When Quentin Tarantino was raising funds for Reservoir Dogs, he secured a significant chunk of the cash by selling the rights to another early screenplay. That film became True Romance, arguably the greatest Tarantino movie not technically to be directed by Tarantino.
True Romance ultimately landed in hands of Tony Scott. With movies like Top Gun and The Last Boy Scout under his belt, Scott was a well-regarded action-comedy director, but it’s fair to say he never had the critical respect that Tarantino went on to garner. This leaves True Romance as an unusual curio – a screenplay with Tarantino’s inimitable style running through every line, translated for the big screen by a much more workmanlike director.
The film is elevated by a brace of excellent performances, including Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette as the impossibly sexy romantic duo at the heart of the movie. As a nerdy video store employee who’s so chronically sexless that his boss resorts to hiring a prostitute for his birthday, Slater is ludicrously miscast on paper, but he’s great fun to watch regardless.
The supporting cast list is also awash with iconic character actors and future stars including Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Chris Penn and Samuel L Jackson. There’s also a truly jaw-dropping Gary Oldman turn as an inexplicably dreadlocked white pimp, plus a confrontation between Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken that must go down among the most compelling face-offs in modern screen history.
On this week’s podcast, we break down some of our most memorable moments – including Gary Oldman’s inexplicable lair of villainy, the ghost(?) of Elvis Presley, a shoot-out for the ages and much more. We also brainstorm some drinking games, check in with our listeners and pitch sequel ideas to bring the movie back to the big screen.
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Next week, we’re flashing back to last year’s Oscar ceremony and an instant modern classic that transcended language to get everybody talking. Until then, happy listening and remember – cocaine is a hell of a drug…