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Archive for February 23rd, 2010

Fandango

When I started this blog I posted an article explaining the origin of my blogs name.  At the time I had about three readers, so with Hollywood’s current obsession with origin stories I thought I would re-post my own to celebrate my blogs first birthday.

A similar event is planned for later this year, the 25th anniversary of the movies release including a screening of the movie at a West Texas drive-in. Sadly fanatical constraints prevent me from attending this time. Anyway back to the re-posting:

It’s the 20th July 2008 despite being scared of heights I am stood on a rock on a cliff overlooking the Rio Grande on the Mexican border with a bottle of Dom Pérignon in my hand. This is the exact spot Kevin Costner had stood about 25 years before, but what led me to this strange location in West Texas? To say the journey began in Las Vegas a few days before is not completely untrue but doesn’t give the complete picture the journey really began nearly 20 years before back home in Birmingham (England not Alabama!).

Some time in the late 80’s I saw a film on BBC2 called Fandango. The reason I watched it was simple Kevin Costner, a Hollywood star in his ascendancy. Although he was yet to make his Oscar winning début as a director with Dances With Wolves he was still a big star I had recently seen The Untouchables, Field of Dreams, Bull Durham and the much underrated No Way Out. He went on to make some classic films as well as a few turkeys but there is something special about Fandango. Like all cult classics it bombed at the box office before going on to achieve acclaim and popularity on Video and TV. For those who haven’t seen the film here is a brief synopsis:

Set in Texas in 1971 during the Vietnam war five collage friends calling themselves The Groovers go on one last “Fandango”, a road trip across the state to the Mexican border in a 1959 Cadillac. They all have different motivations for their actions. Two of them are facing the draft one is about to get married but they all share a bond as they celebrate the “privilege of youth”.

I won’t go into detail about the scenes in the film but will simply say it is worth seeing for the skydiving scenes alone. So back to my story fast forward a few years: Having seen the film one or two more times on TV I went away to university. Studying for a film and media degree we were all movie nuts and watched lots of films; one day Eddie; one of the group who was studying sports science and had never shown an interest in the films we watched declared that he would show us his favourite film. that’s when I saw fandango for the third or fourth time. Over the three years at university we watched it many times. To the best of my knowledge it has never been released on video or DVD in the UK (but region 1 versions are available) so I settled for a recorded off TV video that I have watched many times. So years later when Eddie called and said he was going on a “Fandango” it didn’t take me long to agree to join the trip.

So that’s how I ended up in Texas, we flew into Vegas and picked up our rented Cadillac (less the fins of the ‘59 model in the film) and headed for West Texas and met up with some other fans of the film (who Eddie had found on the internet) including Chuck Bush (who plays Dorman in the film). Over the weekend we travelled around visiting the locations from the film including the rock mentioned at the top. For more information on Fandango check out the fan site at here. And by the way it wasn’t a bottle of Dom Pérignon, it was American sparkling wine (kindly supplied by Jeff, thanks!).

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