Fandango is a 1985 comedy/drama film about five college friends, nicknamed The Groovers, embarking on one last road trip together before they have to move on to the "real" world. It marked Kevin Costner's first starring role, as well as being the directorial debut of Kevin Reynolds, who had previously worked on films such as Red Dawn and would go on to direct Waterworld and others.
This work contains examples of:
- Bittersweet Ending: It's hard to say where any of the Groovers will end up in the future, but they all grow as people and come to terms with some struggle they've been having during the trip (aside perhaps from Lester, who was passed out for most of the film).
- Brick Joke: Lester passes out at a party at the beginning of the film, and only wakes up at the very end with a hangover.
- Butt-Monkey: Phil for most of the film.
- Coming-of-Age Story
- Five-Man Band: The film centers on five young men (though only four of them play a large part, as one is unconscious throughout most of the film thanks to the bender they went on prior to their road trip). Aside from Lester, the unconscious one, the main characters fit decently into the Five-Man Band mold; Gardner as The Hero, Kenneth as The Lancer, Phil as The Smart Guy, and Dorman as The Big Guy.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Phil, to an extent. After the others have had enough of him complaining and berating them, Gardner tells him that they only hang out with him because they feel sorry for him (though they make up later).
- The Reveal: Gardner's ex-girlfriend and the girl that he has been fantasizing about and trying to forget throughout the trip is Debbie, Kenneth's fiancée.
- The Silent Bob: Dorman, the large seminary student.
- Title Drop: Near the end, when Gardner tells the band at Kenneth's wedding to play the fandango, a popular dance from Spain, which he shares with Debbie, as it is implied this was something special to them when they were a couple.
- The Vietnam War: Takes place as the war is ongoing. Kenneth and Gardner have both been drafted, and Kenneth's main personal trial during the film is grappling with whether or not he should go through with his engagement knowing that he will be shipping out.