Tagged: Car Week

Risky Business: Tom Cruise’s Varsity Prep Style and Porsche

Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business

Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business (1983)

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Tom Cruise as Joel Goodson, ambitious high school student

Chicago, Fall 1983

Film: Risky Business
Release Date: August 5, 1983
Director: Paul Brickman
Costume Designer: Robert De Mora

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today is Tom Cruise’s 60th birthday, and the charismatic superstar has proved his staying power with the blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick, currently the highest-grossing movie of 2022 and of Cruise’s prolific career. The original Top Gun had elevated Cruise to stardom, following his breakthrough performance in Paul Brickman’s sharp satire Risky Business.

Though perhaps remembered most—and unfairly dismissed—as a teen sex comedy, Risky Business critically explores the impact of capitalism and consumerism through the lens of our high-achieving high schooler, Joel Goodson, who’s spent these first years of his life knowing nothing other than a relentless drive to succeed. In addition to the professional pressure applied by his parents, Joel also feels both the internal and peer pressure to achieve in the sexual arena, which he satisfies after hiring an escort named Lana (Rebecca De Mornay) after his parents leave him home alone for several weeks.

Joel and Lana’s relationship swiftly evolves from professional to personal… and then a combination of both after his father’s Porsche takes a swim in Lake Michigan while under Joel’s unauthorized care. To bankroll the car’s astronomical repair costs before his parents’ return, Joel tests his own entrepreneurial savvy by joining forces with Lana and turning his family home into a brothel for one night to turn a profit from his rich and horny classmates.

To kick off the first semi-annual #CarWeek series of 2022, let’s take a look at Joel’s all-American varsity style (apropos Cruise’s birthday on the eve of Independence Day) while behind the wheel of that prized Porsche 928. Continue reading

For Your Eyes Only: Bond’s Sheepskin Jacket and New Lotus

Roger Moore as James Bond in For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Roger Moore as a Lotus-driving James Bond in For Your Eyes Only (1981)

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Roger Moore as James Bond, British government agent

Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Spring 1981

Film: For Your Eyes Only
Release Date: June 24, 1981
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

Today’s post extends #CarWeek to close out this year’s 40th anniversary celebration of my favorite of Roger Moore’s Bond movies, For Your Eyes Only, with a wintry look apropos the 00-7th of December as Mr. Bond drives into the ski resort town of Cortina d’Ampezzo behind the wheel of his latest Q-issued Lotus, dressed for warmth in shearling and cashmere.

Following a tip from the Italian secret service, Bond has arrived to interface with MI6’s “man in northern Italy”—Luigi Ferrara (John Moreno)—as he surveils Locque, the mysterious man he had observed paying off Hector Gonzales. Continue reading

Sneakers: Redford’s Varsity Jacket and Karmann Ghia

Robert Redford in Sneakers (1992)

Robert Redford as Martin Bishop, seated in his Karmann Ghia in Sneakers (1992)

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Robert Redford as Martin Bishop (formerly Martin Brice), digital security consultant and fugitive hacker

San Francisco, Fall 1991

Film: Sneakers
Release Date: September 11, 1992
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Costume Designer: Bernie Pollack

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Robert Redford looks like he’s having a great time in Sneakers, Phil Alden Robinson’s 1992 crime comedy about a gang of professional computer hackers. Redford stars as Martin Brice, a digital “sneaker” who has spent more than 20 years on the lam legitimizing his talent to become a security consultant, re-christened Martin Bishop. His background leads to recruitment by two men claiming to work for the NSA, forcing Martin and his team to take on a dubiously legitimate job.

Despite its subject matter, Sneakers never feels excessively dated as it focuses less on the technical aspects of digital hacking and more on the camaraderie among Redford’s motley band, consisting of Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, David Strathairn, River Phoenix, and Mary McDonnell. Redford’s character zips through the City by the Bay in a classic Karmann Ghia convertible, weathered but reliable like the then-56-year-old actor himself. Continue reading

Wild Card: Jason Statham’s Corduroy Car Coat and Ford Torino

Jason Statham as Nick Wild in Wild Card (2015)

Jason Statham as the Ford Torino-driving Nick Wild in Wild Card (2015)

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Jason Statham as Nick Wild, tough security consultant and bodyguard-for-hire

Las Vegas, Christmas 2013

Film: Wild Card
Release Date: January 14, 2015
Director: Simon West
Costume Designer: Lizz Wolf

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Car Week continues into December with a little-discussed action movie that—like The Bourne Identity and Three Days of the Condor—is set during against a Christmas backdrop complete with carols on the soundtrack, though the holiday timing has little impact on the plot. (I don’t include Die Hard in this category because, as many have argued, Christmas is the reason for the whole plot!)

