Kevin Costner as John Dutton, wealthy ranch patriarch and Montana Livestock Association commissioner
Western Montana, Fall 2017
– “Daybreak” (Episode 1.01, dir. Taylor Sheridan, aired 6/20/2018)
– “Kill the Messenger” (Episode 1.02, dir. Taylor Sheridan, aired 6/27/2018)
– “The Remembering” (Episode 1.06, dir. Taylor Sheridan, aired 8/1/2018)
– “A Monster Is Among Us” (Episode 1.07, dir. Taylor Sheridan, aired 8/8/2018)
– “A Thundering” (Episode 2.01, dir. Ed Bianchi, aired 6/19/2019)
– “New Beginnings” (Episode 2.02, dir. Ed Bianchi, aired 6/26/2019)
Creator: Taylor Sheridan & John Linson
Costume Designers: Ruth E. Carter & Brit Ellerman (Season 1) & Johnetta Boone (Season 2 onward)
Tomorrow night, the Dutton family returns to TV with the fifth season premiere of Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan and John Linson’s modern-day Western series chronicling the fictional conflicts of a cattle ranch, an Indian reservation, and land developers against a lush Montana landscape.
The series centers around the widowed Yellowstone Ranch patriarch, John Dutton III (Kevin Costner), who puts considerable thought into his words and actions and whose primary motivation seems to be proudly maintaining his ranch to continue his family’s legacy to his now-adult children. Continue reading
Dennis Haysbert as Raymond Deagan, affable gardener and widowed father
Suburban Connecticut, Fall 1957
Film: Far From Heaven
Release Date: November 8, 2002
Director: Todd Haynes
Costume Designer: Sandy Powell
Far From Heaven premiered twenty years ago this week, a smart, sincere, and stylish drama that stands alone as a thoughtful story beyond its oft-discussed intentional parallels to the Douglas Sirk melodramas of a half-century prior.
The Sirk homages are evident not just in the autumnal photography but also the plot, recalling the romance between a woman and her gardener in All That Heaven Allows (1955) as well as the racial themes driving Imitation of Life (1959). In this case, the woman is housewife Cathy Whitaker (Julianne Moore), who raises her friends’ eyebrows through her growing bond with Raymond Deagan (Dennis Haysbert), a kind gardener taking over his late father’s accounts. Continue reading
Kevin Costner as Lawrence “Crash” Davis, minor league baseball catcher
North Carolina, Spring and Summer 1987
Film: Bull Durham
Release Date: June 15, 1988
Director: Ron Shelton
Costume Designer: Louise Frogley
Tonight is game 1 of the World Series! One of my favorite baseball movies, Bull Durham, shines a light on Minor League Baseball, based on writer and director Ron Shelton’s own experiences as a Minor League infielder.
When not following the national pastime and registry discussions out on the baseball diamond, the extremely quotable Bull Durham follows a romantic triangle with “Church of Baseball” groupie Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) balancing her seductions between the Durham Bulls’ rookie pitcher Ebby “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) and catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Costner), a veteran with 12 years in the minor leagues who’s been recruited onto the team to help temper LaLoosh’s wild pitching. (Crash’s name was inspired by real-life second baseman Lawrence “Crash” Davis, who played for the Durham Bulls in the late 1940s and befriended Shelton after the production.) Continue reading
Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager, record-setting U.S. Air Force test pilot
Murac Army Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base), Kern County, California, from fall 1947 to summer 1961
Film: The Right Stuff
Release Date: October 21, 1983
Director: Philip Kaufman
Costume Supervisor: James W. Tyson
Today marks the 75th anniversary of when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, piloting a rocket-propelled Bell X-1 aircraft—named Glamorous Glennis, after his wife—over the Mojave Desert at a speed greater than Mach 1. The event is depicted at the start of The Right Stuff, Philip Kaufman’s 1983 flight epic based on Tom Wolfe’s nonfiction book of the same name, chronicling the pivotal early years of American aeronautics between Yeager’s supersonic achievement and the conclusion of the successful Project Mercury manned space missions.
