiction depicts boxer Butch Coolidge making a call to find out when he can collect on some gambling winnings. The background to this is that Butch had promised gang boss Marsellus Wallace that he would throw a fight (i.e., lose on purpose), but he then proceeded to win the fight instead, killing his opponent, Floyd Wilson, who was favored to win. Prior to the fight, he gambled all his money on himself to win, and now is in a position to collect a large payoff. After the fight, he flees the arena, then calls a man named Scotty from a payphone, to find out how much he has won and when he can collect. During the phone conversation, movie-goers hear only Butch's part of the dialogue. First we'll look at the conversation itself, then we'll see how it refers to things having to do with A Space Odyssey.

Butch (into phone): "What the fuck I tell ya, hah? As soon as the word got out the fix was in man, the odds went through the roof. I know, I know. Unbelievable. Hey, fuck 'im Scotty, if he was a better boxer, he'd still be alive. If he never laced up his gloves, which he never shoulda done in the first fuckin' place, he'd still be alive. Yeah, well, who gives a fuck, it's over now. Yeah, well, enough about the poor, unfortunate Mr. Floyd - let's talk about the rich and prosperous Mr. Butch. How many bookies you lay it around on?"


"All eight? How long to collect?"


"So you'll have it all by tomorrow night?"


"No, I understand, a few stragglers aside. Ah, fuck, Scotty, that is good news, that is great news, man. Yeah. Mm-mm. No, me an' Fabienne are gonna leave in the morning. It'll probably take us a couple o' days to get down to Knoxville. Okay, my brother. (Laughs.) You're right, you're goddamn right. Alright, Scotty, next time I see you, it'll be on Tennessee time. Cool, brother."

Butch hangs up.


Though "Mr. Floyd" ostensibly refers to the now deceased boxing opponent whom Butch defeated, Floyd Wilson, it is also to be taken as a reference to Heywood Floyd from 2001. "Scotty" is a reference to the Montgomery "Scotty" Scott character from the original Star Trek TV series. What's being suggested is that Butch is talking with someone who is, in some sense, 'in outer space'. "Tennessee time" is a reference to 'Jupiter time' from A Space Odyssey, i.e., it is a reference to 2001's Jupiter mission.


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