The Disciples of James Dean meet up on the anniversary of his death and mull over their lives in the present and in flashback, revealing the truth behind their complicated lives. Who is the...
- Robert Altman
- Ed Graczyk
- Sandcastle 5 Productions
- Viacom Enterprises
It's September 30, 1975 in McCarthy, Texas. The Disciples of James Dean, the local James Dean fan club, was formed by a group of teens in the mid 1950s largely because Dean, among other major movie stars, was filming Giant (1956) in Marfa, sixty miles away. Long disbanded when the members dispersed, they nonetheless vowed to meet on this date at their old haunt, the Woolworth five-and-dime, to commemorate the twenty year anniversary of Dean's tragic death. The three members who still live in McCarthy, who are arranging the get-together, are the only definite attendees, as they have not kept in touch with anyone else from the group. They are: unofficial member Juanita, a Christian fundamentalist who took over running the five-and-dime upon the death of her husband, Sidney; Sissy, known as the one with the big boobs who has for twenty years worked at the five-and-dime; and Mona, whose claims to fame are appearing as an extra in the movie and having a son, Jimmy Dean, whose biological father is his namesake. Jimmy, approaching twenty, is mentally slow. Sissy and Mona, along with the club's only male member, Joe, used to pretend to be The McGuire Sisters, complete with Joe in drag. What ends up being the relatively small gathering includes a well-appointed woman who the others do not recognize at first glance. Largely because of her attendance, the gathering becomes not so much a tribute to Dean, but rather a reflection of their lives twenty years ago, and what has happened in their lives because of that time in the intervening twenty years to where they are as people today.