"Fargo" the movie turns 10

The movie Fargo
The movie "Fargo" plays outside, projected on the side of a 17-story downtown building.
MPR Photo/Bob Reha

The last hours before the opening of the Fargo Film Festival are always hectic. Margie Bailey, the executive director of the Fargo Theatre seemed to have a phone permanently attached to her ear.

Bailey is the first to acknowledge you won't see any a list movie stars or moguls at the Fargo film festival, nor is it a place where mega deals are made. But Bailey says if you want to see some of the best movies you've never heard of or check out some unique entertainment, this is the place to be.

Marge and Bailey
Margie Bailey, the executive director of the Fargo Theatre, stands next to the statue of Frances McDormand who played Police Chief Marge Gunderson in the movie "Fargo."
MPR Photo/Bob Reha

"We have Gail Knutson who is doing the, "If there were no Lutherans would there be Green Jello?" said Bailey. "So, she will be here. We have the world's most dangerous polka band and we also have the accordion player from the worlds most dangerous polka band."

Bailey says if there is one word that describes the Fargo Film Festival, it's quirky.

"Quite frankly, we here in Fargo are good at quirky, because I think we have a good sense of self. We appreciate our strengths and we understand our weaknesses and we celebrate that," Bailey said.

Bailey admits it doesn't get quirkier than showing a movie on the side of a 17-story building. In keeping with the spirit of the movie, no RSVP was required, but organizers said a YSYB - for "yah sure you betcha," would be appreciated, "doncha know."

Finding a place to watch the film was an adventure. Traffic in downtown Fargo was a little heavier than normal as people turned out early to find a prime place to watch from their car. Kris Puckett and Rich Bateman found a place behind the police station.

"Where they're showing it is kind of strange," Rich offered. "But it's Fargo," Kris concluded.

"This is kind of strange, it's different," Rich said. "It is kind of a strange idea, I'm a little baffled at why they're doing it."

"It's something I've never done before that's for sure," added Kris. "Isn't it the 10th anniversary today that it was released?"

"Where they're showing it is kind of strange," Rich offered. "But it's Fargo," Kris concluded.

Even the weather cooperated. Of course it snowed, it had to this is Fargo. Ira Krinsky and his 11-year-old son Matt were looking for a warm place to watch the movie. Matt had never seen the film, he was excited at the idea of seeing it for the first time.

"It's fun because maybe you get to miss school tomorrow," said Matt.

When the movie was released ten years ago some folks were offended by the way the actors spoke. They felt the accents were over done and made Fargo residents look foolish.

Ira Krinsky says he's not bothered by the accents.

"It does sound a whole lot like my in-laws when I get together at a family function," Krinsky admitted.

Interviewing Marge
MPR's Bob Reha tries for a comment from the only star in attendance (kind of) at the "Fargo" showing. Frances McDormand's likeness in wood is a tribute to her character, Police Chief Marge Gunderson.
MPR Photo/Bob Reha

To hear the film you could tune into one of the local rock stations on your car radio.

Some folks were lucky, they were winners of the station's contest for VIP seating in a fourth floor office facing the screen. Brent Barth, one of the winners, says it's a little different viewing the movie this way.

"If you're sitting outside, you're kind of being with the movie," Barth said. "You know it's snowing right now, (being) a little cold you'd be in tune with the movie better."

Festival organizers were pleased with the event. But they have a problem. What will they do next year to top this?