Tagged: Aloha Shirt

Point Break: Gary Busey’s Wild Shirts

Gary Busey in Point Break

Gary Busey as FBI Special Agent Angelo Pappas in Point Break (1991)

Vitals

Gary Busey as Angelo Pappas, beleaguered FBI agent

Los Angeles, Summer 1991

Film: Point Break
Release Date: July 12, 1991
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Costume Supervisors: Colby P. Bart & Louis Infante

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

“When are you gonna write about Gary Busey?”

“Where are your posts about Busey’s style in Point Break?”

“Show us the Busey, you coward!”

These are the kinds of questions and comments I never get, and yet, on the 78th birthday on this most idiosyncratic of actors, I want to take a deep dive—or surf—into the wardrobe of one of Gary Busey’s best-known roles. Continue reading

Pulp Fiction: Tim Roth’s Surfer Shirt

Tim Roth in Pulp Fiction (1994)

Tim Roth in Pulp Fiction (1994)

Vitals

Tim Roth as “Pumpkin”, aka “Ringo”, an otherwise unnamed small-time crook

Los Angeles, Summer 1992

Film: Pulp Fiction
Release Date: October 14, 1994
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Now that it’s summer—and already a hot one!—I’ve started rotating my favorite aloha shirts and tropical prints into my wardrobe. Luckily for me, bright Hawaiian-style resort shirts have been undergoing a wave of revival each summer, perhaps encouraged by Brad Pitt’s now-famous yellow aloha shirt in Quentin Tarantino’s latest, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Style in QT’s early movies typically conjures the well-armed professional criminals in their uniforms of black suits, white shirts, and black ties, but outside of this lethal look, characters in the Tarantino-verse often pulled from the Hawaiian shirts in their closet. The first example would be Harvey Keitel’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it palm-print shirt before taking Tim Roth’s Mr. Orange for tacos in Reservoir Dogs. Two years later, it was Roth himself that would be tropically attired for the next of Tarantino’s defining cinematic works. Continue reading

Sonatine: Ken’s Red Aloha Shirt

Susumu Terajima as Ken in Sonatine

Susumu Terajima as Ken in Sonatine (1993)

Vitals

Susumu Terajima as Ken, laconic yakuza lieutenant

Ishigaki Island, Japan, Summer 1993

Film: Sonatine
(Japanese title: ソナチネ)
Release Date: September 10, 1993
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Costume Design: Junichi Goto & Alen Mikudo

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Takeshi Kitano wrote, directed, edited, and starred in Sonatine, an offbeat yakuza film that blends the genre’s usual violence with elements of black comedy and an almost surreal, dreamlike beauty. Kitano stars as Murakawa, a Tokyo crime boss who has grown increasingly numb as he advances into middle age.

Murakawa and his loyal right-hand man, Ken (Susumu Terajima), are sent to Okinawa with a gang ranging from veteran gangsters to young gunsels like the eager Ryōji (Masanobu Katsumura).

Before any progress can be made in their ostensible mission to mediate and intra-gang conflict, the body count rises after their headquarters are bombed and their number further diminished during a barroom ambush. Murakawa and his fellow survivors—including the increasingly convivial Ken and Ryōji—take refuge on the isolated beaches of Ishigaki Island, where their day-to-day life devolves into a surreally idyllic getaway full of games, gags, and gunplay. Continue reading

Alien: Harry Dean Stanton’s Tropical Shirt as Brett

Harry Dean Stanton as Brett in Alien

Harry Dean Stanton as Brett in Alien (1979)

Vitals

Harry Dean Stanton as Brett, wry engineering technician

Aboard the USCSS Nostromo, June 2122

Film: Alien
Release Date: May 25, 1979
Director: Ridley Scott
Costume Designer: John Mollo

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Alien Day was first celebrated several years ago on April 26, chosen in honor of the moon LV-426 where the crew of USCSS Nostromo first encountered the dangerous xenomorph that proceeded to terrorize and slaughter them as depicted in Ridley Scott’s suspenseful classic Alien.

A masterful blend of sci-fi and horror, Alien boasts an ensemble cast led by Sigourney Weaver as the resourceful warrant officer Ellen Ripley, in addition to Tom Skerritt, Ian Holm, John Hurt, Yaphet Kotto, Veronica Cartwright, and the great Harry Dean Stanton as the junior engineering technician known only as “Brett” (but whose full name was said to be Samuel Elias Brett.) Continue reading

The China Syndrome: Michael Douglas’ Corduroy Jacket and Aloha Shirt

Michael Douglas as Richard Adams in The China Syndrome

Michael Douglas as Richard Adams in The China Syndrome (1979)

Vitals

Michael Douglas as Richard Adams, idealistic TV news cameraman

Outside Los Angeles, Spring 1978

Film: The China Syndrome
Release Date: March 16, 1979
Director: James Bridges
Costume Designer: Donfeld (Donald Lee Feld)

