Fandango (1985); directed by Kevin Reynolds.
Fandango is about the passage of time, and how that passage can -- and will -- bring about decay: Romantic relationships blister, crack and fade; friendships shift and twist, sometimes ending and sometimes not; and of course, we grow old, make choices, and live or die with the consequences. Written and directed by Kevin Reynolds, it takes place in 1971 Texas, and concerns a gang of UT Austin undergrads facing the end of their college careers -- and the imminent promise of heading to Vietnam. Naturally, this prospect affects each of "The Groovers" in different ways: Phil (Judd Nelson) is already prepared, thanks to ROTC; Waggener (Sam Robards), having received his orders, has dumped his fiancee; and Gardner (Kevin Costner), the de facto leader of The Groovers, has an eye on the Mexico border.
First, though, they set off for One Last Fling, with each man growing up more in their last few days together than in four years of college. It all ends in a flyspeck Texas town, with the gang arranging the best wedding they can scrape up for their friend Waggener. And that wedding sequence -- set to a couple of gently seductive Pat Metheny instrumentals, "It's For You" and "Farmer's Trust" -- is a pure blast of elegiac, bittersweet pleasure. None of the gang knows what will happen next, and it's likely that happy endings won't be waiting for all of them. But they can enjoy one last night as friends, and savor the fleeting privilege of youth.