Tagged: 1990s

The Big Lebowski – The Dude’s Kaoru Betto T-shirt

Jeff Bridges as "The Dude" in The Big Lebowski (1998)

Jeff Bridges as “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski (1998)

Vitals

Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, laidback stoner and bowler

Los Angeles, Fall 1991

Film: The Big Lebowski
Release Date: March 6, 1998
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today would have been the 100th birthday of Japanese baseball star Kaoru Betto who, despite his talents as one of the league’s earliest power hitters, may be most recognizable to many as his likeness graces the front of Jeff Bridges’ T-shirts in Cold Feet (1989), The Fisher King (1991), and most famously in The Big Lebowski (1998).

Born in Nishinomiya on August 23, 1920, Kaoru Betto made his Nippon Professional Baseball debut as an outfielder for the Ōsaka Tigers (now the Hanshin Tigers) in 1948. After two years with the Tigers, Betto moved to play for the Mainichi Orions (now the Chiba Lotte Marines) for the team’s inaugural season in 1950. Having attained a .335 batting average and 43 home runs during that first season with the Orions and leading them to victory in the first Japan Series, Betto was awarded the Pacific League’s first NPB Most Valuable Player. Betto finished playing after the 1957 season, focusing solely on managing. “The Gentleman of Baseball” died on April 16, 1999, a year after The Big Lebowski was released.

Kaoru Betto, playing for the Ōsaka Tigers in the late 1940s.

Kaoru Betto, playing for the Ōsaka Tigers in the late 1940s.

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Tony Soprano’s Chevron-Patterned Polo in “College”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.05: "College")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.05: “College”)

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New England, Fall 1999

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes:
– “College” (Episode 1.05, dir. Allen Coulter, aired 2/7/1999)
– “Nobody Knows Anything” (Episode 1.11, dir. Henry J. Bronchtein, aired 3/21/1999)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

No man can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.

So preaches Hawthorne, seemingly speaking directly to Tony Soprano, in the denouement of the classic episode “College” (Episode 1.05) from the first season. Positioned as Bowdoin College’s most famous alum as Tony brings his daughter Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) to visit the campus, Nathaniel Hawthorne also acts as a moral anchor to our protagonist after an unprecedented act of violence.

The fall 2020 semester will be a surreal experience for many returning to school across the United States as colleges adapt to remote learning or limited exposure in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, making the expected “back-to-school” keggers and social functions a relic of a not-so-distant past.

More than twenty years ago, audiences joined Meadow for her own surreal college experiences with a university tour with her father reveals more about him to her—and to the audience—than one would expect of the canned campus orientation. On August 22, the date established in-universe as Tony Soprano’s birthday (and creator David Chase’s actual birthday), let’s take a closer look at these pivotal scenes from the series’ first season. Continue reading

Ben Gazzara as Jackie Treehorn in The Big Lebowski

Ben Gazzara as Jackie Treehorn in The Big Lebowski (1998)

Ben Gazzara as Jackie Treehorn in The Big Lebowski (1998)

Vitals

Ben Gazzara as Jackie Treehorn, smooth pornography mogul

Malibu, California, Fall 1991

Film: The Big Lebowski
Release Date: March 6, 1998
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres

Background

Jeff Bridges’ slacker at the heart of The Big Lebowski may not rank in the pantheon of style icons like Grant, McQueen, Newman, or Poitier oft cited in discussions of the best movie menswear, but Mary Zophres’ costume design in this cult classic from the Coen brothers is an exemplar in the power of using costume to establish character.

In addition to the Dude in his hoodies, shorts, and jelly sandals (as well as that cowichan cardigan!), we have the aggressive survivalist Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) whose gonzo-esque yellow-tinted aviators, fishing vest, and combat boots suggest that he’s the type of guy to keep a loaded .45 in his bowling bag even before he draws it. Bowling-obsessed Donny (Steve Buscemi) has an array of bowling shirts in every color to suit his favorite sport, super-assistant Brandt (Philip Seymour Hoffman) looks the part in his off-the-peg Brooks Brothers, and the millionaire Lebowski (David Huddleston)—ahem, the Big Lebowski—dresses to achieve in his business suits by day and opulent smoking jackets by night. Also worthy of mention is the tight purple jumpsuit worn by Jesus Quintana (John Turturro), which tells and unfortunately shows all we may have guessed about the convicted pederast.

