Here they are. Not this one. That would be thriller, singular. We’re talking about thrillers, the action genre’s brainer little brother, and the subject of the tenth and final installment in our Definitive Men’s Movie Collection. Like actions, thrillers get your blood pumping, though they use more subtle tactics — suspense over pyrotechnics. We’ve heard it said that with thrillers, you don’t need to pay for your whole seat — just the edge. That’s silly, because most theaters make you pay for your whole seat regardless, but we understand the sentiment. Have we saved the best for last? You decide.
Think First Shoot Later
Director of Programming for the Sundance Film Festival
Trevor Groth first visited the Sundance Film Festival in 1989 at the age of 17. The experience changed his life, eventually leading him to a job as Director of Programming at Sundance, presiding over the strategic planning and selection process of the now-iconic film festival. Translation? He’s paid to watch and discuss movies produced by the planet’s most talented filmmakers and then picks which movies the world should definitely see. We caught up him in the middle of the 2013 festival to pick his brain about his process, how to experience the festival right and the state of the indie film scene at large.
Limited Release, 13-Year-Old Straight Rye Whiskey
Drinking alone gets a bad rap, but there’s having a drink alone and then there’s really drinking alone, getting after it, sitting on a creaky chair the garage with a case of Keystone and no real plans to speak of except to power through it. Be careful with that. But in the first scenario a man reaches beneath his desk around 6:00 p.m., puts The Best of Dean Martin on the phonograph, starts nodding to the music, and pours himself a measure of something good and strong. During a recent six o’clock hour we opened up a bottle of Lock Stock & Barrel ($118) straight rye whiskey — and it’s just about as smooth and rich as Dino’s voice.
In Vino We Trust
For a long time we’ve been put off by wine — its rules and regulations, its esoteric language, its arcane, Old-World naming regimes. Then the floodgates opened and there was two-dollar wine, highbrow boxed wine, wines that could be chilled and others that could be warmed. And guess what? It was all still pretty confusing.
But the truth is that no other drink pairs so exceptionally with food as wine does, and then, the drink has romance and mystery, too; it carries a certain tradition and importance that’s undeniable, indeed, biblical; it has fun pastimes like stomping grapes, sabering bottles and having important conversations about literature. So we’ve done what we should have done all along: created a guide to everything there is to know about wine, an extensive flight of wine knowledge. It begins with a layman’s guide to understanding the varietals.
Around the World in 50 Movies
When most of us hear the word “movie”, we think of Hollywood — fair, given the global domination of Hollywood-produced Spielberg and Harry Potter films, but perhaps a tad ignorant, considering India’s Bollywood produces twice Hollywood’s output every year and reaches a larger audience. As demonstrated by the quality of the films in the Streaming Cinephile piece that we posted a while back, foreign films deserve a place in the spotlight. But while that list only featured foreign language films available for streaming on Netflix, this list features the top foreign language films, period.
What to See, Read and Hear
There’s too much damn information floating around these days: interesting things to read, beautiful places to see, impressive figures to remember. Lucky for you, your weekly digest of culture starts right here. This week, it’s all about the ever-burgeoning film-festival-meets-ski-bunnies: Sundance.
In 1923, a pharmaceutical representative named Shinjiro Torii built a distillery in Yamazaki with the dream of creating a Japanese whisky for the Japanese people. His original distillery evolved into Suntory, a holding company that recently made a $13.62 billion cash play for Beam, Inc., makers of Jim Beam brand spirits, Old Crow, and Maker’s Mark, among others. If it goes through, Suntory will become the third largest whiskey company by volume in the world. What does this mean for the whiskey (and whisky) world?
A look inside New York's first ever Bourbon
On a brisk Manhattan morning, we met with Ralph Erenzo of Hudson Whiskey for a taste test. He introduced us to Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey ($45), the first bourbon whiskey ever made in New York, and the first legal pot-distilled whiskey made in New York since prohibition. Made from 100 percent New York corn and aged in American Oak barrels, it proves that not all good bourbon needs to come from the South.
All's Fair in Love and Films
You know the one I’m talking about. The first. The one that made you say, “oh, so this is what everyone’s on about.” When she smiled, you wanted to laugh, and when she laughed, you wanted to laugh, too. That’s l’amour. Love, for you non-francophiles. Nothing like it in the world. Nothing can bring you so high, and then drop you so low.
Romance movies aim to capture this ride — the highs of love found, the lows of love lost, and everything in between. They help us see that the elusive (feeling? emotion? noun?) happens to everyone — sometimes when we least expect it — and makes us do and say crazy things. They prove to us that we’re not alone; love shapes our lives, changing everyone it touches, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. We feel you, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. We know your pain.
Cold weather, cold smoke, cold beers.
Most of us calculate Paid Time Off based on formulas that are too sad to enumerate. Suffice it to say those hours rarely add up to week-long ski vacations at our leisure. But parse them out just so and you can be taking long weekends whenever the heavens open up. Make the most of it by choosing mountain resorts with bankable terrain and close proximity to an airport — like any of these 10 world-class ski areas.
Outdoor adventure in Kyrgyzstan
Combine partial nudity and breathtaking landscapes and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty good movie; throw in world-class alpinist Kyle Dempster, a bicycle and the Kyrgyzstan wilderness, well, then you get an unexpected and touching adventure film. Dempster set out in 2011 for a six-week trip in the Central Asian country, armed with a bicycle for transportation and a bag of climbing gear for soloing unclimbed alpine rock and mixed routes. The result is an award-winning film, The Road from Karakol, that’s raw, funny and insightful.
