When I was in college, I won a thing. Fine, it was a screenwriting competition, specifically for college students — which means that you didn’t have to be good, you just had to stop doing keg stands and ripping bong hits long enough to write a spec episode of a TV show. Because I was, and always shall be, a nerd, I wrote an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The prize was a summer in Los Angeles and an internship on the show I wrote an episode of.
So, before I was old enough to drink, I was working for Star Trek: The Next Generation. And, as this was the summer just before Star Trek: Deep Space Nine premiered, I worked a bit on that debut season, too.
Before that amazing season in the sun ended, I went on a tour of TNG's standing sets — which was, basically, a tour of Jean-Luc Picard's U.S.S. Enterprise. And it was both amazing and kind of depressing. Few things are as hollow as a set that's not lit the way you've seen it on TV.
That entire summer, I told everyone I worked with, from my fellow interns to the late, great Michael Piller, that I really wanted to have my picture taken in the Captain’s chair. So, when this tour made it’s way to the bridge, I finally got my chance. I asked…and was told that Patrick Stewart was very possessive of his “throne” and frowned upon that particular request.
I might’ve cursed aloud. I don’t recall.
As we were leaving the soundstage, I saw a set that had been used for the Next Gen episode that had just finished shooting. It wasn’t much — just one wall, some monitors…and a Captain’s chair.
THE Captain’s chair. Kirk’s captain’s chair. The one they built for “Relics,” TNG’s Scotty episode. On the Enterprise. No bloody A, B, C, or D.
You bet your ass I planted mine in that chair. There’s a picture, somewhere, that’s lost to me. But I remember…and will never forget.
Pulp Fiction is 20 years old. And it’s a remarkable film for a number of reasons…not the least of which is that it got John Travolta to dance again.
For the children who don’t remember, Travolta’s two biggest movies worked, in great part, because he could dance. Because he was a handsome pseudo-street tough who could fucking move. Grease and, more importantly, Saturday Night Fever. (No one will ever again speak of Staying Alive, and so neither will I.)
That dancing was all about sex and power — as diametrically opposed to Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire (who were all about masculine precision and manners) as possible. Travolta danced on screen like no one else.
And then he became a joke. He started doing talking baby movies. He got fat. He got irrelevant. Until Quentin Tarantino found him and talked him into dancing again.
Tarantino is quite fond of blending genres, bending form to suit his cinematic will.
John Travolta dancing to Chuck Berry in Pulp Fiction is very much an old gunslinger strapping on his Peacemaker, one last time.