There is no definitive formula for a cult movie. Often, some aspect of the film just takes on a life of its own. That’s what happened with the 1996 comedy Bottle Rocket, which was the feature debut of the Texas filmmaker Wes Anderson (he won the MTV Movie Award for best new filmmaker that year) and the beginning of the film careers of two other Texans, the Dallas-born Luke and Owen Wilson.
In 2011, another couple of local guys, Andy Carl Valentin and Chris Durbin, tried to book Room 212 at the motel from the movie, where the Wilson brothers’ characters—the laughable, aspiring criminals Anthony and Dignan—hole up after stealing some money from a bookstore. Valentin and Durbin discovered that the place, the former Windmill Inn and now a Days Inn, was in financial distress. So they teamed with the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain to plan and sponsor a benefit screening.
Now in its third year, the “Save the Bottle Rocket Motel & Lovely Soiree” has itself become a cult phenomenon. This year there will be a screening and a pool party at the motel, where guests can stay overnight. Partygoers can leave with gifts including the Criterion Collection DVD of the movie and—new this year—an official Bottle Rocket coloring book.
Days Inn, July 27, 7 p.m., drafthouse.com
On a tour last year of the newly rebuilt Texas governor’s mansion, the first lady, Anita Perry, pointed to the painting of Texas’ fifth governor, Sam Houston, and made it clear that her husband, Governor Rick Perry, was an admirer.
The cues that Perry has taken from Houston may be inferred at “The Honor of Memory: The 150th Anniversary of Sam Houston’s Death and Funeral,” hosted by the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, a sprawling complex with historical homes and various exhibits.
In addition to witnessing a Masonic funeral re-enactment, visitors can see the leopard-skin vest that Houston wore on visits to Washington to honor his childhood spent with the Cherokee.
The Sam Houston Memorial Museum, July 27, 9 a.m., samhoustonmemorialmuseum.com
Michael Nesmith of the Monkees—the tall one with the green knitted cap—has left his imprint all over Texas. He was born in Houston, where he will return Thursday for the reunion tour “A Midsummer’s Night With the Monkees.” He went to Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas, where he performed in musicals. As a military man, he was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls. He attended San Antonio College before leaving for Los Angeles and stardom. Then, a couple of years ago, he visited Austin to officiate at the wedding of Carolyn Wonderland, the blues singer and guitarist, and A. Whitney Brown, the former Saturday Night Live comic.
The Monkees’ tour will bring Nesmith back to both Austin and Dallas, with a hometown Houston gig in between. It’s a multimedia show built on the greatest hits of one of the original prefab boy bands and will include a tribute to Davy Jones, who died in early 2012, with an audience sing-along to “Daydream Believer.”
Arena Theater, Aug. 1, 8 p.m., monkees.com
Golden Oldie Arches
Plenty of great burgers have come along since the state’s first McDonald’s opened, in Austin in 1962, seven years after Ray Kroc opened the chain’s first-ever location in Des Plaines, Illinois. But with the right person at the fryer—someone who is just a touch liberal with the salt—the French fries at McDonald’s are still hard to beat.
Customers can be reminded of that at the grand reopening of the original restaurant, which has been remodeled a couple of times from its initial layout of being a walk-up establishment with no indoor seating. The festivities will last five days, with multiple $1-meal offers. On Tuesday, a mariachi band led by a restaurant employee will play while 99-cent Big Macs are served from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Go all out for your fast-food fix: customers are allowed five each that day.
Capital Plaza, July 30 11 a.m., mctexas.com/424
The national debate over our freedoms is reaching a fever pitch, so citizens would do themselves a favor by becoming better versed in the United States Constitution, which “The Blessings of Liberty,” the Humanities Texas traveling exhibition on display at the Eastland County Museum through Saturday, makes easier to grasp fully.
Eastland County Museum, July 26-27, 10 a.m., eastlandcountymuseum.com
Landowners who don’t want to go far for their breakfast can participate in “Intro to Chickens w/ John Berry,” a free tutorial on the basics for raising backyard chickens, held at a store that sells 100 to 150 chickens per month—some just as pets.
Wabash Antiques & Feed Store, July 27, 1:30 p.m., wabashfeed.com