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May 27, 2008 6:27 PM   Subscribe

True Romance: 15 years later. Maxim article (hence slightly NSFW ads) with interviews with Christian Slater, Tony Scott, Quinten Tarantino, etc. If you're a fan of behind-the-scenes gossip, or the film -- or both -- it's an interesting read.
posted by zardoz (46 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
I really like that movie, a lot.
posted by oddman at 6:51 PM on May 27, 2008


There are two periods in my life, the time before I saw True Romance and the time after.
posted by mullingitover at 6:58 PM on May 27, 2008


Truly an exceptional movie.
posted by localroger at 7:01 PM on May 27, 2008


I'm reading Rebels in the Backlot right now -- the thesis of the first half of the book is pretty much that QT is a huge asshole, gives no credit to his co-writers and is a genius. Note no mention of Roger Avary in this article. Still, it's a great script and a really great movie. The Dennis Hopper monologue is one of my favorite moments in a movie ever.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:04 PM on May 27, 2008


If there's one thing this movie has taught me, it's better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.
posted by brevator at 7:06 PM on May 27, 2008


Now I know I'm pretty, but I ain't as pretty as a couple of titties.

Best. Line. EVAR.
posted by WalterMitty at 7:10 PM on May 27, 2008


Great link about a great movie - thanks for posting this.
posted by vito90 at 7:25 PM on May 27, 2008


Now I know I'm pretty, but I ain't as pretty as a couple of titties.

Best. Line. EVAR.
posted by WalterMitty at 9:10 PM on May 27 [+] [!]

My personal fave is "I'm the Anti Christ, and you've got me in a vendetta kinda mood."

/lurves me some Chris Walken
posted by ZakDaddy at 7:31 PM on May 27, 2008


...Quinten Tarantino, etc.

*Quentin Tarantino*
posted by ericb at 7:35 PM on May 27, 2008


Thanks for the read, I really liked the film.

Still, I wonder how much MORE i would have liked it if Scott had preserved the time-shuffling aspects of Tarantino's original script. Also: Patricia Arquette in this film, sigh. The cat's meow.
posted by Auden at 7:43 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Didn't Quentin disown True Romance for a while? He originally sold it to get some money, make a name and then was upset that they didn't do the movie "right". After he was well known for Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, and people actually cared what he had to say, he kept a distance from it because it just wasn't up to par. I think a few years ago he started mentioning it again after he realized it has a huge following.

At least that's what I had heard.

Also, being Italian, my friends still call me an eggplant because of that movie.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:52 PM on May 27, 2008


My wife, and two ex-girlfriends who immediately preceded her, all told me that they associate me with the film. I didn't see it until years after Pulp Fiction, and I can safely say I do not get either it, or the compliment I am sure I was paid.
posted by mwhybark at 8:05 PM on May 27, 2008


I've always felt that Brad Pitt didn't get enough enough credit as Floyd. He could have carried that movie, but he only got 2 scences.
posted by nyxxxx at 8:13 PM on May 27, 2008


I've always felt that Brad Pitt didn't get enough enough credit as Floyd. He could have carried that movie, but he only got 2 scences.

That's part of what makes that movie awesome -- nearly every role is played by someone great. Hey, who'se that big thug beating the hell out of Patricia Arquette? Why, it's James Gandolfini! That stoner is Brad Pitt! Hell, even the Mad Dog guy with the shotgun went on to be this dude.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:21 PM on May 27, 2008


Belongs on the all-time underrated list, for sure.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:28 PM on May 27, 2008


Oh, wow, I loved that movie. I think I saw it in the theater at least five times. Nice post and interesting article, now I'm gonna have to dig out the DVD and watch it again.
posted by gemmy at 8:28 PM on May 27, 2008


I have to go against the grain here, but I think it's because I heard the hype before seeing the movie (I think I first saw it in around 2000). I think it was a bit overrated, because it didn't have the viscosity and intricate brilliance of Pulp Fiction (where both the plot and the characters interweaved to create what I think is a fantastic overall movie). Sure, there's one liners here and there, but the dialog lacks finesse, and the plot was haphazard.

