Tagged: Casual

Harrison Ford in American Graffiti

Harrison Ford as Bob Falfa in American Graffiti

Harrison Ford as Bob Falfa in American Graffiti (1973)

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Harrison Ford as Bob Falfa, confident street cruiser

Modesto, California, Summer 1962

Film: American Graffiti
Release Date: August 11, 1973
Director: George Lucas
Costume Designer: Aggie Guerard Rodgers

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy 80th birthday, Harrison Ford! Before his star-making performances as Han Solo and Indiana Jones, one of the Chicago-born actor’s most visible roles was in American Graffiti, George Lucas’ nostalgic coming-of-age comedy set one late summer night in 1962.

American Graffiti primarily centers around four friends and recent high school graduates enjoying one last Saturday night of R&R… rock ‘n roll and road races. Among the four, the ’32 Ford-driving John Milner (Paul Le Mat) is arguably the most prolific racer, called out when one of his fellow hot-rodding friends warns him that “there’s a very wicked ’55 Chevy looking for you.” Continue reading

The Sopranos: Saying Goodbye to Paulie Walnuts

Tony Sirico as "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri in "Made in America", The Sopranos' series finale.

Tony Sirico as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri in “Made in America”, The Sopranos‘ series finale.

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Tony Sirico as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri, mob captain and Army veteran

Kearny, New Jersey, Late Fall 2007

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Made in America” (Episode 6.21)
Air Date: June 10, 2007
Director: David Chase
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This weekend, fans of The Sopranos mourned the death of Tony Sirico, who had played the eccentric gangster “Paulie Walnuts” in addition to appearances in movies like GoodfellasDead Presidents, and Cop Land.

Sirico was born July 29, 1942 in Brooklyn, beginning a colorful life that would be paralleled by his character’s succinct autobiography as shared in a third-season episode:

I was born, grew up, spent a few years in the Army, a few more in the can, and here I am: a half a wise guy.

Continue reading

Raging Bull: De Niro’s Two-Tone Loafer Jacket

Robert De Niro in Raging Bull

Robert De Niro in Raging Bull (1980)

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Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, ambitious middleweight boxing contender

The Bronx, Summer 1941

Film: Raging Bull
Release Date: December 19, 1980
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: John Boxer & Richard Bruno

Background

Today would have been the 100th birthday of Jake LaMotta, the tough middleweight boxer born July 10, 1922 who was cinematically immortalized by Robert De Niro’s Oscar-winning performance in Raging Bull. Now considered one of the best movies ever made, Raging Bull was adapted by Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin from LaMotta’s similarly titled autobiography, inspired by his own nickname “the Bronx Bull”. Continue reading

Two-Lane Blacktop: Warren Oates as GTO

Warren Oates in Two-Lane Blacktop

Warren Oates in Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

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Warren Oates as “GTO”, an otherwise unnamed former TV producer

Arizona through Tennessee, Fall 1970

Film: Two-Lane Blacktop
Release Date: July 7, 1971
Director: Monte Hellman
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

A race for pink slips between a ’55 Chevy and a GTO across a long-gone America when the road was much more than a shopping aisle. Three road hogs and an underage girl riding in back with the tools. The nights are warm and the roads are straight. This one’s built from scratch, and, as Warren Oates says, “Those satisfactions are permanent.” — Tom Waits

“Because there was once a god who walked the earth named Warren Oates,” Richard Linklater included among the sixteen reasons why he loves Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman’s low-buedget 1971 road movie that has become a cult classic.

One of my favorite actors, Oates was born 94 years ago today on July 5, 1928 in Depoy, an unincorporated community in western Kentucky. His craggy features suited him well to early roles as cowboys and criminals, though he rose to more prominent stardom through the ’70s beginning with his co-starring role as the garrulous, tragi-comic motorist who impulsively bets his showroom-bought Pontiac GTO in a cross-country race against James Taylor and Dennis Wilson’s “homegrown” ’55 Chevy in Two-Lane Blacktop. Continue reading

Point Break: Gary Busey’s Wild Shirts

Gary Busey in Point Break

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

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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

Fun in Acapulco: Elvis’ Lido-collar Shirts and Swimwear

Elvis Presley in Fun in Acapulco

Elvis Presley in Fun in Acapulco (1963)

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Elvis Presley as Mike Windgren, expat singer, part-time lifeguard, and former circus performer

Acapulco, Summer 1963

Film: Fun in Acapulco
Release Date: November 27, 1963
Director: Richard Thorpe
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Tailor: Sy Devore

Background

This weekend, I saw Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis chronicling the life of the King of Rock and Roll with Baz’s characteristic splendor. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, most likely due to Austin Butler’s revelatory performance. (I’d need some more dedicated Elvis experts to confirm for me whether or not Colonel Tom Parker actually sounded as much like Goldmember as Tom Hanks’ performance portrayed.)

