MovieHype00630 – TRUE ROMANCE
If you were trying to get a friend of yours to watch TRUE ROMANCE, you might tell them Quentin Tarantino wrote the script; his first ever made into a movie.
Maybe your friend isn’t impressed by writers, so instead you lay out who’s in the cast: Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken, James Gandolfini, Samuel Jackson, Gary Oldman, Val Kilmer, Jack Black, Michael Rapaport, Tom Sizemore, Chris Penn, Bronson Pinchot, and Dennis Hopper. My buddy William believes TRUE ROMANCE contains the greatest cast of all time. (I don’t agree, but it should at least be in the conversation.)
So what is TRUE ROMANCE? Sort of a Bonnie and Clyde, the retarded version. (And I use the term “retarded” not in a disparaging way, but more in the sense that the two central characters have no clue what they’re doing, but you can’t hold it against them.)
Originally it was part of a very long script that got cut in half. (The other half went on to become NATURAL BORN KILLERS.)
Anyway, Christian Slater plays Clarence, who marries Alabama (Patricia Arquette), the day after meeting her. At this point I’d like to warn every guy out there not to get involved with a girl who has the same first name as a state. It will lead to nothing but trouble. (Besides Alabama, you want to look out for Montana, Dakota, Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia, and possibly Wyoming.) While I’m on the subject, you should also avoid playing poker with anyone named after a city.
Hyperion’s Rating Scale
Suspension of Disbelief: Pretty high. Very little of this could actually happen. 7.5
Genre Grade: the Hyper-Violent Action Crime Film. If PULP FICTION is an A+ TRUE ROMANCE is a B-.
Sex/Violence? Uh, we’re talking Tarantino here? More bullets than you can shake a stick at. Oh, and over 250 ‘F’ words.
Asskickingness: This is a new scale in the Hyperion Institute Rating System. A film may not rate all that high on the “good” scale, but may kick major ass. In time, I hope Asskickingness takes its place with horsepower and Calorie. I may refine the system, but for now we’ll go on a scale of 0 –100, with 0 something like BEACHES and 100 ENTER THE DRAGON. With those two extremes, TRUE ROMANCE gets a 65 (and if you have a better scale, let me know).
Pantheon Percentile: Not one of the greatest movies ever made, but much fun to watch: 61.
I need to tell you a tiny bit of the plot so you know where I’m coming from (I promise not to ruin things). Clarence meets Alabama on his birthday, at a Kung Fu triple feature. A wonderful night ensues. The next day Clarence finds out that Alabama is a Call Girl and was sent to give him a good night. She’s only been a Call Girl for four days, and she doesn’t like it. Also, when she’s with a guy, she’s always monogamous. (I’m not really conveying how funny all of this stuff is to hear. You simply have to see if for yourself.)
Anyway, you’d expect Clarence to get really pissed off and never want to talk to the girl again. Instead he marries her and decides to kill her pimp, who happens to be a drug dealer as well, which leads to the…well, at this point, you’re either interested or you’re not.
On the one hand, I cannot relate to a man who would want to be with a Call Girl, let alone marry her. On the other hand, when Clarence comes in (bloody from a fight), after the encounter with the pimp, Alabama tells her man it’s the most romantic thing she’s ever heard of. I do hope that if I ever marry someone, she’d appreciate it if I killed to protect her. (That’s all I ever asked in a woman. Also, that she might stab someone for me.)
TRUE ROMANCE isn’t directed by Tarantino, and doesn’t have all of his trademark slickness. That said, it’s still obviously Tarantino. You pretty much either like him or you don’t. There’s not much more to it than that.
If you are into him, know that TRUE ROMANCE offers the same hyper-violence, amoral heroes and black comedy. The same focus isn’t there as later work, and there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to it all other than to make a movie that’s more or less about movies, paying tribute to every movie Tarantino loves. (As well as the music he loves and the heroes he loves too. That’s right: Elvis makes an appearance in the film.)
The main reasons to watch TRUE ROMANCE is to see Tarantino before he got it all figured out. Also to see future stars like Samuel Jackson, James Gandolfini and Brad Pitt before they were household names.
I watched TRUE ROMANCE with my sister, and she complained at least ten times how there is literally only one woman in the movie. I can’t do anything about that, but it might be a clue that this is a guy’s flick.
I can live with that.