I did like the cast, though. Whoever called those shots made a brilliant move.
posted by spiderskull at 8:39 PM on May 27, 2008


Also, being Italian, my friends still call me an eggplant because of that movie.

Hmm. I certainly don't remember the film all that well but "eggplant" or "moulinyan" (sp?) is a common racial slur by italians in movies for black people. It's used in numerous Scorsese movies and I think Spike Lee mighta used it in Do the Right Thing. "Eggplant" is also a racial slur for Will Smith by the Italians in Enemy of the State. Can't say I've ever heard an Italian called an eggplant. Is that really in True Romance?

I've always felt that Brad Pitt didn't get enough enough credit as Floyd.

Someone mentioned to me that the recent movie Pineapple Express was created by two guys who decided to write a feature where the Floyd character from True Romance was the lead. Don't know if that's true or not.
posted by dobbs at 8:45 PM on May 27, 2008


Also, being Italian, my friends still call me an eggplant because of that movie.

Hmm. I certainly don't remember the film all that well but "eggplant" or "moulinyan" (sp?) is a common racial slur by italians in movies for black people.


NSFW but answers your confusion.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:52 PM on May 27, 2008


I thought this would be mentioned in the article, but since it wasn't, I'm going to expand on my script comment above with this, from wikipedia:

Originally the screenplay began with the same "I'd fuck Elvis" scene, set before the opening credits, as the release. But the first scene in Tarantino's script is the scene where Drexl steals the cocaine. After that, the next scene was Clarence and Alabama showing up at Clarence's father's home, from which point the scene order is the same up to where Clarence and Alabama meet Dick, which ends Act I. Dick asks how they met, which leads to the theater scene, marriage, and killing of Drexl and mistaken stealing of the cocaine. Act III begins with the scene where Dick sees the cocaine, after which the scripts converge.

Tarantino, in the commentary on the unrated director's cut DVD, mentions how this structure to the three acts results in the characters in the movie knowing everything in Act I while the audience doesn't know anything; the audience catches up in Act II, and the audience knows more than the characters in Act III.


I think this plot difference, plus the death of Clarence, would have made for a vastly superior movie.
posted by Auden at 8:56 PM on May 27, 2008


Dobbs:
Hopper implies that Sicilians are all descended from Africans because Sicily is right across from North Africa....

I think the "eggplant" scene, while being thrilling and full of menace and defiance is also full of that super annoying Quentin Tarantino casual cokehead whiteboy nerd racist bravado that makes you laugh but leaves you feeling ashamed that you did and not in a revelatory way, I understand the intent, but it's the cheapest of thrills . That being said, I still enjoy true romance and I still say "We now return to Bullit, already in progress " every time I swing a quick reverse in the car.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:56 PM on May 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


I always thought True Romance was a watered-down rip-off of David Lynch's far superior Wild at Heart -- but I guess people like it anyway.

dobbs: Pineapple Express is still upcoming. David Gordon Green directs (!) That story about Floyd sounds promising though.
posted by muckster at 9:24 PM on May 27, 2008


Lent this film to a Greek filmbuff living in Germany, visiting Canada. His response was, "this movie is too cool," in a derogatory tone.

I liked the movie. Just watched it again - to what ethnicity (or state?) does is a "canteloupe" [in the eggplant scene] refer to?
posted by porpoise at 9:41 PM on May 27, 2008


You're so cool.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:47 PM on May 27, 2008


I still say "We now return to Bullit, already in progress " every time I swing a quick reverse in the car.

yep, still with me as well. also, the "fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down" line is one i bust out more sparingly, usually in the context of describing my visit to a mall in amarillo, tx.
posted by Hat Maui at 10:51 PM on May 27, 2008


Thanks for the post. I've always loved this flick.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:32 AM on May 28, 2008


Divine_Wino writes "Dobbs:
"Hopper implies that Sicilians are all descended from Africans because Sicily is right across from North Africa...."