Elvis addressed the King’s cinematic ambitions, hoping to follow in James Dean’s footsteps but arguably ill-treated by his frequently banal material, as illustrated by the 1963 vehicle Fun in Acapulco. Continue reading

The Thing: Kurt Russell as R.J. MacReady

Kurt Russell as R.J. MacReady in The Thing

Kurt Russell as R.J. MacReady in The Thing (1982)

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Kurt Russell as R.J. MacReady, helicopter pilot

Antarctica, Winter 1982

Film: The Thing
Release Date: June 25, 1982
Director: John Carpenter
Costume Supervisors: Ronald I. Caplan, Trish Keating, and Gilbert Loe

Background

We’re not gettin’ out of here alive… but neither is that thing.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the release of The Thing, which premiered June 25, 1982 and remains the personal favorite of director John Carpenter. Four days ago on June 21, British Antarctic research stations would have observed their Midwinter Day celebration that typically includes watching horror movies about being trapped in the snow such as The Thing and The Shining.

Indeed, the action begins during “first goddamn week of winter” grumbles R.J. MacReady, a grizzled helicopter pilot embedded with an American scientific research crew stationed in Antarctica. The U.S. Outpost 31 crew is baffled by the sudden appearance of a Norwegian gunman shooting at what appears to be a relatively benign wolfdog (Jed). “Maybe we’re at war with Norway,” quips Nauls (T.K. Carter), the cook, who more helpfully offers that “five minutes is enough to put a man over down here” as the team mulls over the gunman’s possible motives.

That night, it’s not the Norwegian who the crew needs to be alarmed about, but instead the curious creature locked up with the dogs. As their canine handler Clark (Richard Masur) warns Mac:

It’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is…

Continue reading

Pulp Fiction: Tim Roth’s Surfer Shirt

Tim Roth in Pulp Fiction (1994)

Tim Roth in Pulp Fiction (1994)

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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

The Sopranos: Tony’s Cookout Camp Shirt and Shorts

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.01)

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.01)

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob chief

North Caldwell, New Jersey, Summer 1998

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “The Sopranos” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: January 10, 1999
Director: David Chase
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Father’s Day today often means cookouts and looking ahead to the start of summer. From its first episode, The Sopranos centered around the two “families” beleaguering Tony Soprano: the network of gangsters comprising the DeMeo crime family and as the suburban dad at the head of his biological family.

On a day celebrating dads and to honor James Gandolfini on the ninth anniversary of his death, let’s revisit the final scenes from the pilot episode as the actor ably balanced both of Tony’s “family” roles during a backyard cookout ostensibly for his son Anthony Jr.’s birthday. Continue reading

Secret Honor: Philip Baker Hall as Nixon

Philip Baker Hall as Richard M. Nixon in Secret Honor

Philip Baker Hall as Richard M. Nixon in Secret Honor (1984)

Vitals

Philip Baker Hall as Richard M. Nixon, disgraced former U.S. President

New Jersey, early 1980s

Film: Secret Honor
Release Date: July 6, 1984
Director: Robert Altman

Background

This week, we learned that the great Philip Baker Hall died at the age of 90. Familiar as a recurring face in Paul Thomas Anderson movies and as the anachronistic, straight-talking “library cop” Bookman on an early Seinfeld episode, Hall’s breakthrough screen performance was reprising his stage role as a disgraced Richard Nixon in Secret Honor.

“You have read in the press the reasons for the Watergate affair. Today, my client is going to reveal to you the reasons behind the reasons,” Hall narrates into a tape recorder as the now-former President Nixon. It was fifty years ago today when five burglars were caught breaking into the DNC headquarters at the Watergate hotel, igniting a political scandal that resulted in the fall of a president and a widespread cynical distrust of American government.

Subtitled “A Political Myth”, Secret Honor was originally a one-man play written by Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone, who adapted their work for Robert Altman’s film of the same name. Avoiding caricature of an easily caricatured man, Hall portrayed Nixon—the only human who ever appears on screen—who spends the film’s hour-and-a-half runtime ranting to the contents of his study, specifically a tape recorder, an increasingly empty bottle of Scotch, a loaded revolver, his mother’s grand piano, and portraits of presidents and significant figures in his life from Henry Kissinger to his own mother. Continue reading