04th Jul2017

Movies You May Have Missed: ‘Pulp’

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to the latest installment in our regular Movies You May Have Missed series here on Nerdly, in which I highlight some of, what I think, are the best movies that have flown under the radar of many or have been “forgotten” in the intervening years since its release. This time round its a fantastic British comedy, Pulp.

pulp-poster

Official Synopsis:

Thunder Racers, Infinite Finity, Rat Warriors. Junk Comics’ titles have been referred to as ‘the worst printed material since Mein Kampf’. Tony Leary, the nice-guy owner of Junk Comics, is gearing up for one last roll of the dice. His new superhero title, The Sodomizer, launches at the British International Comic Show, and nothing will stop Tony from making it a success. Nothing except a gang of Geordie criminals who are using a comic company to launder their dirty money. Tony is drafted by the police to identify the culprits and bring them to justice. Aided by his trusty geek sidekicks, Rick and Keith, Tony must defy the odds if he is to become a real life hero.

My Thoughts:

Comic book movies are big business these days. Movies about comic book readers, less so… We’ve had the likes of Comic Book Villains (another must-see movie IMO) and Mallrats but I doubt, beyond fans of sites like this, there’s much of an audience for films about people who like reading comics, creating comics and generally being completely nerdy about comics. But those people don’t know what they’re missing!

If there’s one thing that ties this particularly small sub-genre together, it’s the casting. Mallrats had Jason London and Jason Lee, Comic Book Villains had Donal Logue and Dj Qualls… Pulp has the terrific trio of Jay Sutherland, Gavin Molloy and Simon Burbage – names you may not be familiar with but a collection of actors whose chemistry, whose comradery and whose performances really are the corner stone of this film and provide the heart that a story like this needs. There’s also a great supporting cast, including Sarah Alexandra Marks as Laura, the woman who changes everything for Tony and Junk Comics; John Thompson, in a hilariously camp over the top performance, as landlord/thespian Dave; and – in a scene-stealing role, Lee Ravitz as villainous Geordie gangster Clem.

Storywise Pulp is, at its core, a wish fulfillment comedy about a guy who REALLY wants to be a successful comic creator but, much like Mallrats – which ended on a similar upbeat note, there are numerous twists along the way that conspire to stop Tony; and its these obstacles that provide the films laughs. Well that and a long-running joke about Thompson’s character being a creepy swinger and who might possibly cross landlord/tenant boundaries!

Interestingly Pulp‘s story seemingly predates the current “outrage!” state of comics criticism online and on social media. Not only does Tony pick the most outrageous title for his latest book, but there’s a fantastic scene set during the recording of a comic podcast that really says a LOT about online criticism – which is even more relevant today than it was when Pulp debuted.

Where to Find It:

Originally released way back in 2013, Pulp actually debuted on the Xbox Movies app and was, at least in Australia, the number one viewed filmed on week of release…. Surprisingly, Pulp is currently a recommendation under “Top Comedy Movies” on Amazon Prime: that’s how I found the film. Which just goes to show how – despite protestations againsst streaming services and how they’re killing independent filmmkaing – indie films can STILL be discovered via digital services!

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