Tagged: What to Wear on a Road Trip

Kevin Costner in A Perfect World

Kevin Costner and T.J. Lowther in A Perfect World (1993)


Kevin Costner as Robert “Butch” Haynes, escaped convict

Texas, Fall 1963

Film: A Perfect World
Release Date: November 24, 1993
Director: Clint Eastwood
Costume Designer: Erica Edell Phillips

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


Released 30 years ago today, A Perfect World overcame its initial lukewarm box office to be acclaimed as among the career-best works for both director Clint Eastwood and star Kevin Costner.

Costner stars as Robert “Butch” Haynes, a petty criminal who escapes from a Texas prison on the night of Halloween 1963. Despite Butch’s own distaste for him, he breaks out with the reckless Terry Pugh (Keith Szarabajka), who jeopardizes their getaway—and Butch’s own code of ethics—by attempting to force himself onto a suburban mother while the two look for a car to steal. Butch stops the situation before Terry can take it too far, but the commotion wakes up the neighborhood and results in the two fugitives taking a hostage—the mother’s eight-year-old son, Philip (T.J. Lowther), with whom Butch develops a special bond:

Me and you got a lot in common, Philip. The both of us is handsome devils, we both like RC Cola, and neither one of us got an old man worth a damn.

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Succession: Cousin Greg’s Pre-Thanksgiving Puffer Vest

Nicholas Braun as “Cousin Greg” Hirsch on Succession, Episode 1.05: “I Went to Market”


Nicholas Braun as Greg Hirsch, mild-mannered media conglomerate underling and family outsider

Canada to New York City, The day before Thanksgiving 2018

Series: Succession
Episode: “I Went to Market” (Episode 1.05)
Air Date: July 1, 2018
Director: Adam Arkin
Creator: Jesse Armstrong
Costume Designer: Michelle Matland


Ahead of Thanksgiving tomorrow, one of the things I’m grateful for is that—if Succession had to end this year—the fact that it did so perfectly when the series finale ended in May. To commemorate the final year from this landmark series, let’s flash back to the first season as we joined the Roys for their annual Turkey Day celebration.

From the start of Succession, the anxious Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun), aka “Cousin Greg”, aka “Greg the Egg”, initially served as an audience surrogate as we were all collectively introduced to the world of the extremely wealthy and highly dysfunctional Roy family, led by domineering patriarch Logan (Brian Cox) as his children Connor (Alan Ruck), Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Siobhan (Sarah Snook) wrested for their withholding father’s favor… and the keys to control his media conglomerate, Waystar RoyCo.

The outsider Greg had never been part of their circle, thrust into it during Logan’s 80th birthday party when his mother—Logan’s niece—dispatched him to New York for a job after he was fired from one of a Waystar amusement park for getting high inside a mascot costume. Within a month, he’s got a job with the company that pays himself just enough that he needn’t sneak food out of the Waystar break room in doggie-doo bags anymore, and he can afford enough gas to power his three-year-old Hyundai to Canada (“with the healthcare and the ennui!”) and back to transport his grandfather Ewan (James Cromwell) to New York for Logan’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Greg: Happy Thanksgiving!
Ewan: Not for the Indians.
Greg: No sir! Nope… that is still true.

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Stacy Keach’s Trucker Jacket in Roadgames

Stacy Keach in Roadgames (1981)


Stacy Keach as Pat Quid, energetic American trucker and Navy veteran

Southern Australia, Spring 1980

Film: Roadgames
Release Date: June 26, 1981
Director: Richard Franklin
Costume Designer: Aphrodite Kondos

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


10-4, good buddy! For reasons obvious to anyone even remotely familiar with CB lingo, October 4th is annually celebrated as National Truckers Appreciation Day so today’s post hits the open road with Stacy Keach in the 1981 Ozploitation thriller Roadgames. Continue reading

Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Vacation

Chevy Chase with Anthony Michael Hall, Beverly D’Angelo, and Dana Barron in National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)


Chevy Chase as Clark W. Griswold, Jr., hapless family man

Chicago to Los Angeles, Summer 1982

Film: National Lampoon’s Vacation
Release Date: July 29, 1983
Director: Harold Ramis
Men’s Costumer: Robert Harris Jr.

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


Why aren’t we flying? Because getting there is half the fun, you know that!

Today is the 40th anniversary of the release National Lampoon’s Vacation, a comedy classic celebrating the great American tradition of the family summer road trip. Inspired by John Hughes’ short story “Vacation ’58” about a fictitious cross-country trip to Disneyland in a lemony station wagon that ends with our protagonist’s Dad shooting Walt Disney in the leg, Vacation introduced audiences to Clark W. Griswold, Jr., a well-intended family man who regularly goes disastrously above and beyond expectations to attempt to create memorable experiences for his family.

National Lampoon’s Vacation sends the Griswold family toward the fictional southern California destination of Walley World, a thinly veiled nomen à clef of Disneyland, though filmed at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valenica. Clark packs his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) and their children Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and Audrey (Dana Barron) into a clunky conglomeration of American automotive excess for a nightmarish family vacation from the Windy City to Walley World that Clark eventually describes to Roy Walley (Eddie Bracken) as “two weeks of living hell.” Continue reading

True Romance: Clarence’s Rockabilly Road Trip Style

Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette in True Romance (1993)


Christian Slater as Clarence Worley, newlywed rockabilly enthusiast and former comic store clerk

Mojave Desert, Spring 1992

Film: True Romance
Release Date: September 10, 1993
Director: Tony Scott
Costume Designer: Susan Becker

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


The Friday before Memorial Day has been designated National Road Trip Day, celebrating the open road and the start of the summer travel season. As this year is also the 30th anniversary of the Quentin Tarantino-penned, Tony Scott-directed genre-blender True Romance, let’s follow the felonious newlyweds Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) and Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) as they make their way west from Detroit in the Elvis-obsessed Clarence’s pink Cadillac convertible. Continue reading

Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us


Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller, tough pandemic survivor and former contractor

Boston to Utah, Fall through winter 2023

Series: The Last of Us (Season 1)
Air Dates: January 15, 2023 – March 12, 2023
Created by: Craig Mazin & Neil Druckmann
Costume Designer: Cynthia Ann Summers

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


It was fascinating to see my distaste for mushrooms validated in such a distressing manner in one of the biggest shows of the year.

