Thursday, November 26, 2009

Listening Post


Being that it's Thanksgiving, I was ready to post Pat Metheny's Last Train Home -- a gorgeous song from his 1987 album Still Life (Talking).

But while looking for it on YouTube, I came across something I hadn't seen in years. Something really wonderful.

There's a great little gem of a movie from 1985 called Fandango that starred Kevin Costner, Judd Nelson and Sam Robards. It's essentially a road picture set in the late 1960s; a group of college friends pile into a car and set out across Texas looking for one last adventure before they go their separate ways -- with at least two of them going to Vietnam.

I'd try to describe to you what makes the movie work, but to be honest it's something you have to see for yourself. Suffice it to say, I'm not sure I've ever seen a movie that truly captures what it feels like to simply be young and alive like Fandango. It's funny, touching, bittersweet, passionate and just plain magical.

The film's final scene involves a wedding that's been hastily put together through a little good-natured trickery (the set-up is some of Costner's best work and reminds you of the kind of charm he could wield so effortlessly on-screen during those first years of his career) in a tiny Texas town. The aim is to marry Sam Robards's character to someone who in the movie credits is known only as "The Girl." She's played by Suzy Amis. What's never described anywhere in the movie is what the history is between Costner's character and Amis -- you only know that there was something between them a long time ago, and that Costner considers Amis to be the love of his life. She slips through his dreams at various points in the movie like a ghost, without saying a word. When they finally meet face to face before the wedding, for what you know is the first time in years, he says with a wistful smile, "Don't I know you?" She smiles back sadly and says, "You used to."

In the end, the entire town comes out for the wedding -- and what happens next is honestly one of my favorite scenes I think in any movie. Fandango uses music in ways that don't just enhance the film -- they imbue it with, once again, magic, from Carole King's It's Too Late to Blind Faith's Can't Find My Way Home.

To this song from Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, originally from their album As Falls Wichita So Falls Wichita Falls.

Maybe I shouldn't share this, I barely know anymore. But before I even watched this -- the moment I discovered it -- from completely out of nowhere and with a lightning-fast speed that absolutely shocked me, I started crying uncontrollably. Just, a tidal wave of overwhelming sobs.

Here's the wedding scene from Fandango.

The song is It's For You.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very underrated movie.

SteveR said...

Thanks, Chez.

Che Grovera said...

Chez, you can post Pat Metheny anytime and it will never be the wrong choice. Last Train Home packs an intense emotional wallop...gets me every time. If number of listens is the sole criterion, then his album Letter From Home is my favorite album of all time -- it's been the soundtrack of my adult life, what I reach for when I need a boost of creativity in my work, or when I'm feeling wistful, or when I just need a reminder of the beauty that's possible in this life.

Thanks for the reminder.

A Bowl Of Stupid said...

Okay, that's interesting timing -- I just 'borrowed' this song online yesterday. Hadn't heard it in years and just randomly wanted it. Weird.

I love almost every part of this movie -- from the graveyard scene to the skydiving to 'DOM' to this scene encompassing the less than typical ending.

And as for you ... just remember, it ain't nearly over yet, friend. To continued privileges of youth. Happy holiday.

Sheriff Bart said...

Wow thanks for the blast from the past. Happy Turkey Day. Now lets go get Dom.

spazmodeas said...

I also like that it isn't until the "Don't I know you?" "You used to." exchange occurs that we realize that the girl Gardner's been dreaming about and the girl Ken's going to marry are actually the same girl.

Stephen said...

Sigh, it's been too long since I've seen this. It was always one of those little gems I kept to myself and didn't really discuss with any of my movie addict friends because I didn't want to taint it in any way.

Thanks...gonna watch it this weekend.

Michael said...

Thanks for the reminder of this great movie. Been a long time for me too. Found your site a couple months ago. Really enjoy it.