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!
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 Goodfellas, Dead 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.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Robert Graysmith, newspaper cartoonist and crusading crime investigator
San Francisco Bay Area, Fall 1975 thorough summer 1979
Release Date: March 2, 2007
Director: David Fincher
Costume Designer: Casey Storm
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
By the mid-1970s, active investigations for the infamous Zodiac Killer had cooled; the intrepid San Francisco detective Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) had been urged to refocus his efforts, his partner Bill Armstrong (Anthony Edwards) had requested to move on, and investigative reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) was no longer writing about the case… leaving the burden of investigation in the surprising hands of San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith. Continue reading
Robert Redford as Dave Chappellet, U.S. Olympic ski team star
Switzerland, Winter 1968
Film: Downhill Racer
Release Date: November 6, 1969
Director: Michael Ritchie
Costume Designer: Edith Head (uncredited!)
Wardrobe Credit: Cynthia May
In the spirit of the 2022 Winter Olympics that opened last night in Beijing, I wanted to revisit one of my favorite movies around the winter games, Downhill Racer.
Released just a month after his breakthrough performance in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Robert Redford stars as the cocky skier Dave Chappellet, whose well-honed talent on the slopes lands him on the U.S. Olympic team. His only internal competition had been the promising talent Johnny Creech (Jim McMullan), whose own hopes for the gold were dashed after he was badly injured just weeks before the games. The resentful team and their passionate coach, Eugene Claire (Gene Hackman), find themselves looking to Chappellet as their best hope fo securing a gold medal. Continue reading
Billy Crystal as Harry Burns, sarcastic political consultant
New York City, New Year’s Eve 1988
Film: When Harry Met Sally…
Release Date: July 14, 1989
Director: Rob Reiner
Costume Designer: Gloria Gresham
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy New Year’s Eve!
One of my favorite romantic comedies, When Harry Met Sally… follows its two eponymous leads over twelve years of off-and-on friendship from their contentious meeting during a ride home from the University of Chicago up through a climactic New Year’s Eve party. Continue reading
Roger Moore as James Bond, British government agent
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Spring 1981
Film: For Your Eyes Only
Release Date: June 24, 1981
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller
Today’s post extends #CarWeek to close out this year’s 40th anniversary celebration of my favorite of Roger Moore’s Bond movies, For Your Eyes Only, with a wintry look apropos the 00-7th of December as Mr. Bond drives into the ski resort town of Cortina d’Ampezzo behind the wheel of his latest Q-issued Lotus, dressed for warmth in shearling and cashmere.
Following a tip from the Italian secret service, Bond has arrived to interface with MI6’s “man in northern Italy”—Luigi Ferrara (John Moreno)—as he surveils Locque, the mysterious man he had observed paying off Hector Gonzales. Continue reading
In recognition of POW/MIA Day, observed on the third Friday of September, let’s delve into one of the first major movies to shine a light on the POW experience.
William Holden as J.J. Sefton, USAAF Staff Sergeant and prisoner of war
“Somewhere on the Danube”, December 1944
Film: Stalag 17
Release Date: May 29, 1953
Director: Billy Wilder
Wardrobe Credit: J. Allen Slone
I don’t know about you, but it always makes me sore when I see those war pictures… all about flying leathernecks and submarine patrols and frogmen and guerrillas in the Philippines. What gets me is there never was a movie about POWs… about prisoners of war.
… and so Clarence Harvey Cook (Gil Stratton) begins his narration, setting the scene for the week leading up to Christmas 1944 when he and his fellow downed colleagues discovered a potential informant—er, a “dirty stinkin’ stoolie”—in their barracks.
After two airmen are shot trying to escape, suspicion eventually falls on J.J. Sefton, the cigarette-dealing but cigar-chomping staff sergeant whose cynicism has already rendered him unpopular with most of the Americans aside from Cookie, who serves as Sefton’s unofficial batman and describes him as “one of the most unforgettable ch-characters you’ve ever met.” Continue reading