Reviving a role originated by Burt Reynolds in William Goldman’s 1986 movie Heat, Jason Statham plays Nick Wild, a “security consultant” for Las Vegas lawyer Pinchus “Pinky” Zion (Jason Alexander), who makes his daily commute from a seedy motel in a snazzy ’69 Ford Torino. Continue reading

Detour: Tom Neal’s Borrowed Clothes and Borrowed Lincoln

Tom Neal as Al Roberts in Detour (1945)

Tom Neal behind the wheel of a ’41 Lincoln as Al Roberts in Detour (1945)

Vitals

Tom Neal as Al Roberts, hitchhiking nightclub pianist

Across the United States, especially Arizona to California, Spring 1945

Film: Detour
Release Date: November 30, 1945
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Wardrobe Designer: Mona Barry

Background

On the last day of #Noirvember, let’s also kick off #CarWeek with a look at one of the best examples of “road noir” with Detour, the enduring B-movie that saw a limited release 76 years ago today on November 30, 1945, just over two weeks after its initial premiere in Boston.

Martin M. Goldsmith worked with an uncredited Martin Mooney to adapt his own 1939 novel of the same name into a screenplay. Known as “the King of PRC” for his reputation as an efficient director working for the Poverty Row studio Producers Releasing Corporation, the Austrian-born Edgar G. Ulmer filmed Detour in less than a month in the summer of 1945, with a shoestring budget of less than $100,000; for comparison, this was less than 10% of the final budget for that year’s winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, The Lost Weekend. (Perhaps overstating his efficiency, Ulmer would later cite that he made the movie in six days for $20,000.)

Detour was my gateway to film noir, thanks to a multi-pack DVD that I was gifted in high school that included many pulp classics like D.O.A.The HitchhikerQuicksand, and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, many of which—like Detour—were regularly available in budget-friendly home video releases as they had fallen into the public domain. Clocking in at just over an hour, the story may be simple, but it contains all the characteristic noir themes and stock characters, including the femme fatale (and how!) and the wrongly accused man whose questionable ethics and unfortunate circumstances launch him headway into increasingly dangerous circumstances.

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For Your Eyes Only: Bond’s Green Jacket and Melina’s Citroën

Roger Moore as James Bond, flanked by Lizzie Warville, Alison Worth, Viva, Vanya, Kim Mills, and Laila Dean, in For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Roger Moore as James Bond, flanked by Lizzie Warville, Alison Worth, Viva, Vanya, Kim Mills, and Laila Dean, in For Your Eyes Only (1981).
Photo sourced from Thunderballs.org.

Vitals

Roger Moore as James Bond, British government agent

Spain, Spring 1981

Film: For Your Eyes Only
Release Date: June 24, 1981
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

During the 40th anniversary year of For Your Eyes Only, the 00-7th of July feels like the appropriate time to examine the clothes and cars of Mr. Bond himself, after previously exploring the fits of one of his allies and one of his enemies. (This may be a little late for #CarWeek, but isn’t it always a good day for a drive in the country?)

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Sinatra’s Cannonball Run II Cameo

To kick off this year’s summer #CarWeek series (and on #SinatraSaturday, no less), today’s post explores the Chairman and his car as he joins a star-studded cast for a cross-country race in one of the most famous “car movie” series this side of Fast and the Furious.

Frank Sinatra, joined by Burt Reynolds, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Shirley MacLaine on the set of Cannonball Run II (1984)

Frank Sinatra, joined by Burt Reynolds, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Shirley MacLaine on the set of Cannonball Run II (1984)

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Frank Sinatra as himself, entertainment legend

Las Vegas, Summer 1983

Film: Cannonball Run II
Release Date: June 29, 1984
Director: Hal Needham
Costume Design: Kathy O’Rear, Norman Salling, and Don Vargas

Background

Look, we’re all aware that Cannonball Run II isn’t Frank Sinatra’s best movie. (And, let’s face it, even if it was his only movie, it still wouldn’t be his best!) But, after observing the fun that his Rat Pack pallies Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., had in the first installment, FS arranged for a short cameo that would yield him second billing in the cast and a $30,000 payday, which he donated to charity.

According to Hal Needham, three versions of the script were written to accommodate the Chairman of the Board: one that would require one week of work, a second that would require two days, and a third version where Frank would only be needed on the set for one day. Perhaps aware that this wasn’t exactly The Manchurian Candidate, Frank wisely chose the latter option, showing up for his day on screen behind the wheel of his own red Dodge Daytona Turbo Z.

