Sunday, March 18, 2012


I've never understood Kevin Costner's appeal, but I've never been immune to it either. The lean but undefined body, the frat boy smirk, the drawl that too often slips into a whine - not sure how that adds up to such an attractive package, but it does. The guy is undeniably, if undefinably, hot.

My introduction to Costner came by way of two movies on television in the 1980s - Fandango and, later, American Flyers. To this day, Fandango is still my favorite Costner flick. The story of some friends from the University of Texas on one last road trip before going their separate ways (and likely to Vietnam), it's a slight, fun buddy film that when, all is said and done, seems more genuine and imaginative than the big blockbuster message movies Costner favored creating when he became the biggest star in Hollywood for a while. Judd Nelson, Sam Robards, and Chuck Bush are all great as his co-stars. 

Of course, the appeal of Fandango may simply be all seeing Costner in his colored jockey shorts and cowboy boots - again, a package that is a lot more intriguing than it sounds.

Unfortunately, VHS and DVD releases of Fandango have always cut several scenes from the movie I saw on television. In most movies, editing seems to be a good thing. Director’s cuts usually suck. But in the case of Fandango, the edits not only make no sense, but the exclusion of these scenes makes the entire film make less sense. These missing scenes establish important character traits and relationships and provide a more accurate sense of the desultory, misdaventure-riddled pace of a road trip. In addition, the scenes themselves are some of the best in the flick and, more important for the point of this post, include a skinny-dipping scene with Costner once more in his tighty-blues. The quality of these caps isn’t so great, but they show Costner and buddies at a swimming hole, stripping down to their underwear and then to their birthday suits before being hailed by the swimming hole’s female property owner. You can see Costner clutching his briefs in the second-to-last cap.