He didn't imply, he went right ahead and bluntly stated that they're descended from Africans because the Moors conquered Sicily and ruled it for hundreds of years. The Moors were predominantly Arabic but some were also Berbers, indigenous to North Africa. Then Christopher Walken went ahead and gatted him.
posted by mullingitover at 1:43 AM on May 28, 2008


"Still, I wonder how much MORE i would have liked it if Scott had preserved the time-shuffling aspects of Tarantino's original script."

No. No no no. Tony Scott's respect of chronology is one of the aspects that makes this one of the few genuinely interesting and artful Tarantino projects.

I wonder how mych LESS I would have liked it if Tarantino had had a greater say in casting the film.
posted by nthdegx at 1:58 AM on May 28, 2008


Didn't see it until tonight (BT'd it, monster number of seeds on this one.)

Veddy good, especially liked the Patricia Arquette-James Gandolfini violence scene and I'm not usually a fan of such.
posted by telstar at 3:03 AM on May 28, 2008


So I take it the Jack Nicholson impression didn't bother anyone? I have to FF every time Slater opens his mouth.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:54 AM on May 28, 2008


True Romance taught me an important lesson. In most cases, if you're trying to woo someone, it's a bad idea to show them True Romance.
posted by drezdn at 6:37 AM on May 28, 2008


True Romance provides for me the litmus test of coolness whenever I meet someone I like. I hold out my hand, with kind of a downward turn on my wrist with fingers out, and say in my best Elvis voice: "I like you, Clarence" (snap the fingers) "Always have, always will."
posted by thanotopsis at 7:43 AM on May 28, 2008


He didn't imply, he went right ahead and bluntly stated that they're descended from Africans because the Moors conquered Sicily and ruled it for hundreds of years.

Yes, that was a world record misuse of the word "imply" on my part.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:52 AM on May 28, 2008


I think this plot difference, plus the death of Clarence, would have made for a vastly superior movie.

I'm with nthdegx. I'm not a Tony Scott fan in general, but I think he saved the movie. It's a romantic comedy. Clarence and Alabama *have* to make it out alive. And the time shuffling would have only muddled an already hectic movie.

I had also heard the same as P.o.B., i.e. Tarantino refused to be associated with the film after its release. I found that curious (was his name in the original credits?). Still, everyone knew he wrote it. And if he had problems back then, it seems to have grown on him now.

I didn't know it bombed, but that's probably because I was in college and only watching second runs. Everyone I knew who saw it loved it. I saw it not too long after Reservoir Dogs (92, 93), and I thought, "Man, this Tarantino guy is awesome."

Since then ... I sorta liked Jackie Brown OK. The rest ... meh. I never understood the appeal of Pulp Fiction (outside of motherfuckin Sam Jackson, I suppose). I'd take True Romance over it any day of the week.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:15 AM on May 28, 2008


So I take it the Jack Nicholson impression didn't bother anyone? I have to FF every time Slater opens his mouth.

Face...fuck?

Honestly, Christian Slater stinks up the screen in damn near everything he's in except Heathers, but he was nearly tolerable in this. Patricia Arquette, who generally has all the emotive power of Tupperware, was also pretty decent. And it's almost certainly Tony Scott's best movie, which is one weak-ass commendation, but there ya go. I don't know if it was the script, the presence of top notch actors (Hopper, Walken, etc.) in supporting roles, or both, but this movie really brought some frankly mediocre (and just plain non-) talent up several levels (heights they'd pretty much never recapture, too).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:02 AM on May 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


A great read, though it reminded me that Chris Penn died, which I had totally forgotten about, and I'm kind of bummed now.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned anything about the soundtrack thus far. I seem to be in the minority as most people I talk to think it's great, that the levity of the the main theme contrasts well against some really, really heavy scenes. I've always found it quite a distraction. It seemed like Hans Zimmer spun around his studio with his eyes closed and his arm outstretched and just ended up pointing at the marimba and went from there.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:09 AM on May 28, 2008


My wife came down the aisle at our wedding to You're So Cool from the True Romance soundtrack, so even if I didn't love this movie, it would sure have some positive connotations for me.

