Next up on my 2010 movie watch list (I finally got around to adding a tag for this, by the way!) is:
True Romance (1993)
Directed by: Tony Scott
Written by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer (blink and you'll miss him), Samuel L. Jackson, Bronson Pinchot, Michael Rapaport, James Gandolfini, Saul Rubinek
Here's a quick synopsis: Elvis-obsessed Clarence (Christian Slater) meets hooker Alabama (Patricia Arquette), and they get married the next day. Clarence then gets into a violent confrontation with Alabama's pimp (Gary Oldman) in an attempt to get her possessions back, but he ends up with $5 million worth of Mafia cocaine instead. The couple flees to L.A. to visit Clarence's best friend (Michael Rapaport) and try to sell the drugs to a Hollywood big shot (Saul Rubinek), all the while being pursued by the Detroit mob (including Christopher Walken and James Gandolfini).
This was kind of a fun movie, actually, but it wasn't what I initially expected. Because the screenplay was written by Quentin Tarantino, I was expecting something a little more Tarantino-esque, but it's not really. You can definitely hear Tarantino in the dialogue, and while watching a few of the scenes, I was like, "Oh, there he is." But, at least visually, the movie is very Tony Scott. I also read somewhere that there were a lot of rewrites on the script, so that's probably another reason why there's not a huge Tarantino vibe. Oh, but the final standoff scene -- that's classic QT!
O.M.G., did you see how many people are in this movie? With the exception of Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette, most of the actors have small roles -- one, maybe two scenes each -- but they're all essential to the story in some way. Is it wrong that I'm fond of Christian Slater solely because he guest-starred on The West Wing? Personally, I think that's an acceptable reason to like him. He's good in this movie...maybe one of his best roles. Patricia Arquette does an excellent job playing ditzy Alabama. Gary Oldman is almost unrecognizable as crazy pimp Drexl Spivey. Seriously, if you didn't already know it was him, you probably wouldn't be able to tell. I think my favorite character was Clarence's dad, played by Dennis Hopper. It's a small part, but it's pivotal. Keep an eye out for Val Kilmer as Elvis's ghost (or is it just Clarence hallucinating?) and Brad Pitt as Clarence's BFF's pothead roommate.
The combination of Quentin Tarantino and Tony Scott equals violence, but the bloody parts are done a lot more realistically than most Tarantino-directed films. There's a fight scene between Alabama and James Gandolfini's character that is rather disturbing, and the confrontation between Clarence and Drexl isn't exactly tame, either. Overall, it's a well executed film, and it actually has a lot of heart, if that makes sense. :-)