I’d been wanting to watch True Romance for a while, mainly because Quentin Tarantino wrote it. The issue has been getting my hands on a copy of it without dropping more than $10. Luckily, a movie friend of mine picked up a copy and we watched it at his place. True Romance was funny and full of celebrities I enjoy earning it the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.
Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) meets Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) at a kung-fu movie triple feature on his birthday. What initially seems like a chance encounter, turns out to be a call girl hired by his boss as a gift. Only, Alabama is swept away by Clarence and they get married leading for Clarence to confront her pimp. He steals a bunch of cocaine and they head to Hollywood to try and sell it. Yet, the owners of the drugs aren’t willing to just let it go without a fight.
My friend and I kept freaking out as more and more celebrities show up in small parts in this film. Samuel L. Jackson shows up at a dreadlocked white guys house that we learn is Drexl, Alabama’s pimp. Who is that handsome dreadlocked fellow you ask? None other than Gary Oldman! Yeah, he’s fantastic in the role and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Add in a barely visible Val Kilmer as figment of Clarence imagination, Brad Pitt as Michael Rapaport’s stoner roommate, Dennis Hopper as Clarence’s dad, and Christopher Walken as a mobster and we could barely contain our excitement.
The funniest observation was when character Elliot Blitzer walked on-screen played by Bronson Pinchot and my friend shouted, “Isn’t that Balki from Perfect Strangers.” The answer that question is a resounding yes! Not to forget that Tony Soprano himself, a young James Gandolfini, beats the living crap out of Patricia Arquette in an intense sequence that shows she’s just as crazy as Clarence.
Lots of True Romance to love!
True Romance feels like a Tarantino movie in the best ways. The dialogue is frequent with pop culture references. The characters are predominantly despicable but somehow manage to win me over. Clarence and Alabama remind me of Pumpkin and Honeybunny as if this was the origin story of that couple. The film is directed by Tony Scott and that’s where the Tarantino element is missing. The visual storytelling is solid, but it doesn’t feel like the other films of Tarantino. It feels a little more traditional and maybe a bit too static at times.
Ultimately, I enjoyed True Romance a lot. Slater still feels like a young Jack Nicholson, but who says that’s a bad thing. Arquette’s bubbly optimism is quirky and endearing. The violence is brutal, but never felt excessive. The plot flows in believable ways for the most part, but Slater’s “coolness” was definitely the highlight for me. I really enjoyed watching him work through all of the craziness that kept falling in front of him. It was clearly at home in the madness and that made the movie a fun, love-filled adventure.