All Quentin Tarantino fans should bypass this opening paragraph and skip right to the jump so as to check out the opening 36 minutes of his first movie, My Best Friend’s Birthday. Completed in 1987, the film has never been officially released and has only been shown at film festivals every once in a great while. However, thanks to the wonders of space-age technology, you can now watch over half of it online! (We’d love to show you the last 34 minutes of the film, but they were lost in an editing room fire.)
For more, hit the jump to check out the video as well as some plot details from the film.
The 36 minute clip found below displays the quirks of Tarantino films we’ve come to know and love. From the snappy dialogue to the chopped-up storytelling, it’s all there. Though it’s the most slapstick and comedic of his films, he admits to learning from his mistakes while directing it. As a result, we have My Best Friend’s Birthday to thank for the years of genius that followed it.
Here’s the video:
The basic plot of My Best Friend’s Birthday revolves around Clarence (Tarantino) who is trying to surprise his buddy for his birthday, but everything goes wrong. Call-girls get assaulted by their pimps, cocaine turns out not to be cocaine and a discussion at a bakery devolves into whether Marlon Brando or Elvis was the better actor.
Fans of True Romance should pick up on the themes, character names and nods to Elvis and rockabilly music. There are touches of Pulp Fiction here, as Tarantino’s character resembles John Travolta’s later portrayal of Vincent Vega. The conversation between Clarence and the call-girl toward the end of the clip is also reminiscent of a scene between Vega and Mia Wallace. And Tarantino once again explores mistakenly snorting something that is not cocaine. I have to wonder if this stems from one of his personal anecdotes.
Finally, a keener eye than mine should be able to pick out which of Tarantino’s fellow actors from My Best Friend’s Birthday also starred in his future movies, such as Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill.