After rewatching Pulp Fiction this week, I wanted a chronology of the film’s events. I knew it was something that nerds talked about, and I had seen a poster in a bathroom at a party laying them out once.
The first one I found was wrong- it listed Butch’s fight as the same night that Mia OD’s.
Another one posited all the events happened over two days. Wrong.
Another. Another. All incorrect. And it was that thing where once one incorrect version is posted, everyone else copies that and they’re all wrong. Vince changes clothes and goes to buy drugs the same day as Jules retires? No.
At first I thought- did Quentin screw up? And no, I realized. It’s because even movie nerds are idiots. Here’s the real thing.
- To begin with, Vince and Jules go get the briefcase. Opening with humor, buddy energy, and good times, the scene ends with them blowing a bunch of kids’ brains out.
- Surprisingly, they are ambushed by a fourth kid, who takes multiple shots and misses- this is the miracle that puts Jules on another path.
- Vince and Jules leave with Marvin the rat. Suddenly, Vincent accidentally shoots him. Worth noting that when they get in the car, Jules puts his safety on, and Vince, the hothead addict, does not.
- The Terrible Two go to Jimmy’s house and call Marcellus, who calls The Wolf. They clean the car, get hosed down, and leave, wearing Jimmy’s shorts and t-shirts. Apparently, Jimmy went to school in Santa Cruz.
- The Wolf, Vincent, Jules, and what’s left of Marvin go to Monster Joe’s Auto Yard. They part ways. Vincent invites Jules to breakfast.
- They discuss the Wolf, bacon, and divine intervention.
- Meanwhile, Pumpkin and Honey Bunny have a conversation about the best places to hold up. Movie begins here.
- Next, Vincent goes to the bathroom.
- Suddenly- Pumpkin and Honey Bunny hold the place up.
- While Pumpkin sees what’s in the briefcase. Honey Bunny interjects and they have a Latinx Standoff with Jules, which escalates when-
- Vincent comes out of the bathroom. Pumpkin and Jules come to an understanding that Jules will walk out with Marcellus’ briefcase.
- Afterward, Jules and Vincent leave the diner. Movie ends here.
- Marcellus talks to Butch in the bar, explaining how he’s going down in the 5th round. Many people assume that the fight is that night, but Marcellus doesn’t say “tonight.” He says “the night of the fight.”
- Paul lets Jules and Vincent into the bar. Paul teases Jules about going out with Mia the next night. Jules leaves his position with Marcellus.
- Butch finishes his business with Marcellus and has an unpleasant interaction with Vince. We don’t see it, but Butch goes outside and keys Vincent’s car, a Chevy Malibu. The next thing we know, it’s:
- Jody and Trudy are discussing body piercing. Vince is there to buy heroin from Jody’s husband Lance. He bitches that someone has keyed his car “a few days ago”, he shoots up and goes to pick up Mia, high as shit.
- Mia and Vince go to Jackrabbit Slim’s and have a weird time. Mia describes the plot of Kill Bill to Vince.
- They return to Mia and Marcellus’ house in Beverly Hills, Vince goes to the bathroom and gives himself a pep talk about being appropriate with Mia. Mia finds Vince’s heroin and od’s. They return to Lance’s house, Vince crashing the car into the house.
- Suddenly, Mia gets a shot in the heart of adrenaline. She comes around immediately. Vince drives her home and they agree to never say anything to Marcellus about their adventure. It is now:
- First, Captain Koons (a descendent of Crazy Craig Koons in Django Unchained) visits a young Butch and discusses where to hide a wristwatch in a prisoner of war camp. Many people put this first in the chronological order, but it is a flashback that is happening to Butch between rounds of a boxing match. When Butch wakes, he has a moment of clarity and knows he won’t throw the fight. Blackout.
- Next, Butch jumps out of a window into a Dumpster while Esmerelda listens to a radio broadcast announcing that he killed his opponent.
- Then, Paul and Vincent walk down the hall at the match to find Marcellus. Mia answers the door. Vincent gingerly asks Mia if she’s OK, she responds robotically that she’s great, and that she meant to thank him for dinner.
- Afterwards, Butch has a very sexy cab ride where he learns he killed his opponent. He calls his partner and finds out how much money he won betting on himself.
- Later, Butch arrives at the River Glen motel, (at the corner of Riverside and Glendale in Silverlake) and greets his adorable child-bride Fabienne. They make love and go to sleep.
- The next morning, Butch discovers his watch is missing. He flips out and leaves to retrieve it.
- Now, Butch enters his old apartment and gets the watch, no problem. He notices a strange gat on the counter, picks it up and shoots poor Vincent as he leaves the bathroom. Vince never got to finish his book.
- Butch leaves the apartment and drives toward the hotel, he’s in Atwater/Frogtown at Larga and Fletcher. Apparently, his apartment is about half a mile from the hotel. He’s surprised to see Marcellus Wallace, crossing the street with a box of donuts. Apparently, now that Jules has quit, Marcellus has to do a stakeout with Vince. Butch hits him with the Honda and escapes on foot after crashing the car into a pole.
- Finally, Marcellus follows Butch into the pawn shop, where shit gets seriously weird. Butch decides to save the man who wanted to kill him. They make peace with one another and Butch picks up Fabienne. The chronology is over.
And there you go! You have now read the only correct chronology of Pulp Fiction. Congratulations!