Background

Nearly a decade before he would win an Academy Award as the sharply tailored yet unfathomably unscrupulous financier Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, Michael Douglas starred as the arguably more altruistic cameraman in The China Syndrome. Adapted from an Oscar-nominated original screenplay by Mike Gray, T.S. Cook, and James Bridges—who also directed—this nuclear thriller proved frighteningly prescient less than two weeks after its release when the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania suffered a partial meltdown on March 28, 1979, 43 years ago today. Continue reading

Tony Soprano’s Nautical Vacation Shirt in “Remember When”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos, Episode 6.15: “Remember When”

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

Miami Beach, Fall 2007

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Remember When” (Episode 6.15)
Air Date: April 22, 2007
Director: Phil Abraham
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

Even gangsters get to go on spring break! Of course, being gangsters, Tony Soprano’s trip to Florida with Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico) is less about tequila shots on the beach and more about laying low to avoid the heat after an old murder resurfaces from 1982… but the two wiseguys still get plenty of time to relax in the sun while the remaining arm of the DeMeo crime family scrambles to control any potential damage. Continue reading

Magnum, P.I.: The Purple Calla Lily Aloha Shirt

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum in a promotional shot for Magnum, P.I.

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum in a promotional shot for Magnum, P.I.

Vitals

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, private investigator and former Navy SEAL

Hawaii, early 1980s

Series: Magnum, P.I., seasons 2 through 6
Creator: Donald P. Bellisario & Glen Larson
Costume Supervisor: James Gilmore

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy Aloha Friday! While the tradition of ending the workweek with a Hawaiian shirt dates back to the ’60s, today is a particularly significant Aloha Friday as the third Friday in August is observed as Statehood Day in Hawaii, commemorating Hawaii’s admission to the United States in August 1959.

Servicemen returning from the Pacific after World War II had an early role in introducing the colorful and tropical style of the Hawaiian islands to the continental U.S., aided over the following decades by movies like the Oscar-winning From Here to Eternity and the Elvis vehicle Blue Hawaii, but I would argue that few productions have been as impactful as bringing Aloha style mainstream as Magnum, P.I. Continue reading

Cocktail: Tom Cruise’s Spattered Pink Tropical Shirt

Tom Cruise as Brian Flanagan in Cocktail (1988)

Tom Cruise as Brian Flanagan in Cocktail (1988)

Vitals

Tom Cruise as Brian Flanagan, ambitious tropical bartender

Ocho RIos, Jamaica, Spring 1988

Film: Cocktail
Release Date: July 29, 1988
Director: Roger Donaldson
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick

Background

I will admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Cocktail, but I’ve been in a tropical mood lately so this colorful, super-’80s yarn of bartending and bonking felt like a perfect summertime post in advance of Tom Cruise’s birthday tomorrow.

By all accounts, this winner of two Razzies should have been better, and author Heywood Gould has voiced considerable disappointment that his more serious source novel underwent such commercialization that the end product was primarily a vapid celebration of Tom Cruise using the daiquiri recipe he learned at TGI Friday’s to try to get laid as much as he could.

Continue reading

Six Feet Under: Nathaniel’s Afterlife Aloha Shirt

Richard Jenkins as Nathaniel Fisher Sr. in the Six Feet Under pilot episode

Richard Jenkins as Nathaniel Fisher Sr. in the Six Feet Under pilot episode

Vitals

Richard Jenkins as Nathaniel Fisher, Sr., recently deceased funeral director

Los Angeles, December 2000

Series: Six Feet Under
Episode: “Pilot” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: June 3, 2001
Director: Alan Ball
Creator: Alan Ball
Set Costumer: Josephine Willes

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The pilot episode of Six Feet Under aired 20 years ago today on HBO, introducing viewers to the Fisher family. The first episode begins with the death of the family patriarch, funeral director Nathaniel Fisher.

Continue reading

A Place in the Sun: Montgomery Clift’s Leather Jacket and Aloha Shirt

Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in A Place in the Sun (1951)

Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in A Place in the Sun (1951)

Vitals

Montgomery Clift as George Eastman, dangerously ambitious factory executive

Carthage, Missouri to “Loon Lake”, Spring to Summer 1950

Film: A Place in the Sun
Release Date: August 14, 1951
Director: George Stevens
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

April showers bring May flowers… and hopefully some floral shirts from the back of your closet!

Decades after Ellery J. Chun established his flowery-printed shirts as the signature garb of the Hawaiian islands, aloha shirts went mainstream on the mainland thanks in part to the American servicemen dazzled by the bright colors after being stationed in the Pacific. This postwar boom was felt at home in Hawaii, as Josh Sims wrote in Icons of Men’s Style that “by 1947, employees of Hawaii’s city councils were allowed to wear Hawaiian shirts to work and, in 1948, Aloha Wednesday, a precursor to dress-down Friday was introduced across the islands.”

Aloha style received an added boost from the on-screen advocacy of Montgomery Clift, first as the ambitious George Eastman in A Place in the Sun and then perhaps most famously as the conflicted rifleman at the heart of From Here to Eternity, both performances that earned Monty two of his four Academy Award nominations. Continue reading