Before Quentin Tarantino directed Pulp Fiction
and became a household name, before Reservoir Dogs
, he directed another film. It was called My Best Friend's Birthday, and we'd probably have all gotten to see it. Instead, it accidentally got set on fire
, and as of yet, what's left hasn't really seen the light of day.
The film stars Craig Hamann and Tarantino himself as Mickey Burnett and Clarence Pool. Mickey has just been dumped by his girlfriend, and, to make him feel better, Clarence buys him a hooker named Misty (Linda Kaye). Unfortunately, the result is a string of disasters, the worst being the arrival of Misty's pimp Clifford (Al Harrell), looking to fight Mickey.
Of course, some will recognize this as part of the plot of True Romance, an excellent film written by Tarantino and directed by Tony Scott. The first big similarity is Christian Slater's "I'd fuck Elvis" speech from True Romance was delivered by Tarantino himself. Also, in place of Slater's love of kung fu films, Mickey actually uses karate on Clifford in their showdown, ala John Holmes in the Johnny Wadd films. Veteran actor Allen Garfield also appears in a role, because he was teaching Tarantino while he made the picture in film school.
Tarantino shot the movie for a couple weekends, and then, over the next three and a half years, shot the film on weekends using cash from his job at Video Archives, in approximately $300 increments. At the end, he put it together to take a look, and was somewhat let down -- "I didn't really have what I thought I had, it wasn't that good." In any case, it didn't matter, as most of the film burned up during a lab fire, and there are only about 30 minutes of it remaining. Tarantino screened it once, and there are a few comments on IMDb about the quality. But Tarantino claims the experience taught him how to make a movie, and we all know how that turned out...