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!
Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella, cultured art critic and one-time novelist
Rome, Summer 2012
Film: The Great Beauty
(Italian title: La grande bellezza)
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Costume Designer: Daniela Ciancio
Tailor: Cesare Attolini
Few images illustrate Gershwin’s celebrated concept of “summertime… and the livin’ is easy” as effectively as the hammock. Fittingly, #NationalHammockDay comes at us in midsummer, celebrated annually on July 22.
Paolo Sorrentino’s magnificent masterpiece La grande bellezza stars Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella, the 65-year-old “king of the high life” whose opulent apartment on Piazza del Colosseo boasts a terrace overlooking the Eternal City. When not hosting his stylish coterie of fellow cultural critics, Jep often takes to the self-suspended hammock positioned on his terrace, drink in hand as he allows his mind to wander while basking under the Roman sun. Continue reading
Me, evidently a fan of amusement parks
Pittsburgh, Summer 1987
Release Date: April 3, 2009
Director: Greg Mottola
Costume Designer: Melissa Toth
As today is my 32nd birthday (a day I share with Ernest Hemingway, Robin Williams, and Cat Stevens, to name a few) I’m going to exercise my blogger’s right to shift direction a bit and focus on… me!
In case my blog about style in the movies didn’t give it away, I’ve always been a fan of movies. While I never harbored dreams of stardom, there had always been a part of me that got a kick out of seeing myself on screen—which my fiancée attributes to my Leo ascendant—and I spent many a weekend in high school cajoling my patient friends into starring in some amateur production of mine, typically a half-baked story driven by gangsters, guns, and Goodwill-purchased suits.
It wasn’t until I entered college that I considered actually being part of an actual production, tossing my proverbial hat into the ring by registering as an extra with a local casting agency that has worked on several major productions filmed in Pittsburgh including The Dark Knight Rises, Jack Reacher, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Just two months into my freshman year at Pitt, the agency announced that extras of all ages would be needed for a day spent filming at Kennywood, the amusement park that had been the setting of many fond memories since early childhood. The park was being transformed back in time two decades for the 1980s-set comedy Adventureland, which would star Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart as college students spending their summer working at an amusement park. Continue reading
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Madison Avenue ad man
Anaheim, California, October 1965
Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Tomorrowland” (Episode 4.13)
Air Date: October 17, 2010
Director: Matthew Weiner
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Sixty-six years ago today, Walt Disney introduced the world to “the happiest place on Earth” during a televised press event on July 17, 1955. Disneyland Park opened just one year and a day after construction began in Anaheim, California, and the sprawling theme park remains the only one completed under Disney’s direct supervision.
“Tomorrow can be a wonderful age,” Disney began when unveiling Tomorrowland, one of the nine themed “lands” that Disneyland is comprised of. “The Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of our future.”
While we never actually get to see the Draper family visiting the park during their vacation in Mad Men‘s fourth-season finale, the episode’s title that we’re seeing Don forming the living blueprint for his own future, most significantly by rejecting the smart and nurturing Dr. Faye Miller (Cara Buono) to propose marriage to his bright-eyed young secretary Megan (Jessica Paré). After all, this is the man who prides himself on the fact that his life only moves in one direction: forward. Continue reading
Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr, relentless mutant Nazi hunter to be christened Magneto
Villa Gesell, Argentina, Fall 1962
Film: X-Men: First Class
Release Date: June 1, 2011
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Costume Designer: Sammy Sheldon
While I’m not traditionally a fan of superhero movies (at least as not as big a fan as some people!), I’ve appreciated how the recent stretch of Marvel movies have stretched across genres in its multi-billion-dollar appeal to varying audiences. For me, it’s been the entries rooted in history—like the MCU’s Captain America: The First Avenger and Fox’s X-Men: First Class, both released in 2011—that have had the most appeal of those I’ve seen. The latter, released ten years ago this summer, had been a subject of multiple requests since BAMF Style’s early years, so I hope I’m not too late in finally paying tribute to a briefly seen but timelessly stylish outfit from this Cold War-set adventure.
Harry Dean Stanton as “Lucky”, grizzled desert-dwelling nonagenarian
Piru, California, Summer 2016
Release Date: March 11, 2017
Director: John Carroll Lynch
Costume Designer: Lisa Norcia
Today’s post celebrates the great Harry Dean Stanton, the craggy and unapologetically authentic character actor born 95 years ago on July 14, 1926. Stanton’s prolific filmography included few leading roles, aside from a memorable turn in Wim Wenders’ 1984 masterpiece Paris, Texas, and his final movie, Lucky.
Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja collaborated on the screenplay that would result in a cinematic love letter to Harry Dean Stanton, for whom Sparks had served as personal assistant for more than 16 years. Described by Movie Talk as “a poignant meditation on mortality”, Lucky provides a fitting swan song for the actor’s career, incorporating biographical details like Stanton’s Kentucky birthplace and service in the U.S. Navy, reuniting him with previous collaborators like David Lynch and Tom Skeritt, and even scored by harmonica riffs on “Red River Valley”, a song associated with his roles in Dillinger (1973) and Twin Peaks: The Return (2017), not to exclude the overall motif of roaming the southwestern desert that echoes his starring role in Paris, Texas.
The man at the heart of it all is “Lucky”, a cantankerous but not unkind 90-year-old who loves cigarettes, crossword puzzles, and coffee with plenty of cream and sugar. A man of routine, Lucky begins each day with a Natural American Spirit cigarette, his calisthenics (“five yoga exercises every day, 21 repetitions each”), and a glass of cold milk, before he slips into one of his identical shirts, jackets, and jeans to greet another day in the small desert town of Piru, California.
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Ivan Danko, disciplined Moscow police captain
Chicago, Summer 1987
Film: Red Heat
Release Date: June 17, 1988
Director: Walter Hill
Costume Designer: Dan Moore
Tailor: Tommy Velasco
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Thanks to a recommendation from Pete Brooker of the excellent From Tailors with Love podcast, I beat the summer heat by revisiting Red Heat, the buddy cop actioner that paired Arnold Schwarzenegger as a tough Russian police captain with Jim Belushi as the stereotypical cigarettes-and-coffee American detective, working together to capture the dangerous Georgian gangster Viktor “Rosta” Rostavili (Ed O’Ross).
Robert Redford as Hubbell Gardiner, Hollywood screenwriter
Los Angeles, September 1947
Film: The Way We Were
Release Date: October 19, 1973
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Design: Dorothy Jeakins & Moss Mabry
Tomorrow will be the final day of the 2021 Wimbledon tennis championships, which—due to COVID-19—were canceled last year for the first time since World War II. In the spirit of the oldest tennis tournament in the world, I wanted to highlight the classic tennis garb worn by Robert Redford for a brief scene in The Way We Were.
More than a decade after the popular athlete Hubbell Gardiner and passionate activist Katie Morosky (Barbra Streisand) kindled their mutual attraction in college, the two have reunited and have moved out to southern California, where the carefree Hubbell is all too comfortable turning his successful novel into a much tamer screenplay, aimed for mainstream audiences.
Murray Hamilton as Larry Vaughn, ineffective mayor of Amity Island
Amity Island, July 1974
Release Date: June 20, 1975
Director: Steven Spielberg
Costume Design: Louise Clark, Robert Ellsworth, and Irwin Rose
“You open the beaches on the fourth of July, it’s like ringing the dinner bell, for chrissakes!” implores police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) to the mayor of Amity Island in the wake of the deadly threat of Bruce the Shark lurking offshore.
Unfortunately for the residents of Amity—which, as you know, means friendship—our charming mayor is the kind of odious self-promoter who thinks idealists like Hooper only share his self-absorbed goal of fame and glory, or a “you’d love to make it into the National Geographic!” moment, unable to comprehend that some people do their jobs or take public office for the sake of serving the public and not for good PR or cutthroat ambition.
Tom Cruise as Brian Flanagan, ambitious tropical bartender
Ocho RIos, Jamaica, Spring 1988
Release Date: July 29, 1988
Director: Roger Donaldson
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
I will admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Cocktail, but I’ve been in a tropical mood lately so this colorful, super-’80s yarn of bartending and bonking felt like a perfect summertime post in advance of Tom Cruise’s birthday tomorrow.
By all accounts, this winner of two Razzies should have been better, and author Heywood Gould has voiced considerable disappointment that his more serious source novel underwent such commercialization that the end product was primarily a vapid celebration of Tom Cruise using the daiquiri recipe he learned at TGI Friday’s to try to get laid as much as he could.