While most of these characters are introduced as we meet them, powerful porn producer Jackie Treehorn stands out as an exception, receiving a degree of in-universe mythology as the enigmatic center who may hold the key to the film’s mysterious MacGuffin. As a result, we may already have a sense of what we expect Jackie to look like by the time Ben Gazzara steps from the shadows to greet the Dude at his Malibu beach party. Continue reading

Jurassic Park: Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm

Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park (1993)

Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park (1993)

Vitals

Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, “rock star” chaos theorist

“Isla Nublar”, 120 miles west of Costa Rica, Summer 1993

Film: Jurassic Park
Release Date: June 11, 1993
Director: Steven Spielburg
Costumes: Mitchell Ray Kenney, Sue Moore, Kelly Porter, and Eric H. Sandberg

Background

International Dinosaur Day is celebrated twice a year, always on June 1st but also the third Tuesday in May, making today—May 19, 2020—the first observance of Dinosaur Day for the year. Why the chaotic timing?

The answer to questions like that may rest with a chaos theorist like Dr. Ian Malcolm, the swaggering, skeptical, and somewhat frantic mathematician portrayed by Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, adapted from Michael Crichton’s novel.

“I bring the scientists, you bring a rock star,” the park’s exuberant founder John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) comments upon the first impressions that Dr. Malcolm makes on Hammond’s distinguished guests from the scientific community, Drs. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern).

“You’ll have to get used to Dr. Malcolm, he suffers from a deplorable excessive personality… especially for a mathematician,” Hammond adds. “Chaotician,” Ian corrects.

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Pam Grier’s Black Suit in Jackie Brown

Pam Grier as Jackie Brown in Jackie Brown (1997)

Pam Grier as Jackie Brown in Jackie Brown (1997)
(Note that this shot is a mirror image in the film, so I flipped to reflect how Jackie actually looked in this scene.)

Vitals

Pam Grier as Jackie Brown, flight attendant and money courier

Los Angeles, Summer 1995

Film: Jackie Brown
Release Date: December 25, 1997
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Mary Claire Hannan

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today marks a BAMF Style first, focusing on a badass woman from the movies: Pam Grier as the eponymous lead in Jackie Brown, adapted by Quentin Tarantino from Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch. QT had long been a fan of Grier—and rightly so!—including a reference to her in his debut feature, Reservoir Dogs (1992). He had hoped to secure a role for her in Pulp Fiction (1994) until he realized that the actress’ strong presence would make it difficult for audiences to accept Eric Stoltz yelling at her on screen.

After Tarantino and Roger Avary acquired the film rights to three of Elmore Leonard’s novels, the director reportedly “fell in love” with Rum Punch, selecting that as his next feature. In the hopes of hiring Grier for the lead, he changed the character from the white Jackie Burke to the black Jackie Brown, her new surname alluding to Pam Grier’s famous role in Foxy Brown (1974). This character modification wasn’t Tarantino’s only homage to Grier’s career, as the soundtrack also included pieces from Roy Ayers’ original score for Coffy, the blaxploitation classic that provided Grier with her star-making role upon its release 47 years ago on May 13, 1973. Continue reading

The Big Lebowski – The Dude’s Green Hoodie and Shorts

Jeff Bridges as "The Dude" in The Big Lebowski (1998)

Jeff Bridges as “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski (1998)

Vitals

Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, laidback stoner and bowler

Los Angeles, Fall 1991

Film: The Big Lebowski
Release Date: March 6, 1998
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not “Mr. Lebowski”. You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.

Having already established their appreciation for film noir and detective pulp with earlier movies like Blood Simple and Miller’s Crossing, the Coen brothers spun their fandom in a new direction with The Big Lebowski, a cult classic that riffs on the likes of Raymond Chandler, particularly his complex novel The Big Sleep. Rather than a quick-witted and snarky detective chain-smoking decks of unfiltered Camels in between shots of whiskey, Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski is a simple, good-natured slacker who chooses to bowl his way through life at a glacial pace fueled by weed and White Russians.

