The dry heat hangs over western Texas’ desert as sparse bits of plant poke out of the ground. The hauntingly soundless land is perfectly out of reach of the law, where drug deals and murder could go unnoticed. It became the perfect setting for the modern western “No Country for Old Men.”
The Texas film, along with nine others, will be celebrated in Alamo Drafthouse’s annual Rolling Roadshow this month. Starting Friday, each Texas-made film will be shown in either the exact location or city where it was filmed.
In collaboration with Texas Monthly, the tour is the first rolling road show to take place entirely in Texas. With 10 screenings, the road show will also be among the largest outdoor screening tours in the world.
The free 35mm film screenings provide moviegoers with a unique opportunity to experience the various backdrops of films across Texas firsthand, said Texas Monthly Editor Jake Silverstein. The tour pays tribute to the Lone Star state’s rich film production history, making it even more special for a Texas crowd, he said.
“It’s that much more special for a Texas crowd, because they are all Texas movies,” Silverstein said.
The tour stops at spots across the state, with showings as far west as Marfa, Texas, where “No Country For Old Men” and “Giant” were filmed, to as far east as Groesbeck, where it was the background for “The Searchers.”
The films also show many different facets of the Texas landscape, ranging from small-town America to classic Western. Some screenings will be held outdoors, such as “No Country for Old Men.” Others will be shown in iconic buildings, such as the Farmers and Merchants Bank building where the first major heist in “Bonnie and Clyde” took place.
The road show will also highlight Austin. The screening of crime film “Blood Simple” will be held at Dessau Hall, a landmark Austin music venue that was used as a bar in the film. The screening of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” will also take place near the Austin area at Junction House in Kingsland, Texas. Formerly the film’s house of horrors, it now serves as a southern-style restaurant.
“Locals eat here all the time just for the food, but tourists come because of the movie,” said owner Christina Lee.
The road show stemmed from a round table discussion feature in Texas Monthly entitled “No Country for Bad Movies,” in which a panel of five experts, including Alamo Drafthouse CEO and founder Tim League, came together to debate the greatest Texas movies of all time. After much back and forth, the top 10 were complied. The list includes the western classic “Red River,” starring John Wayne, and “The Last Picture Show”, a look at small-town America starring Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd and Cloris Leachman.
After reading the article, Texans will hopefully be inspired to take a road trip across the state and experience one or more of the movies in a surreal way, Silverstein said.
“It starts in the magazine, you hear all of the arguments, and then you can jump in your car and drive all over Texas,” Silverstein said. “You can see ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ in Leatherface’s house. It really adds a whole other dimension.”
Silverstein said the intent is to create an experience that is totally different from what the movie creates on its own and allow people to see all different parts of the Texas landscape. It gives moviegoers a chance to understand the director’s interpretation of that landscape as well, he added.
“Those who are able to somehow make it to all of the screenings are very lucky,” Silverstein said. “They truly will see all of Texas.”