Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Let's overanalyze the classic opening scene of Reservoir Dogs

Anyone familiar with the work of Quentin Tarantino knows the firebrand aesthete can’t tell one story without referencing at least a few dozen others. As such, his films are kibble for ravenous film buffs, who love drawing lines between Tarantino’s visual and linguistic motifs and those of his forebears. While Tarantino is well aware of his own tendency to borrow and refine, a new video essay from ScreenCrush posits that the opening scene of his very first film functions as a “declaration of purpose” for the particular style of storytelling he sought to achieve in his work.

If you don’t remember, the film opens not with the iconic slow-motion walk of the film’s main characters, but rather with a diner scene in which Tarantino himself, as Mr. Brown, contends that Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” isn’t a love song so much as it is one about big dongs. For most, it’s a funny, self-aware monologue that serves no larger purpose, but this essay shows how the speech essentially serves to prepare audiences for a film filled not just with pop culture references, but one wherein those references contain the keys to understanding the action.

After highlighting the film’s many nods, the video shows how the sense of “inexperience” associated with virginity tracks throughout the film and pings off Mr. Pink, the film’s only survivor who, time and again, declares himself a “professional.” Factor in that Tarantino wrote the role of Mr. Pink for himself, and that the “Like A Virgin” speech was intended for Mr. Pink, and you’ve got some interesting cud on which to chew.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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