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Scent of a Woman: Al Pacino’s Glenurquhart Plaid Suit

Al Pacino tangos with Gabrielle Anwar in Scent of a Woman (1992)

Al Pacino tangos with Gabrielle Anwar in Scent of a Woman (1992)

Vitals

Al Pacino as Frank Slade, blind and bitter retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel “who likes to spit in everybody’s eye”

New York City, Thanksgiving 1992

Film: Scent of a Woman
Release Date: December 23, 1992
Director: Martin Brest
Costume Designer: Aude Bronson-Howard
Tailor: Martin Greenfield

Background

On the eve of Thanksgiving, today seemed like a fitting occasion to address one of the most requested suits I’ve heard from readers: Al Pacino’s freshly tailored Glenurquhart check three-piece suit as the cantankerous Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman. Pacino turned in a landmark performance in his prolific career, winning his sole Academy Award after six nominations (with one additional nod the same year for Glengarry Glen Ross), a result of the intense method actor’s painstaking research in meeting with clients of New York’s Associated Blind to understand life—from mood to mobility—as a person without sight.

After 26 years in the Army, a nearly blind Frank “Don’t Call Me ‘Sir'” Slade spends his days sitting in the darkened corner of his modest home, filling lowball glasses to the brim with Jack Daniel’s, berating his family, and spitting anger at anyone brave enough to visit him, including Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell), the mild-mannered prep school student hired by Frank’s niece Karen to take care of her uncle through Thanksgiving weekend. Continue reading

True Detective – Rust Cohle’s Navy Corduroy Jacket

Matthew McConaughey as Rustin "Rust" Cohle on True Detective (Episode 1.02: "Seeing Things")

Matthew McConaughey as Rustin “Rust” Cohle on HBO’s True Detective (Episode 1.02: “Seeing Things”)

Vitals

Matthew McConaughey as Rustin “Rust” Cohle, nihilistic Louisiana State Police homicide detective

Louisiana, January 1995

Series: True Detective
Episodes:
– “The Long Bright Dark” (Episode 1.01, aired 1/12/2014)
– “Seeing Things” (Episode 1.02, aired 1/19/2014)
– “The Locked Room” (Episode 1.03, aired 1/26/2014)
– “Who Goes There” (Episode 1.04, aired 2/9/2014)
– “The Secret Fate of All Life” (Episode 1.05, aired 2/16/2014)
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Creator: Nic Pizzolatto
Costume Designer: Jenny Eagan

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Time may or may not be a flat circle, but birthdays come around every year and today is Matthew McConaughey’s 50th!

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Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Captain Marvel

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Captain Marvel (2019)

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Captain Marvel (2019)
Photo credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

Vitals

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, “full-bird colonel turned spy turned S.H.I.E.L.D. agent”

Rosamond, California, to Louisiana, June 1995

Film: Captain Marvel
Release Date: February 27, 2019
Directed by: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Costume Designer: Sanja Milkovic Hays

Background

Carol Danvers: Nicholas Joseph Fury… you have three names?
Nick Fury: Everybody calls me Fury. Not Nicholas. Not Joseph. Not Nick. Just Fury.
Carol Danvers: What does your mom call you?
Nick Fury: Fury.
Carol Danvers: What do you call her?
Nick Fury: Fury.
Carol Danvers: What about your kids?
Nick Fury: If I have them? They’ll call me Fury.

The 21st film released by Marvel Studios for the Marvel Cinematic Universe spends more time with Nick Fury than previous entries, giving us an ostensible origin story for the black-clad badass who’s been at the core of the MCU since his first appearance in the post-credits scene of Iron Man. As Captain Marvel is set in 1995, decades before the primary action of the MCU, Samuel L. Jackson was digitally de-aged to portray the character, then seen as a much lower-level agent in the S.H.I.E.L.D. bureaucracy and—perhaps most surprising—with both of his eyes intact. Continue reading

The Sopranos: Tony’s Blue Streak Credits Shirt

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.06: "Pax Soprana")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.06: “Pax Soprana”)

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob chief

New Jersey, Fall 1999

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes:
– “46 Long” (Episode 1.02, dir. Dan Attias, aired 1/17/1999)
– “Pax Soprana” (Episode 1.06, dir. Alan Taylor, aired 2/14/1999)
– “Nobody Knows Anything” (Episode 1.11, dir. Henry J. Bronchtein, aired 3/21/1999)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

As this year is the 20th anniversary of The Sopranos‘ groundbreaking debut season, I’ve been dedicating more BAMF Style posts than usual this year to the acclaimed HBO mob drama.

On what would have been series star James Gandolfini’s 58th birthday, let’s follow the journey that Tony Soprano made during each episode’s opening credits, emerging from the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel and snaking his Chevy Suburban through the Jersey turnpike, the suburbs of Newark, and finally his North Caldwell mansion, all to the thumping sound of A3’s “Woke Up This Morning”. Continue reading