My plan for today’s post was to revel in the ’80s goodness of beach resort movies. Yet after re-watching the 1988 film Cocktail after many years, I realized that its best design moments happen away from the beach. Like when Tom Cruise punches an arrogant artist, causing him to crash into a metal sculpture of a giant cockroach. Or when Tom Cruise punches a Park Avenue high-rise staff member, causing him to crash into a large geometric sculpture with Memphis-Milano style. Not everything fabulous in this film is destroyed by a fistfight. Keep reading for a recap of the movie (spoilers follow), as well as some fun retro screen shots…
Before we get started, let’s take some time to appreciate the revolving door of ’80s awesomeness that is Tom Cruise’s collection of button-down shirts throughout the film. Scroll down and enjoy. My favorite is the yellow…what about you?!
As you can see by the photo above, there’s a love story in Cocktail. Let’s start with the basics. Tom Cruise plays Brian Flanagan, a business student by day and a bartender at a New York T.G.I. Friday’s by night. And with the way this film portrays the college experience, you wonder why anyone would decide to do anything but work forever at T.G.I. Friday’s. Especially if you meet a mentor like Doug Coughlin (Bryan Brown), who quickly teaches Brian the ways of flair bartending. Yes, juggling bottles of rum is a heck of a lot more fun than Brian’s homework assignment to write his own obituary.
While Brian and Doug talk about going into business together, their plans are thwarted when Doug seduces Brian’s girlfriend. Fast forward a couple of years, and Brian has gone to Jamaica to make big bartending bucks so he can start saving up to open his own bar. There he meets Jordan (Elisabeth Shue), and all is going well… until Doug tracks him down and bets him that he could never successfully seduce a rich woman. Apparently unconcerned with ethics or loyalty, Brian accepts the challenge and quickly starts up with Bonnie (Lisa Banes, shown above and below).
Are you still with me here? As a reward for your attention, I’ll share a surprise cameo: the dad from 90210! See him at the far left in the photo above?! Cheer up, James Eckhouse. In two years, you’ll be on a hit television series…Of course, as Brian runs off with Bonnie, Jordan happens to witness their drunken stumbling across the beach. Maybe her perfectly tousled hair and perfectly tousled necklace can be a comfort to her during her time of need:
Jordan heads back to New York. Brian goes back to New York with Bonnie. Anyone else think it would be fun to start a Tumblr of ’80s screen shots featuring New York cityscapes?…
So here’s the dilemma…Bonnie treats Brian like a boy toy. We’re really not supposed to like her. She does crazy things like ask him to get her carrot juice. And force him to wake up early to a view of her doing aerobics. But look at that bedroom! The Deco lamp, that Art Nouveau headboard. OK, so the robe she bought Brian could use some help. But how bad could this woman be?
She obviously has good taste in wallpaper! And with her eye for glass block, we can almost forgive her coldness.
But Brian can’t, and soon we can’t either…
One evening, Bonnie takes Brian to an art show and asks him to take her fur coat instead of introducing him to her friends. One of these friends is a rude sculptor, and while it was hard to get a good screen shot of Tom Cruise punching him and destroying the large metal cockroach he created, trust me when I say a pedestal comes crashing down.
Brian dumps Bonnie and realizes he’s been a true jerk to Jordan. Here he is, trying to convince her to take him back. Her apartment is an artist’s loft with white walls and an abundance of windows.
…and a geometric metal headboard! It’s the perfect backdrop for revealing a pregnancy. See, I told you there would be spoilers!
When Jordan won’t listen to Brian’s pleas to take him back, he tries to find her at her parents’ Park Avenue apartment. While it’s supposed to seem a bit stuffy, there are definitely some interesting modern elements, like the lavender moulding, the chrome benches/stools, and that crazy Deco-style pattern on the upholstery:
As you can see, there are also a lot of difficult conversations in this film. I won’t give away the ending, but I will share a couple of shots from when Brian takes down the bellboy, destroying a Memphis Milano-style sculpture in the process. It was probably made of styrofoam, but who cares when the geometry is this good?! In defense of Brian, he was punched first. By the cockroach sculptor too!
As Brian leaves the Park Avenue apartment with Jordan after the fight, he says to her father, “It didn’t have to be this way, you know.” Just think of the design damage that could have been avoided! With that, I’ll leave you to watch this film for yourself. Grab a drink umbrella to embellish your favorite beverage as you enjoy a range of ’80s design styles. XOXO, Kate
Oh Kate! 😀 This post was more entertaining than watching the actual film! Hilarious.
As always, I love your blog!
Thank you for reading, Jenny! It’s not hard to find things to love about this movie. And thank you for your kind comment!
Fabian Gruber says
Hey, I was searching for the watch he is wearing in this film? Do you know?