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L.A. CONFIDENTIAL: True Romance Fest returns for second round

by Mark Burger

“Who says Romance is dead?” Certainly not the worldwide legion of film fans that have made director Tony Scott’s 1993 action/ romance/comedy/shoot-’em-up True Romance an enduring cult classic more than 20 years since its release.

Well, for those movie mavens who tout True Romance and who might be pondering a jaunt to the West Coast, the True Romance Fest will make its return to the Safari Inn in Burbank, California, on May 1 and 2. Fans will undoubtedly remember that segments of the film were shot in that very hotel.

True Romance, which was penned by future two-time Oscar winner Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained) before even his explosive 1992 debut Reservoir Dogs, stars Christian Slater as Clarence and Patricia Arquette as Alabama, star-crossed lovers on the lam with a suitcase full of cocaine in their possession.

Needless to say, it’s not long before they find themselves pursued by cops, killers and any number of unsavory characters (including sleazeball “Hollywood types”) as they attempt to elude capture and, by some miracle, live happily ever after “¦ if slightly bruised, battered and bloodied.

True Romance, which also features a star-studded cast including Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken, Bronson Pynchot, James Gandolfini, Chris Penn, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Sizemore, Saul Rubinek, Michael Rapaport, Kevin Corrigan and Val Kilmer (as the apparition of Elvis Presley), is a cult classic in the truest sense of the words, in that during its initial theatrical release it was a box-office flop, grossing under $13 million on a final budget of “¦ $13 million.

The film found its haven and salvation on home-video, where it became (and remains) a huge seller, first on VHS and laserdisc, then on DVD and Blu-ray. Some critics loved the film, though others (ahem) weren’t so favorably inclined. (If you’re going to get Christopher Walken and Brad Pitt and Dennis Hopper, give them something more to do “¦ and if you’re going to get Val Kilmer as Elvis, how about showing him in focus just once?) Still, there are far worse films that boast fervent followings than True Romance, and the film is hardly without interest.

The True Romance Fest will be hosted by Bronson Pynchot, fondly remembered for his performance as hopped-up, patently untrustworthy, hot-shot actor Elliot Spitzer “” who comes to a very bad but admittedly show-stopping end in the film “” will act as the host for the event. Special guests already announced include co-stars Paul Bates (Drexl’s bodyguard) and Said Faraj (hamburger vendor), and other guests might be announced later.

The weekend’s festivities begin with VIP guests enjoying a day by the pool followed by a kick-off party featuring guest stars and festival organizers and an evening of karaoke True Romance-style!

Saturday features a “meet & greet” breakfast with guest stars, and the day’s activities include live music, a pop-up art show, photo booth, an exclusive display of official props from the film, vendors, likely a surprise or two, and then the climactic sunset screening of True Romance to cap off the weekend’s fun and frivolity.

Incidentally, guests are encouraged not to re-enact the violent hotel room battle between Patricia Arquette and James Gandolfini, which is undoubtedly one of the film’s most memorable moments. (Remember, folks: “It’s only a movie.”) Space is limited for this event, so if you happen to be in Los Angeles in early May, and you need a “little Romance,” act now or you’ll have to wait till next year “¦ !

WANNA go?

The True Romance Fest will be held Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2 at the Safari Inn, 1911 W. Olive Ave., Burbank. For a complete schedule of events and ticket packages, email trueromancefest@live.com or visit the festival’s official website: trueromancefest. com. VIP hotel packages are currently available via Ticketweb.com.

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