You’re so cool, You’re so cool, You’re so cool.

True Romance

It’s rare for a title to perfectly capture the spirit of a movie. True Romance does this, right down to its very core. It’s a movie about love, of course. The best ones always are. But it’s a love that extends far beyond the destined union of Clarence and Alabama; True Romance is an ode to pop culture, country style talkin’, The King, kung fu, sex, drugs and rock & roll written with the kind of passion only Quentin Tarantino could deliver.

But unlike Tarantino’s later works, which deliver the same cultural worship chock full of amazing dialogue and memorable references, True Romance is driven by the love affair at its heart, a completely unbelievable journey that somehow feels oh-so-right.

Why? Because it’s destiny. Why should everything work out for Clarence and Alabama, when they’re in over their heads, hunted by the mob, married and practically strangers? Because they deserve it, he says. And they do. That’s romance. Are they crazy? Absolutely. Violent? Without a doubt. But maybe their actions are excusable because they’re in love. Where would cinema be without violence, after all?

True Romance is a great film because it infuses Tarantino’s off-kilter cultural appreciation with a massive dose of lighthearted, downright sweet whimsy. The film clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously, and we are to accept that sometimes people fall in love and that’s just how it’s damn well supposed to be. Hans Zimmer’s score perfectly establishes the tone–at first it seems utterly bizarre and out of place, but gradually it begins to evoke the caution-to-the-wind love affair of Clarence and Alabama.

It’s not a love affair that gets development or depth. It is what it is, just as the movie homages and elaborate dialogue are only skin-deep elements that bind together a wild plot. But Tarantino has proven that the homage is an art of its own. This is a movie lover’s movie, made even better by the power of hindsight. Nearly twenty years after release, we can see True Romance as more than it was in 1993. It’s not just a movie in love with the idea of love and the glorified violence of the silver screen–it’s a movie in love with the 90s and the late 80s, or at least a movie that has come to define the culture of the time. So many of the actors went on to famous bigger and better roles, it’s easy to see the romance of them acting these small parts in a movie that, more than anything, wishes to say only this: movies are so fucking cool.

Amid the chaos of that day, when all I could hear was the thunder of gunshots, and all I could smell was the violence in the air, I look back and am amazed that my thoughts were so clear and true, that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: you’re so cool, you’re so cool, you’re so cool.

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