Keith Carradine as James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok, legendary gunfighter, gambler, and erstwhile lawman
Deadwood, Summer 1876
Series:Deadwood Episodes: – “Deadwood” (Episode 1.01, dir. Walter Hill, aired 3/21/2004)
– “Deep Water” (Episode 1.02, dir. Davis Guggenheim, aired 3/28/2004)
– “Reconnoitering the Rim” (Episode 1.03, dir. Davis Guggenheim, aired 4/4/2004)
– “Here Was a Man” (Episode 1.04, dir. Alan Taylor, aired 4/11/2004) Creator: David Milch Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Famously killed 145 years ago today holding the “dead man’s hand”, James Butler Hickok was a living Wild West legend by the time his caravan pulled into Deadwood, then a lawless mining camp in the Black Hills of Dakota Territory, during the summer of 1876. Continue reading →
Film:Blow Release Date: April 6, 2001 Director: Ted Demme Costume Designer: Mark Bridges
Blow presents the story of real-life drug smuggler George Jung (1942-2021), presented not unlike Goodfellas: beginning in media res at a crucial turning point in our anti-hero protagonist’s life, reaching back into his childhood, and then following his criminal career over the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s until it descends into a cocaine-fueled nightmare of betrayals and bad hair, all set to a packed soundtrack of hits and deep cuts from the era.
After meeting the adolescent George, raised by an attentive Ray Liotta and a neglectful Rachel Griffiths, we skip ahead to young adulthood as a twentysomething George and his oversized pal Tuna (Ethan Suplee) as they relocate across the country from Massachusetts to Manhattan Beach:
I moved to California in the summer of 1968 with the Tuna. We had $300 and a black TR3. There sure was nothin’ like this back home. It was paradise… and everyone was getting stoned.
Don Cheadle as Buck Swope, porn actor and aspiring electronics store owner
San Fernando Valley, Summer 1977
Film:Boogie Nights Release Date: October 10, 1997 Director: Paul Thomas Anderson Costume Designer: Mark Bridges
In the mood for some midweek summer leisure looks, I was inspired by the parade of ’70s style in Boogie Nights. As with so many period productions set during the disco era, Boogie Nights features plenty of the big collars, flashy jewelry, and polyester we’ve come to associate with that decade, and its focus on the porn industry—despite Jack Horner’s insistence that his “pictures” may be a higher art than the era’s run-of-the-mill smut—takes us through the tackier side of a decade already oft reviled for its sartorial excess.
Among the sprawling ensemble cast, I’ve always enjoyed Don Cheadle’s performance as Buck Swope, the conflicted actor in Horner’s troupe constantly wrangling with his identity. Continue reading →
Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (1955)
Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson, smooth gambler
New York, Spring 1955
Film:Guys and Dolls Release Date: November 3, 1955 Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz Costume Designer: Irene Sharaff
I always found it interesting to watch a method—ahem, that’s Method—actor like Marlon Brando navigating the artificially staged Broadway of Guys and Dolls, the gangland-adjacent musical by Frank Loesser, which had been based on a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows… which had itself been based on several stories by Damon Runyon.
Mel Gibson and Michelle Pfeiffer in Tequila Sunrise (1988)
Mel Gibson as Dale “Mac” McKussic, retired drug dealer
Los Angeles, Summer 1988
Film:Tequila Sunrise Release Date: December 2, 1988 Director: Robert Towne Costume Designer: Julie Weiss
Following his success as a screenwriter—credited and uncredited—on some of the most memorable movies of the ’70s, Robert Towne intended for his sophomore directorial film, Tequila Sunrise, to be something of a spiritual follow-up to Chinatown, which… it isn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I did get some enjoyment out of Tequila Sunrise and there’s no denying that it’s refreshingly original—almost to a questionable degree—but I would argue it’s not even close to the same league as Chinatown, let alone Bonnie & Clyde, The Godfather, The Last Detail, Marathon Man, or the other excellent films that benefited from Towne’s contributions.
Several had recommended Tequila Sunrise to me for its style, and I’ll admit the name intrigued me, so I mentally scheduled to watch it and write about it in time for #NationalTequilaDay, celebrated annually on July 24… so happy National Tequila Day!
Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella in The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) (2013)
Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella, cultured art critic and one-time novelist
Rome, Summer 2012
Film:The Great Beauty (Italian title: La grande bellezza) Release Date: May 21, 2013 Director: Paolo Sorrentino Costume Designer: Daniela Ciancio Tailor: Cesare Attolini
Few images illustrate Gershwin’s celebrated concept of “summertime… and the livin’ is easy” as effectively as the hammock. Fittingly, #NationalHammockDay comes at us in midsummer, celebrated annually on July 22.
