‘The Margarita Man’ inspires San Antonio film revival

SAN ANTONIO –  One part tequila, one part lime juice, a splash of Grand Marnier, and fresh limes is how one would describe the perfect margarita.

In Texas, it’s a staple for many that usually leads to a great time.  Your immediate thought might be that you’re either on a beach somewhere or at a Mexican restaurant with family. Or both.

Only this time, the signature cocktail inspired the birth of a coming-of-age film that is packed with top Latino actors and up-and-coming stars.

‘The Margarita Man’ is an upcoming movie that features lead actor and native San Antonian Anthony Guajardo alongside veteran actors Danny Trejo, Pepe Serna, Barry Corbin, and Jesse Borrego among others. Musicians Sebastien De La Cruz and Carlton Zeus also play a role in the film.

Director Daniel Ramos describes the movie as a throwback to the 80s teen comedies mixed with the modern-day college comedy ala National Lampoon’s Van Wilder. Shot entirely in San Antonio,  the film features a young college student who takes college partying to the next level and is suddenly getting cut off financially by his father.

So what does he do? Become a margarita man. The term ‘margarita man’ is one that originated from the early 80s, originally starting as a service that was common among college campuses where individuals could hire a margarita man to deliver a margarita machine and set it up for consumption.

The film is largely inspired by Ramos’s own brother Miguel, who he himself was a margarita man in the 80s. So you could say it is based on true events.

“My brother Miguel would deliver the machines to parties. Some of the girls would want him to stick around for the party. Then the guys at the party would get mad that Miguel was there. He went to a lot of crazy parties,” Ramos said.

As he was telling this story, I reached over to my own margarita took a sip and was intrigued. We were at a late dinner at Papasito’s Cantina with Tejano Rapper Carlton Zeus who has a surprise cameo in the film along with his hit song ‘Pa’riba’ being featured in the film.

I could tell Daniel was a storyteller because he kept talking and I was listening, I just couldn’t believe that I was sitting across from this director who was able to pull off such a cool sounding film with top-talent and also keep it in San Antonio. That was something that caught my attention.

We all know that the people of San Antonio love the Alamo City, so I know they’ll find it as exciting as I do that the movie is entirely shot in town.

“As an independent filmmaker, I was ready for it. There were no surprises, I knew what I was getting into, and I knew how to control it. I knew how to observe it. I’ve been in the industry for 30 years now and I’m in my 50s. All I had to do was get everyone in my circle on the same page about the film,” Ramos continued.

Ramos mentioned that he was also inspired by classic John Hughes films such as Sixteen Candles and Breakfast Club. Of course, my thought at that point was, those films all had good music, they set the tone for a lot of the great scenes in those films. Naturally, I asked about his musical choices for the film.

“We’re still trying to dial it in. The music I knew had to be Texas-themed. The setting takes place in Texas, right here in San Antonio. It’s a college situation. He [Zeus]plays in all venues and even played the stage for the Final Four. So he’s already in that category of performing that I was interested in,” said Ramos.

I was curious how he was able to get such top Latino talent involved in the film. Veteran actor Pepe Serna plays the grandfather in the film with Jesse Borrego taking the role as the father of lead actor Anthony Guajardo.

Usually, we’re so used to seeing Danny Trejo portraying a very tough, gritty, and serious actor who rips his enemies to shred with large knives. This time without the machete in hand, he plays the mean dean of the college where our lead just so happens to go.

When asked about connecting all the top talent including Serna, Ramos said, “One of the producers Aaron Lee Lopez already worked with Pepe before on a film called Gino’s Wife. I had a sound guy named Brandon Olmos who is Edward James Olmos’s son. It just worked out.”

There you have it.

The film is slated to release later this year and is at the top of my list of movies to see for the year. Who isn’t excited for a film that is shot in San Antonio and also features top talent. On top of that, who isn’t excited about a film that its mainstay is a margarita.

Win-win. Time for another round.

This story was originally published for News 4 San Antonio.