Sunday, September 2, 2012
Every once in a while a weird, violent, unusual movie comes along, and you miss it at the theater and then you just forget about it, even if you knew about it in the first place. That's right. You never saw it, until years later you picked it up on dvd and you are amazed not only by the story, but by the great cast of young actors that you know much better for their later works. Somewhere in the late 1990s, before his groundbreaking Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino wrote True Romance (1993), which ended up being directed by Tony Scott. The story is fairly simple, about an Elvis-ghost-seeing comic bookstore clerk who falls in love with a callgirl from Alabama, who then confronts her pimp and in the melee that follows walks away with $500,000 in cocaine, that is owned by the mob and they intend to get it back. A few of the actors would have been well known at the time the movie was made, including Christian Slater, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Samuel L. Jackson, Conchata Ferrell (at least by face), Chris Penn, and Gary Oldman. Patricia Arquette had been in a few things and would have been recognizable (and she was beautiful in a cute way), though this may have been her first big movie. Val Kilmer (who you really don't see him in the role as the Elvis ghost) would have been known because of his roles in Top Gun and The Doors. Brad Pitt had recently made hearts flutter in Thelma & Louise and A River Runs Trough It, but he was yet the marguee name (and he plays a wonderful stoner). Bronson Pinchot was working his way from his Balki days on television. Relatively new faces included Michael Rapaport, James Gandolfini (channeling his later turn as Tony Soprano), Tom Sizemore, Michael Beach, and a few other lesser names that nonetheless have popped up both on the big screen and on television. A producer probably couldn't come close to being able to assemble this cast today for less than a few hundred million. This is not a movie for kids, much bad language, sex, situations, and violence, but it is pretty good.