Paolo Sorrentino’s magnificent masterpiece La grande bellezza stars Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella, the 65-year-old “king of the high life” whose opulent apartment on Piazza del Colosseo boasts a terrace overlooking the Eternal City. When not hosting his stylish coterie of fellow cultural critics, Jep often takes to the self-suspended hammock positioned on his terrace, drink in hand as he allows his mind to wander while basking under the Roman sun. Continue reading →
As today is my 32nd birthday (a day I share with Ernest Hemingway, Robin Williams, and Cat Stevens, to name a few) I’m going to exercise my blogger’s right to shift direction a bit and focus on… me!
In case my blog about style in the movies didn’t give it away, I’ve always been a fan of movies. While I never harbored dreams of stardom, there had always been a part of me that got a kick out of seeing myself on screen—which my fiancée attributes to my Leo ascendant—and I spent many a weekend in high school cajoling my patient friends into starring in some amateur production of mine, typically a half-baked story driven by gangsters, guns, and Goodwill-purchased suits.
It wasn’t until I entered college that I considered actually being part of an actual production, tossing my proverbial hat into the ring by registering as an extra with a local casting agency that has worked on several major productions filmed in Pittsburgh including The Dark Knight Rises, Jack Reacher, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Just two months into my freshman year at Pitt, the agency announced that extras of all ages would be needed for a day spent filming at Kennywood, the amusement park that had been the setting of many fond memories since early childhood. The park was being transformed back in time two decades for the 1980s-set comedy Adventureland, which would star Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart as college students spending their summer working at an amusement park. Continue reading →
Alexander Skarsgård as Gadi Becker in The Little Drummer Girl (2018). Photo by Jonathan Olley.
Alexander Skarsgård as Gadi Becker, aka “Peter”, mysterious Mossad agent
Naxos, Greece, Spring 1979
Series:The Little Drummer Girl (Episode 1)
Air Date: October 28, 2018
Director: Park Chan-wook Costume Design: Sheena Napier & Steven Noble
Today marks the start of my beach vacation, an annual getaway that finds me clad almost exclusively in tropical-printed or terry cloth shirts as I laze about in the sun and sand with tequila in hand, trying not to think about the hundreds of emails amassing to greet me when I open my inbox exactly one week from now.
And then there are those lucky enough who actually get to do this for a living, particularly the globe-trotting super-spies penned by the likes of Ian Fleming and John le Carré, whose 1983 novel The Little Drummer Girl was recently re-adapted for the screen via a stylish six-part miniseries starring Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgård. Continue reading →
Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 4.13: “Tomorrowland”)
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Madison Avenue ad man
Anaheim, California, October 1965
Series:Mad Men Episode: “Tomorrowland” (Episode 4.13) Air Date: October 17, 2010 Director: Matthew Weiner Creator: Matthew Weiner Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Sixty-six years ago today, Walt Disney introduced the world to “the happiest place on Earth” during a televised press event on July 17, 1955. Disneyland Park opened just one year and a day after construction began in Anaheim, California, and the sprawling theme park remains the only one completed under Disney’s direct supervision.
“Tomorrow can be a wonderful age,” Disney began when unveiling Tomorrowland, one of the nine themed “lands” that Disneyland is comprised of. “The Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of our future.”
While we never actually get to see the Draper family visiting the park during their vacation in Mad Men‘s fourth-season finale, the episode’s title that we’re seeing Don forming the living blueprint for his own future, most significantly by rejecting the smart and nurturing Dr. Faye Miller (Cara Buono) to propose marriage to his bright-eyed young secretary Megan (Jessica Paré). After all, this is the man who prides himself on the fact that his life only moves in one direction: forward. Continue reading →
Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr in X-Men: First Class (2011)
Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr, relentless mutant Nazi hunter to be christened Magneto
Villa Gesell, Argentina, Fall 1962
Film:X-Men: First Class Release Date: June 1, 2011 Director: Matthew Vaughn Costume Designer: Sammy Sheldon
While I’m not traditionally a fan of superhero movies (at least as not as big a fan as some people!), I’ve appreciated how the recent stretch of Marvel movies have stretched across genres in its multi-billion-dollar appeal to varying audiences. For me, it’s been the entries rooted in history—like the MCU’s Captain America: The First Avenger and Fox’s X-Men: First Class, both released in 2011—that have had the most appeal of those I’ve seen. The latter, released ten years ago this summer, had been a subject of multiple requests since BAMF Style’s early years, so I hope I’m not too late in finally paying tribute to a briefly seen but timelessly stylish outfit from this Cold War-set adventure.