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Jeff Bridges on the link between 'Pulp Fiction' and Talking Heads

Jeff ‘The Dude’ Bridges isn’t quite a hero because, in the words of his Big Lebowski counterpart, “what’s a hero?” But sometimes, there is a man who unites an army of culture vultures into the unanimous nod of appreciation that says, “here is a guy we can get behind.”

In his long and varied career, he has imparted greatness upon adoring masses, not just through his work in film, but in his general eulogy of culture and his generous hat tips to the great artistic boons that inspire his output. 

He is a man of taste and class. He knows a good film when he sees one, and he knows a great song when he hears one. When it comes to Quentin Tarantino’s epic Pulp Fiction, Bridges reserves special praise, lauding it as one of his favourite films. It might be clear that the convention-defying film-noir masterclass helped to inspire The Coen Brothers defining masterpiece The Big Lebowski, but its impact on Jeff Bridges was equally seismic.

“I remember seeing Pulp Fiction,” Jeff Bridges begins, “it had a wonderful effect on me.” He goes on to stirringly declare, “It was like ‘oh wow’, this is so fresh and the way [Tarantino] mixed up the time it was just wonderful, and all the performances were so great and the dialogue.” It is high praise indeed from the Fisher King star, but he was not alone in enshrining the flick with such esteem. 

However, he is in a league of his own in comparing the film to Talking Heads. Bridges is a certified music lover, and his Oscar-winning guitar-plucking performance in Crazy Heart epitomises that. When discussing the output of Talking Heads with Music Radar, Bridges said: The Talking Heads were just phenomenal. They affected me in a similar way to The Beatles; they were so fresh and different, and, of course, their songs were like ear candy.

And he even reserved special praise for astoundingly good concert film Stop Making Sense, explaining: “The film that Jonathan Demme made of their show blew me away. I saw the band play in Los Angeles on that tour – it was either the Greek Theatre or the Hollywood Bowl; I’m not sure which – and I loved every minute of it. Everybody set the bar really high with this one. It kind of changed the way concert films could be presented.”

Speaking to the American Film Institute Jeff Bridges brilliantly elucidated how the two passions share a link for him. “[Pulp Fiction’s effect] was similar to the effect that Talking Heads had on me. […] I was listening to my own music and the stuff that I liked and then suddenly the Talking Heads came out and it was kind of like a splash of cold water. And I remember Tarantino’s film gave me that same kind of reaction when I saw that.”

“Every once in a while,” Bridges continues, “a movie comes along that is almost like an etch a sketch, and it cleans everything off and just starts afresh.” For Bridges, the cold splash of water to the face of the music industry that Talking Heads benevolently applied was the same as the refreshment served up by Tarantino’s sui generis stylings, throw Bridges own name into the mix, and you’ve got the eponymous triumvirate of cool.