Luckily, I think the movie is great.
posted by joelhunt at 10:50 AM on May 28, 2008


Tony has this special gun that you fire and flames come out the side. I said, “Tony, you’re not putting that gun right to my head.” He said, “It’s fine, do it to me.” So a crew guy shot him, and he started bleeding. He said, “OK, that won’t work.”
posted by kirkaracha at 11:09 AM on May 28, 2008


Samuel L. Jackson has a tiny part as the guy that Gary Oldman kills in the drug buy.

James Gandolfini was great in True Romance. I also liked his supporting work in Get Shorty.

this movie really brought some frankly mediocre (and just plain non-) talent up several levels

Tom Sizemore, I'm looking in your direction.

Speaking of Tarantino and Tony Scott.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:19 AM on May 28, 2008


I guess I should have said "being the "obvious" (name, looks, skin tone, etc.) Italian in my group of friends". Besides, it wasn't only my white friends who took to calling me "eggplant", and no it doesn't really make sense when my African American friends are calling me "part eggplant". *shrugs*
posted by P.o.B. at 11:40 AM on May 28, 2008


I love this film... always wished they'd made a Nicholson and Dimes spin-off. Or Coming Home In A Body Bag.

Lucky to catch it in the cinema the first time around and it's a great film to watch with an audience. There was gradually more and more laughter for each of Floyd's scenes... and towards the end he only had to appear on screen for the laughter to start. Now that's a scene steal.

Hmmm, birthday's only a few months away, perhaps this'll be the year a cute call-girl will dump popcorn on me in the cinema and it'll be the start of a great adventure. What do you think, Elvis?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:05 PM on May 28, 2008


I'm a bit late to this thread, but I wanted to say that one of the things I liked about it was the fact that one of the movies they show Floyd watching is Freejack. They had the entire history of crappy movies a stoner might sit on the couch and watch, and they chose one that came out the year before.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:40 PM on May 28, 2008


Late to the convo as well, but I'd always understood that QT distanced himself from "Natural Born Killers", not "True Romance".

If that's true, I certainly wouldn't blame him; NBK was interesting to look at, but all over the map tonally, in my opinion.
posted by BartonFink at 5:12 PM on May 28, 2008


NBK had major differences from QT's original script as well... were as, bar the ending and re-ordering the structure so it flows sequentially, TR is I think pretty much the same
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:31 AM on May 29, 2008


I'm surprised nobody has mentioned anything about the soundtrack thus far. I seem to be in the minority as most people I talk to think it's great, that the levity of the the main theme contrasts well against some really, really heavy scenes. I've always found it quite a distraction.

Oh man, I love that cognitive dissonance provided by the soundtrack. It inspired one of my favorite homemade mix CD's: "Quentin's Winter Mix". It's full of the Beach Boys and Len and every summery-as-hell song I could think of, and I only listen to it when I'm stuck in a 3-hour blizzard-stalled commute during a Minnesota winter. My brain likes the juxtaposition, I guess.
posted by vytae at 10:29 AM on May 29, 2008


I seem to be in the minority as most people I talk to think it's great

I like it too, but you're probably right about the minority thing. Incidentally, I was just listening to the theme from Driving Miss Daisy as I read your comment - also by Hans Zimmer. I think it's fairly safe to say that Zimmer does movie scores pretty well.
posted by WalterMitty at 3:04 AM on May 30, 2008


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