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The Graduate: Ben’s Beige Windbreaker and Alfa Romeo

Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate (1967)

Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate (1967)

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Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock, nervous and aimless college graduate

Los Angeles, Summer to Fall 1967

Film: The Graduate
Release Date: December 22, 1967
Director: Mike Nichols
Costume Designer: Patricia Zipprodt

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Like CasablancaCitizen KaneThelma & Louise, and The Sopranos, I felt like I had seen or heard about the famous ending of The Graduate in depth before actually seeing the movie itself. Given that the iconic movie is over 50 years old, I hope I wouldn’t invite too much ire by discussing its famous ending openly in discussing Benjamin Braddock’s style as he desperately races through southern California in the hopes of halting Elaine Robinson’s wedding to the dreaded Makeout King.

Having recently gotten engaged myself (yay!), it felt appropriate to end this installment of #CarWeek with the cherry red Alfa Romeo that factored so significantly in Benjamin’s life following his graduation, whether it it was on his burlesque-and-burgers date with the bright-eyed Elaine (Katharine Ross), furtive assignations with her mother (Anne Bancroft), or on his gas-guzzling dash to get him to the church on time scored by Simon & Garfunkel’s enduring folk banger “Mrs. Robinson”. Continue reading

The Friends of Eddie Coyle: Jackie Brown’s Gun-Running Road Runner and Rollnecks

Steven Keats as Jackie Brown in The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

Steven Keats as Jackie Brown in The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

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Steven Keats as Jackie Brown, swaggering street-level arms dealer

Boston, Fall 1972

Film: The Friends of Eddie Coyle
Release Date: June 26, 1973
Director: Peter Yates
Costume Designer: Eric Seelig

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

A year after The Godfather introduced the cinematic world to the prestigious “honor among thieves” world of the Corleone crime family, The Friends of Eddie Coyle shined a gritty spotlight on the other side of the criminal spectrum: the unscrupulous robbers, rats, and gun-runners who would just as soon double-cross an erstwhile partner-in-crime if it meant an extra twenty bucks in their pocket.

There are no wood-paneled mansions, dramatic monologues, or swanky long-wheelbase limousines in Eddie Coyle’s world, a polluted Boston where our profane crooks conduct their business in dive bars and out of the trunks of the latest Detroit gas guzzler. At the surprising epicenter of these enterprises sits Eddie “Fingers” Coyle (Robert Mitchum), a long-in-the-tooth three-time loser far more at home warming his favorite saloon stool than helming an ambitious heist.

Enter Jackie Brown, an opportunistic twentysomething arms dealer motoring through the Beantown suburbs in a Plymouth Road Runner, dropping platitudes of “wisdom” about how hard life is to any of the scumbag suppliers or customers who will buy his guns. He prides himself on his caution but doesn’t recognize the irony of touting his illegal wares from his hardly unobtrusive electric green muscle car while boasting about his success to crooks all just one pinch away from spilling the proverbial beans to Boston’s finest.

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Once a Thief: Alain Delon’s Sheepskin Coat and Ford Model A

Alain Delon as Eddie Pedak in Once a Thief (1965)

Alain Delon as Eddie Pedak in Once a Thief (1965)

Vitals

Alain Delon as Eddie Pedak, reformed thief

San Francisco, Spring 1965

Film: Once a Thief
Release Date: September 8, 1965
Director: Ralph Nelson

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

On the last day of #Noirvember (and Alain Delon’s birthday month) and the first day of this winter’s #CarWeek series, it felt like the perfect time to explore Once a Thief, Ralph Nelson’s moody black-and-white crime drama starring Delon as a reformed criminal-turned-family man.

The jazzy opening credits depict a night at Big Al’s, a smoky den laden with drug pushers and beatniks, including author Zekial Marko, whose novel Scratch a Thief provided the movie’s source material. We follow a young man swaddled in sheepskin as he leaves the club and takes the wheel of a vintage “Model A Ford” roadster, which then becomes his getaway car after a swift but deadly closing-time stickup at a liquor store in Chinatown.

We then learn that the car and coat are a trademark of Eddie Pedak, a reformed armed robber making an honest living as a truck driver with his wife Kristine (Ann-Margret) and their daughter. The arrival of Eddie’s criminal brother Walter (Jack Palance), a syndicate hotshot, brings complications in the form of a proposition for one night’s criminal work—the proverbial “one last job”—which Eddie initially refuses, despite the $50,000 payout.

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