Robert De Niro as David “Noodles” Aaronson, mob bootlegger and ex-convict
Detroit, Fall 1932
Film: Once Upon a Time in America
Release Date: May 23, 1984
Director: Sergio Leone
Costume Designer: Gabriella Pescucci
After premiering at Cannes in May and undergoing a truncated release stateside that summer, Sergio Leone’s controversial mob saga Once Upon a Time in America was finally released in the Italian-born director’s home country on this day in 1984. Leone’s final film, and the first he had directed in 13 years, Once Upon a Time in America marked the conclusion to his unofficial “Once Upon a Time…” trilogy.
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!
Robert Redford as Hubbell Gardiner, Hollywood screenwriter
Malibu, California, September 1947
Film: The Way We Were
Release Date: October 19, 1973
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Design: Dorothy Jeakins & Moss Mabry
Don’t take any crap…to the both of us… and all the absent friends, class of ’37.
Navy pals-turned-Tinseltown teammates Hubbell (Robert Redford) and J.J. (Bradford Dillman) cynically reflect on the decade since they graduated from college together, one world war and sold-out script later.
Ted Danson as Sam Malone, bartender and former baseball star
Boston, Spring 1983
– “Showdown, Part 2” (Episode 1.22, dir. James Burrows, aired 3/31/1983)
– “Power Play” (Episode 2.01, dir. James Burrows, aired 9/29/1983)
Created by: Glen Charles, Les Charles, and James Burrows
Costume Designer: Robert L. Tanella
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
One of the most pivotal moments in the early seasons of Cheers was Sam and Diane setting “will they or won’t they?” by getting together in the final seconds of the first season finale… then picking up abruptly in the second season premiere with their attempts at coupling that prove the fledgling relationship may already be doomed.
Johnny Depp as Joe Pistone, aka “Donnie Brasco”, undercover FBI agent infiltrating the Mafia
New York City, Fall 1979
Film: Donnie Brasco
Release Date: February 28, 1997
Director: Mike Newell
Costume Designer: Aude Bronson-Howard & David C. Robinson
#MafiaMonday has become something of an occasional tradition for BAMF Style, but there’s no reason why every celebration of mob style needs to feature an actual gangster. Take the case of Joe Pistone, a real-life FBI agent and undercover pioneer whose six years infiltrating the Bonanno family of the New York Mafia was so effective that NYPD investigations and even some FBI files had mistakenly marked the agent as a mob associate named Don Brasco. Pistone was ordered to end his operation in the summer of 1981, despite the agent hoping to at least be “made” and inducted into the ranks of the mob.
Jack Nicholson as Bobby Dupea, aimless oil worker and classical piano prodigy
Puget Sound, Fall to Winter 1970
Film: Five Easy Pieces
Release Date: September 12, 1970
Director: Bob Rafelson
Wardrobe Credit: Bucky Rous
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Bobby Dupea’s homecoming leads to an existential crisis in Five Easy Pieces, one of the many triumphant highlights of Jack Nicholson’s early filmography and the second of his 12 Academy Award-nominated roles.
“When we sense the boy, tormented and insecure, trapped inside the adult man, Five Easy Pieces becomes a masterpiece of heartbreaking intensity,” reviewed Roger Ebert, who rated this four-star film to be his favorite of 1970 and went on to name it “one of the best American films.” Continue reading
Daniel Craig as James Bond, disillusioned British secret agent
Venice, Summer 2006
Film: Casino Royale
Release Date: November 14, 2006
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
I will make no apology for the fact that I think Daniel Craig is the best thing to happen to James Bond since a badass Scotsman first caught the eye of Cubby Broccoli and the Bond producers in 1961. Craig exemplifies what a modern Bond would be: tough but considerate while being slightly arrogant and insecure. He’s got a few quips, but he’s not winking at the camera every five minutes nor is he more focused on staying in bed with his woman-of-the-week while there’s a job to get done.
That being said, I’m a huge fan of the Bond series and will watch any of the movies (maybe not A View to a Kill) any day. I’ve read all the books, blah blah blah… Besides giving Connery his just due, I would argue that Craig IS Bond, at least from the literary standpoint. He may not be what the public wants him to be/thinks he should be, but he delivers Ian Fleming’s original vision to the screen. Continue reading