At the end of a two-day celebration at the Safari Inn in Burbank, all fans could think was: “You're so cool!” And it was fitting as they celebrated “True Romance,” the bullet-ridden romance film written by Quentin Tarantino that hit theaters nearly 21 years ago in September 1993.
The first-ever True Romance Fest brought out hundreds of Hawaiian shirt-wearing guys and platinum blonde gals to the kitschy motel off Olive Avenue on Saturday for an outdoor screening of the film directed by Tony Scott, which stars Christian Slater as a love-struck romantic who marries a sweet call-girl named Alabama played by Patricia Arquette.
“I can't remember when we saw it for the first time, but whenever we have guests on our boat that's the movie we always make ‘em watch,” said 65-year-old Wayne Warrington of San Pedro, who was sporting the iconic gold Elvis glasses and red Hawaiian shirt Slater's character, Clarence, wore in the movie.
His 59-year-old wife, who identified herself as Enola Gay, was also decked out in a pink polka dot dress and blue hoodie, just one of Alabama's memorable outfits worn by Arquette.
“Someone came up to me and said, ‘That's a very nice outfit' and I said, ‘I got this in Las Vegas, Nevada,'” Gay said, laughing, as the exchange was a homage to the scene between Arquette and James Gandolfini when he found Alabama at the Safari Inn.
Complete with blue heart earrings, a pink lunch pail and a replica of the napkin from The Beverly Ambassador Hotel where Alabama scribed “You're so cool!” much of Gay's outfit was actually made by hand for the fest.
“We wanted to be as authentic as we could,” she said.
And it paid off. At the end of the night, the couple won the festival's costume contest.
True Romance Fest was created by Sean Healy and Dan Storm, buddies who Healy admits “like to go to hotels and crash pools.”
“One day Dan said, ‘Why don't we go to the Safari Inn? It's where they shot ‘True Romance.' So we did,” Healy said.
The two ended up hosting a “True Romance”-themed pool party for about 30 people at the Burbank motel last May.
“That was pretty much how the idea germinated,” Healy said. “Then we were sitting around drinking beers at the pool and started thinking about what if we could screen the movie here by the pool and what if we could get like 100 people to come.”
During the two-day festival, which included a VIP karaoke party on Friday and culminated with an outdoor screening for more than 300 fans who hooted and hollered during sexy scenes between Alabama and Clarence and cheered during the big shootout at the The Beverly Ambassador Hotel.
“This is my most favoritest movie. I know that's not a word but that's the best way to describe how much I love this movie,” said Desiree Sorce, 33, of North Hollywood. “It's the best love story. A (expletive) up love story, but it's great.”
Sorce won the title of “Biggest Fan” at the fest by professing her love of the movie and showing off her tattoo, which was the same design as Alabama and Clarence's tattoo — an angel and a heart. She said she even named her cat Elvis, after Val Kilmer's role in the film.
Other fans hailed from as far as Washington D.C., Kentucky, Canada, Italy and all over Southern California, including Australian-born Keir O'Donnell.
“I'm a huge fan of the movie,” said O'Donnell. “My brother emailed me about it and just had to check it out.”
The actor, known for his role as the creepy brother with a crush on Vince Vaughn's character in “Wedding Crashers” and appearances on “Sons of Anarcy” as Lowell Harland, Jr., didn't get all decked out for the fest but wore a strip of a red Hawaiian shirt he tied around his neck like a tie.
“Over the years the movie has been such a cult classic, and it doesn't surprise me how many people are here,” O'Donnell said. “Plus, this is such an awesome venue.”
The screening started with a tribute to the film's cast members who have since died, which includes Scott, Chris Penn, Dennis Hopper and Gandolfini.
“The heart and soul of this movie — the thing that gives this movie its beating heart — was Tony Scott,” actor Bronson Pinchot told the audience before the screening.
Pinchot, who played Elliot Blitzer in the film, also participated in the Q&A that followed the screening along with Paul Bates (who played Marty, body guard to Gary Oldman's character), Said Faraj (who had a scene with Slater as the burger stand clerk) and the movie's second assistant director, Carey Dietrich.
Slater's father, Tom Slater, even attended the fest on behalf of his son who is filming a new project in Miami.
“Told you we'd get a Slater here,” Storm quipped to the crowd.
Arquette had initially agreed to show up for the fest, but had to cancel due to her new role in the new “CSI” spinoff, Storm said. But as a consolation, Arquette is auctioning off a date with herself with 100 percent of the proceeds going to her charity GiveLove.org, which aims to improve sanitation in Haiti with community-led projects.
As of Sunday afternoon, the highest bid was for $3,500 — which just beat out Storm's initial bid.
Healy and Storm plan to host True Romance Fest every year during the first weekend of May at the Safari Inn.
“It was the first movie I ever saw when I moved to L.A. in 1993. It was a bomb back in the day and I remember very specifically coming out of that theater wondering why there were only like seven other people in there with me,” Storm said. “Now there's a huge cult following for it and so it's awesome to be around other diehard fans here.”
Pinchot said that when the movie came out he didn't really understand why it didn't initially catch on either, but is glad that people started finally wising up to it too.
“It wasn't until the later-90s did people start to say ‘‘True Romance' was my favorite movie,'” Pinchot said. “It just had this weird after glow, and that's wonderful.”
Follow Mariecar Mendoza on Twitter: @LANGMarMendoza