Over the course of his career, Quentin Tarantino has scripted multiple cameo appearances for himself in films such as Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained, though he also often slips into the films of others too. A purveyor of cinema and filmmaking, his existence as a cameo artist throughout popular movies is somewhat of a modern staple, acting as a constant reminder to audiences of his pertinent existence.
Tarantino has appeared in everything from Disney’s The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz to Takashi Miike’s surreal genre film, Sukiyaki Western Django, where he would combine his love for the western with his appreciation for the Japanese filmmaker. Describing Miike’s 1999 film Audition as a “true masterpiece if ever there was one”, Tarantino would find the allure of appearing in one of the director’s films simply too appealing to turn down.
Though, whilst his appearances in The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz and Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django would come far later in his career, Tarantino’s appearance in Rory Kelly’s 1994 romantic comedy, Sleep With Me, would come at the very start of Tarantino’s rise to prominence. The film itself tells the story of a love triangle between three best friends Sarah, Joseph and Frank, that complicates when the two of them get married to each other.
So does Quentin Tarantino slip into this predicament to make a sumptuous love square? Not quite. The influential director instead turns up as a film buff at a party who corners the group’s friend Duane for a bizarre chat about Tony Scott’s Top Gun. “You want subversion on a massive level. You know what one of the greatest fucking scripts ever written in the history of Hollywood is? Top Gun,” Tarantino’s character Sid emphatically cries.
Further deconstructing the film, Tarantino notes, “It is a story about a man’s struggle with his own homosexuality. It is! That is what Top Gun is about, man”. Further elaborating on his concept, he note: “You’ve got Maverick, all right? He’s on the edge, man. He’s right on the fucking line, all right? And you’ve got Iceman, and all his crew. They’re gay, they represent the gay man, all right? And they’re saying, go, go the gay way, go the gay way. He could go both ways”.
Duane, patiently listening to Sid’s passionate speech, then asks out of the blue, “What about Kelly McGillis?” a question he immediately regrets as Tarantino’s character becomes further inspired. “Kelly McGillis, she’s heterosexuality. She’s saying: no, no, no, no, no, no, go the normal way, play by the rules, go the normal way. They’re saying no, go the gay way, be the gay way, go for the gay way, all right?” Sid explains.
Continuing in his monologue for quite some time, Tarantino finishes his analysis of the film by saying, “They’re all hugging and kissing and happy with each other, and Ice comes up to Maverick, and he says, “Man, you can ride my tail, anytime!” And what does Maverick say? “You can ride mine!” Swordfight! Swordfight! Fuckin’ A, man!”.
Is it Quentin Tarantino’s greatest ever cameo? Quite possibly.