David Duchovny as Hank Moody, womanizing novelist and screenwriter
Santa Monica, Spring 2012
Episode: “The Ride-Along” (Episode 5.05)
Air Date: February 5, 2012
Director: Millicent Shelton
Costume Designer: Peggy A. Schnitzer
Two years before Ice Cube and Kevin Hart took their seats in a police car, Hank Moody joined unstable rapper Samurai Apocalypse (RZA) for an Santa Monica PD ride-along to prep for Sam’s new movie, Santa Monica Cop.
Writing a movie called Santa Monica Cop (no, it’s not supposed to be a very original concept) is an unexpected scenario for Californication‘s cynical, hard-drinking protagonist, but even more unexpected is the setting for the episode’s cold open: an L.A. gun range. Continue reading
Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes, private investigator and ex-policeman
Los Angeles, September 1937
Release Date: June 20, 1974
Director: Roman Polanski
Costume Designer: Anthea Sylbert
J.J. Gittes begins his final day investigating the Mulwray case in Chinatown with his usual cheekiness, even when surprised by walking into a murder scene. He trades barbs with increasingly suspicious detectives, including the pugnacious Detective Loach (Richard Bakalyan) who inquires about Gittes’ sliced-up nose; Edward Norton’s character in Rounders would pay homage to Gittes’ response of “Your wife got excited. She crossed her legs a little too quick.”
But Gittes’ good humor wears off by the end, following a series of misadventures – mostly at gunpoint – involving sisters, daughters, and a shot-out eyeball. As his assistant Walsh (Joe Mantell) sagely – and now famously – advises him:
Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.
John Travolta as Vincent Vega, laidback mob hitman and self-described “Elvis man”
Los Angeles, Summer 1992
Film: Pulp Fiction
Release Date: October 14, 1994
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann
With Halloween around the corner, I’m revisiting one of my favorite Halloween costumes: Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction. It’s a great chance for a couple’s costume, whether your significant other is a Mia or a Jules.
Pulp Fiction‘s colorful, sprawling cast of characters and famously non-linear timeline makes Vincent an even more interesting character when you realize that he is the only one to appear in each segment of the film. The role marked a rejuvenation for John Travolta, whose career had gone stagnant during the ’80s with the only real commercial success coming from Look Who’s Talking. Established and rising actors including Alec Baldwin, Daniel Day-Lewis, James Gandolfini, Andy Garcia, Michael Keaton (aw!), Gary Oldman, Jason Patric, Sean Penn, Tim Roth, and Denzel Washington had all been either interested in or considered for the role, and even Michael Madsen would go on to regret not reprising his Vega brother role when offered.
Vincent Vega was the laidback yin to Jules Winnfield’s fired-up yang. While Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) would intimidate a target with his fire-and-brimstone brand of furious anger, Vincent would merely slump against a wall, puffing one of his hand-rolled cigarettes and debating whether or not to voice a situational complaint of his own. It might have been his easy temperament that led Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) to tap Vincent as the henchman-of-choice to entertain his wife Mia (Uma Thurman) when Marsellus was called out of town. Continue reading
Lee Marvin as Walker, revenge-driven armed robber
San Francisco, Summer 1967
Film: Point Blank
Release Date: August 30, 1967
Director: John Boorman
Costume Designer: Margo Weintz
Responding to another request from BAMF Style commenter Ryan Hall, this post looks at Lee Marvin’s wardrobe in 1967’s Point Blank, the first cinematic adaptation of Donald E. Westlake’s crime novel The Hunter. The book became the first in the long-running Parker series penned by Westlake (as “Richard Stark”) that led to a total of 23 books before Westlake’s death in 2008.
At this point in the film, Walker (the film’s re-named version of Parker) is edging closer to getting his $93,000 back. Together with his sister-in-law Chris (Angie Dickinson), Walker heads to the home of syndicate boss Brewster (a pre-All in the Family Carroll O’Connor) to move the endgame into place. Continue reading
Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe, archetypal hard-boiled private detective
Los Angeles, Fall 1945
Film: The Big Sleep
Release Date: August 23, 1946
Director: Howard Hawks
Wardrobe Credit: Leah Rhodes
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is a pretty special day for me, and I’d like to celebrate the woman who is the Bacall to my Bogie by reflecting on The Big Sleep, which was originally released in theaters 70 years ago tomorrow, eight days after its premiere on August 23, 1946.
The Big Sleep was the second of four films starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The had originally met while filming her cinematic debut, To Have and Have Not, which was released on October 11, 1944, the very day after production began on The Big Sleep. (To Have and Have Not is also the first movie that my girlfriend and I watched together!) Continue reading
Warren Beatty as Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, “celebrity” gangster and casino builder
Las Vegas to L.A., August 1946
Release Date: December 13, 1991
Director: Barry Levinson
Costume Designer: Albert Wolsky
The second warm-weather Mafia Monday in a row transports us from the glamour of 1950s Miami to the barrenness of the post-war Mojave Desert.
Bugsy Siegel has been dealing with a lot of professional issues. Construction of his “oasis in the desert” – the Flamingo Hotel and Casino – is going way over budget, and he’s just been arrested for the murder of his old pal Harry “Big Greenie” Greenberg (Elliott Gould). What’s a volatile celebrity mobster to do? Continue reading
Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, Vegas casino executive and mob associate
Los Angeles, Summer 1974
Release Date: November 22, 1995
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Rita Ryack & John A. Dunn
As the weather is warming up here in the Northern Hemisphere, folks are swapping out the heavy flannel in their closets for linen and planning their trips to sunny locales.
Sam “Ace” Rothstein and his new wife Ginger touched down in L.A. after their ill-advised wedding in Casino although it was technically more of a business trip than a vacation. This outfit, one of Ace’s loudest in the movie (and that’s saying something), is shocking in that it’s what he wears for banking… of course, when you show up with a few million dollars in cash and jewels to deposit, I would imagine no banker would judge. Continue reading