You can't graduate from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts film program without seeing Martin Scorsese's student film. It's rough and violent, a commentary on Vietnam shot in a dumpy bathroom. The film lacks the polish of the director's big budget work, but is certainly a statement of intent, as if shouting, "This is my style. This is my voice."
"My Best Friend's Birthday," the recently recovered first film of Quentin Tarantino, exists on that same plane.
The dialogue is heavy on Tarantino's pop culture-infused wit, and Roger Avary, who's responsible for a lot of Tarantino's juicy stories in early scripts, shoots the film with nods to directors you associate with the Criterion Collection. The rest of the actors, as reported by Dangerous Minds, are a mish mash of "Tarantino's [fellow] video store co-workers and friends from acting class."
The 36-minute flick is no masterpiece. Half of the original 70-minute running time is missing -- destroyed in a fire. But for anyone who's ever quoted Mr. Pink, this is required viewing.