True Romance didn't play by the rules. When Quentin Tarantino–penned, Tony Scott–directed, giddy, swoony, bloody trifle opened in 1993, critics adored it and audiences stayed away.
“I was really bummed out when the movie came out that it didn't do better,” says Patricia Arquette, who starred as the cheery hooker Alabama, who whirlwind-marries cocaine thief Clarence (Christian Slater) and goes on the run from Detroit to Los Angeles. “It was really a bomb.”
In the two decades since, True Romance has found its fans. Arquette has met people who've added her catchphrase “You're so cool” to their marriage vows and tattooed her face on their arm. “It's surreal,” she says, laughing.
Fittingly for the cult film that refused to blend in, the grand celebration True Romance Fest will be held not on the film's 20th anniversary but its 21st. On May 2-3 at the Safari Inn in Burbank — the site of Arquette's vicious corkscrew/hairspray/shampoo/toilet tank brawl with James Gandolfini — devotees can eat breakfast with Bronson Pinchot, karaoke with Gary Oldman's bodyguard, gawk at Clarence and Alabama's wedding rings and watch True Romance under the stars. (A deluxe package that includes sleeping in their actual hotel room has already sold out.)
“There's a lot of Los Angeles history tied up in that movie,” Arquette says. “I'll drive by things that are gone now, like the Ambassador Hotel, where we had our big shootout. Robert Kennedy was shot in that kitchen and we walked through it every day.”
And just as Alabama was paid for her first encounter with Clarence, Arquette is auctioning off a date with herself, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to her charity GiveLove.org, which constructs shelters and safe sanitation in Haiti.
“We can see a movie, get a slice of pie,” Arquette beams. “True Romance fans, they're cool people.”
TRUE ROMANCE FEST | Safari Inn, 1911 W. Olive Ave., Burbank | May 2-3 | trueromancefest.com