Based on Naughty Dog’s popular video game of the same name, The Last of Us concluded its acclaimed first season on Sunday night. The series was primarily set in a post-apocalyptic 2023 in the grim aftermath in a global pandemic (albeit far more dystopian than our current reality), caused by a mass fungal infection that transforms its human hosts into grotesque quasi-zombies (shroombies?) that still roam the tattered world two decades following the societal collapse. Continue reading

Steve Martin in Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Steve Martin as Neal Page in Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)


Steve Martin as Neal Page, advertising executive and family man

New York City to Chicago… via Kansas and Missouri, Fall 1987

Film: Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Release Date: November 25, 1987
Director: John Hughes
Costume Designer: April Ferry
Steve Martin’s Costumer: Dennis Schoonderwoerd


It’s two days to Thanksgiving! If you’re an ad man in New York for a creative presentation with an indecisive client, that should give you just enough time to unsuccessfully race Kevin Bacon for a taxi and join up with a talkative shower curtain ring salesman—excuse me, shower curtain ring sales director—for a series of transportation-related hijinks to make it home to Chicago just as that stuffed bird is ready to come out of the oven on Thursday.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles remains one of the few bona fide classic Thanksgiving comedies, released 35 years ago this week as commemorated today with an all-new 4K home video release that includes more than an hour of deleted and extended footage. The movie arguably succeeds best thanks to the comedic chemistry between Steve Martin and John Candy, balancing humor and heart as both the banal Neal and garrulous Del are humanized beyond initial stereotypes in what both actors described as a career-favorite film. Continue reading

On the Road: Dean Moriarty’s Fur-collar Flight Jacket

Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty in On the Road (2012)

Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty in On the Road (2012)


Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty, impulsive drifter based on Beat Generation figure Neal Cassady

New York to San Francisco, via New Orleans, Winter 1949

Film: On the Road
Release Date: October 12, 2012
Director: Walter Salles
Costume Designer: Danny Glicker

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of when On the Road was published on September 5, 1957. Jack Kerouac’s seminal Beat Generation novel had been years in the making, beginning with his continuous, single-spaced 120-page “scroll” that he typed across three weeks in April 1951, almost immediately after returning from the last of the book’s depicted travels.

With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road. Before that I’d often dreamed of going West to see the country, always vaguely planning and never taking off. Dean is the perfect guy for the road because he actually was born on the road, when his parents were passing through Salt Lake City in 1926, in a jalopy, on their way to Los Angeles.

Though Kerouac hardly shied away from including seedier details of his friend’s life, On the Road became something of a hagiography centered around Dean Moriarty, the alter ego he developed for his real-life pal Neal Cassady. With the same excitement of the Dexter Gordon, Lionel Hampton, and George Shearing performances they celebrate, the impulsive Dean steals the spotlight much as he and his fellow travelers steal to support their travels, or offset “the cost of living”, as they rationalize.

Despite considerable interest—including from the author himself—in cinematic adaptations, it wouldn’t be until more than a half-century passed that cameras would finally roll on bringing On the Road to the screen. Francis Ford Coppola had held the rights since 1979, holding on through decades of development hell until the artistic critical success of The Motorcycle Diaries encouraged him to hand over the reins to director Walter Salles and writer José Rivera. Salles again collaborated with cinematographer Éric Gautier, whose photography brought mid-century America back to life across the small towns, sandy deserts, and snowy hillsides that resisted generations of change.

Garrett Hedlund’s appropriately kinetic performance as the dangerously charismatic Dean also emerged as one of the strongest aspects of Salles’ On the Road adaptation, with Owen Gleiberman writing for Entertainment Weekly that “the best thing in the movie is Garrett Hedlund’s performance as Dean Moriarty, whose hunger for life—avid, erotic, insatiable, destructive—kindles a fire that will light the way to a new era.” Continue reading

Two-Lane Blacktop: Warren Oates as GTO

Warren Oates in Two-Lane Blacktop

Warren Oates in Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)


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!


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

Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider

Dennis Hopper as Billy in Easy Rider

Dennis Hopper as Billy in Easy Rider (1969)


Dennis Hopper as Billy, cowboy-styled biker and cocaine smuggler

Across the southern United States from Los Angeles through Louisiana, February 1968

Film: Easy Rider
Release Date: July 14, 1969
Director: Dennis Hopper

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


The late Dennis Hopper was born 86 years ago today on May 17, 1936. The iconoclastic filmmaker had been acting on screen since the ’50s before he made his directorial debut with the groundbreaking Easy Rider.

Filmed early in 1968 but not released until the tumultuous summer of ’69, Easy Rider had been conceptualized by Hopper with screenwriter Terry Southern and fellow actor Peter Fonda, who would join Hopper on screen as the pair of freedom-loving bikers we follow across the country following a lucrative cocaine sale. There’s plenty more drug use along the way, from a few LSD tabs scored from a fellow traveler to introducing the wild-eyed lawyer George Hanson (Jack Nicholson) to marijuana, but the substances are secondary as Easy Rider allegorizes the death—or, perhaps, the contemporary redefinition—of the American dream. Continue reading