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!
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.
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne/David Webb, amnesiac ex-CIA assassin
Athens, Berlin, London, and Las Vegas, Fall 2015
Film: Jason Bourne
Release Date: July 11, 2016
Director: Paul Greengrass
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy 50th birthday, Matt Damon! Nearly 15 years after the actor first kicked cinematic ass as the amnesiac assassin, Damon again stepped into Jason Bourne’s globe-trotting boots for one more installment of the spy franchise extolled for its relative realism, intriguing narrative, and expertly choreographed fight scenes.
I remember… I remember everything.
Tony Sirico as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri, mob captain and Army veteran
New Jersey, early 2000s
Series: The Sopranos
– “From Where to Eternity” (Episode 2.09, dir. Henry J. Bronchtein, aired 3/12/2000)
– “Second Opinion” (Episode 3.07, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired 4/8/2001)
– “…To Save Us All from Satan’s Power” (Episode 3.10, dir. Jack Bender, aired 4/29/2001)
– “Army of One” (Episode 3.13, dir. John Patterson, aired 5/20/2001)
– “Mergers and Acquisitions” (Episode 4.08, dir. Dan Attias, aired 11/3/2002)
– “Whoever Did This” (Episode 4.09, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired 11/10/2002)
– “Where’s Johnny?” (Episode 5.03, dir. John Patterson, aired 3/21/2004)
– “The Ride” (Episode 6.09, dir. Alan Taylor, aired 5/7/2006)
– “Made in America” (Episode 6.21, dir. David Chase, aired 6/10/2007)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
Heh, heh… happy #MafiaMonday, folks. In response to a request I received from a BAMF Style reader, today’s subject would be particularly recognizable for fans of The Sopranos as a sartorial signature from the wardrobe of the singular Paulie Walnuts.
Alain Delon as Francis Verlot, swaggering small-time thief
Paris, September 1960
Film: Any Number Can Win
(French title: Mélodie en sous-sol)
Release Date: April 3, 1963
Director: Henri Verneuil
Any Number Can Win was adapted from Zekial Marko’s 1959 novel The Big Grab, the first of the author’s crime stories that would be adapted to films starring Alain Delon. Marko himself would adapt his novel Scratch a Thief into Once a Thief (1965), starring Delon, Ann-Margret, and Van Heflin.
Considered one of the best and certainly among the most stylish movies of the early 1960s, the ice-cool Any Number Can Win—released in France as Mélodie en sous-sol—begins with recently released ex-con Charles (Jean Gabin) searching for a new partner to help him with his ambitious heist. “I have a kid who just might jut cut it… I hope I don’t find him good for scrap.”
We then cut to what looks like a messy bachelor pad, where a young man is sprawled out on his bed, snapping his fingers to the jazz on his record player. He’s already dressed for larceny in his leather jacket, a dinner plate doubling as an ashtray—crowded with spent Gitanes and shelved on a pile of books—not far from his reach. Pulling back, we reveal that the “bachelor pad” is merely a corner of the family apartment that the young man shares with his reasonably concerned mother, whose shout from the kitchen leaps him to attention… revealing the one and only Alain Delon!
Michael Douglas as Nick Conklin, loose cannon NYPD detective
Osaka, Japan, Winter 1988
Film: Black Rain
Release Date: September 22, 1989
Director: Ridley Scott
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy birthday, Michael Douglas! To commemorate the 76th birthday of this acclaimed actor and producer, I’m addressing a request I received from BAMF Style reader Ryan to take a look at Douglas’ wardrobe in Black Rain as loose cannon cop Nick Conklin.
Cary Grant as Geoff Carter, regional airline manager and pilot
South America, Spring 1939
Film: Only Angels Have Wings
Release Date: May 15, 1939
Director: Howard Hawks
Costume Designer: Robert Kalloch
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Calling Barranca, calling Barranca…
Set in the fictional “port of call for the South American banana boats”, Only Angels Have Wings begins with the arrival of Bonnie Lee (Jean Arthur), a Brooklyn musician who soon catches the eye of two American aviators, Joe (Noah Beery Jr.) and Les (Allyn Joslyn). While the daredevil duo gambles for the opportunity to take Bonnie to dinner, Cary Grant makes his swaggering introduction as Geoff Carter, a fellow pilot and manager of a regional mail carrier flying regular routes over the treacherous Andes Mountains.
Desi Arnaz as Nicky Collini, civil engineer
Northern California, Late Summer 1953
Film: The Long, Long Trailer
Release Date: February 18, 1954
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Costume Designer: Helen Rose
As this year’s summer travel season in the U.S. looks to be more centered around road trips in response to the coronavirus pandemic, RV rentals and purchases have been surging at an unprecedented rate that recalls the heyday of “the great American road trip” as depicted in The Long, Long Trailer. Adapted from Clinton Twiss’ novel of the same name, this Lucy and Desi vehicle zaps into the wanderlust zeitgeist that captured the imagination of Americans during the fabulous fifties as everyone from Harry Truman to Jack Kerouac hit the newly expanded network of highways and byways as they explored the continental United States.
Were I transported back to the 1950s with the mission of taking in the country from the road, I’d likely be piloting a ’57 Chevy Nomad with a Super Turbo Fire V8 across Route 66 from Missouri to California, though it’s solely this latter state that hosts newlyweds Nicky and Tacy Collini as they plot their new nomadic life in a homey silver-and-yellow Redman New Moon hauled up the coast by a cream-colored Mercury convertible.
Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, washed-up TV actor
Los Angeles, February 1969
Film: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Release Date: July 26, 2019
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Arianne Phillips
Years after his glory days on the Western serial Bounty Law, proto-cowboy actor Rick Dalton fears that he’s “a has-been” as he’s relegated to dwindling, often villainous roles in Westerns and crime shows. Each one presents the opportunity to either impress audiences or remind them that he isn’t the star that he once was, so it’s with considerable apprehension—and a killer hangover—that he’s driven to the set of Lancer to film his walk-on role as the sinister Caleb DeCoteau opposite James Stacy (Timothy Olyphant).
“You’re Rick fuckin’ Dalton… and don’t you forget it,” encourages his stunt double and best friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), calling out from the cockpit of Rick’s Cadillac as the actor makes his wheezing walk onto the set. Rick is met by the gregarious Sam Wanamaker (Nicholas Hammond), the Chicago-born actor and director who had indeed directed the Lancer pilot, “The High Riders”. In yet another touch of QT’s revisionist history, this episode aired in September 1968, six months before this movie depicts it being filmed on Sunday, February 9, 1969. Continue reading
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
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.
Daniel Craig as Tuvia Bielski, Polish resistance leader
Belarus, August 1941 through April 1942
Release Date: December 31, 2008
Director: Edward Zwick
Costume Designer: Jenny Beavan
Daniel Craig’s fifth and final movie as James Bond, No Time to Die, was originally scheduled for release in the U.K. today. Last month, MGM and Eon Productions announced that they were pushing the release to November in response to concerns related to the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. While the postponement may have defied the wishes of Bond fans (see where I’m going with this?), there’s still plenty of Craig’s filmography out there to stream, including the 2008 war film Defiance.