What a wonderful world
This year, we saw a lot of the royal baby, puppy-related lists and Miley Cyrus. All interesting, to be sure, but the cultural equivalent of junk food — enjoyable but unsatisfying. Empty calories.
If culture is the measure of a society, we want substantive culture — the whole grains, fruits and vegetables of life. Over the past year, we sowed the seeds of quality, and now we pick the ten best crops of the harvest. Enjoy the best of booze, food, travel (some of it occupying a legal grey area), architecture, cigars, coffee and more. Eat all you want — we grew them just for you.
On the scene of America's biggest art festival
What exactly is Art Basel? You’re not alone in asking. Mixed messages are both a problem and an asset when it comes to the annual December event. Technically speaking, the festivities that culturally connected Americans learn about through New York Times writeups and a flood of social media humble bragging are officially known as Art Basel Miami Beach. We were on the scene to explore and try to define this captivating art wonderland
Champagne you can drink with dinner
Among the wisest Champagne drinkers is the sommelier, and we consulted with one of the country’s best: Paul Grieco, owner of Hearth restaurant and Terroir, a wine bar with five locations in New York City. He helped us choose five bottles of grower’s Champagne to drink right now — and not just as a toast before dinner.
Capturing the Drama of Real Life
As any second grade teacher knows, children learn what they want to learn. Bobby doesn’t feel like learning division today? Not gonna happen. Unless…well, unless he learns without realizing it. The old pill in the ice cream trick, so to speak. Swallowing the medicine in the guise of something delicious, the innocent Bobby gets what…
The One Percent
Evan Yurman, Chief Design Director of his father’s jewelry empire, and Nicolas Palazzi, owner of PM Spirits, recently combined their passions to form L’Artisan. The idea behind the brand is to source pure Cognacs from French farmers, many of whom have had it in their cellars since their fathers or grandfathers distilled it decades ago. They just released their first offering, L’Artisan No. 50, and we were lucky enough to have a taste.
Come on in, the blood's fine
Horror movies aren’t for everyone. You’ve heard it a million times, or else you’ve said it a million times: “I just don’t like them”. Oh really? You don’t like The Shining or The Exorcist or Shaun of the Dead or Psycho? Those are horror movies, jacko, and you like them. Admit it.
Protein shortage, averted
Some people hear the phrase “beef alternatives” and think tofu, seitan and bean burgers. We think local goat, French-style chicken, grass-fed lamb, name-brand pigs, roast duck, double-smoked Danish salmon, whole lobes of foie gras, elk — and then sometimes beef again, because beef from here is technically an alternative to beef from there. Ready to for a feast of all of the above? Here are our 10 favorite online purveyors of high-quality meat.
No Reason to be Bitter
The House of Angostura makes the best-known bitters in the world. In fact, with all the press given to Angostura’s bitters, it’s easy to overlook their line of rums, which they’ve been making for over 100 years. We had a chance to try the three rums in Angostura’s premium line — rums for sipping.
What is the measure of a man? And can we ever meet it?
Staging artistic wrestling events in full Luchador regalia against invisible opponents, taking on semi-pro football players in full pads during mock bull-in-the-ring practice drills and painting larger-than-life self portraits of himself as a superhero are just a few examples of the creative work of artist Shaun “El C.” Leonardo. If you’re looking for a theme, know this — it’s all about being a man. We caught up with Brooklyn-based artist from Queens and former college football player before his upcoming show at KETEL ONE® Vodka’s artist studio at Art Basel Miami 2013 to gain some insight on his work and his thoughts on masculinity today.
Out of This World
Part five of our series covers sci-fi and fantasy movies. Of all our sections, this was the most difficult to create: not because we argued over the selections (though we did), but because we argued over where to draw the line on what constitutes sci-fi and fantasy. For instance, does Richard Linklater’s cerebral Waking Life…
If you're between a soft and a hard case...
In the good old days of train travel a gentleman would have a cavalcade of steamer trunks in tow, housing all manner of wardrobe, knick knacks, accoutrement and what-have-yous. These days, a guy’s lucky if his rolling carry-on isn’t checked at the gate. Thankfully, weary traveler, technology is on your side. We’re pleased to introduce to you the best hard shell suitcases we would find, each a convergence of all the necessary requirements for travel, each unique in its own way.
Light, fast, local
There are big-name brands in the outdoor clothing market that turn out lustworthy, cutting-edge shells, baselayers and insulation pieces season after season. But every once in a while, we stumble upon a small brand doing things a little bit differently yet equally well. One of those is NW Alpine, based in that outdoor playground, Portland, Oregon. We got to test out three pieces of NW Alpine gear in the mountains this fall: the Black Spider Hoodie, the Fast/Light Pant and the Simplicity Jacket.
Business travelers used to have serious panache: Vasco da Gama traveled in a fleet of ships accompanied a few hundred men; Benjamin Franklin allegedly wore a rustic fur hat while serving as an ambassador to France; in the 1960s men wore three-piece suits in Economy. Today’s business traveler is less ostentatious but dangerously effective: he’s creative, flexible, mobile, well-connected and never ever sick at sea. Working all the time? Sure, but that’s a small price to pay for a life without borders. If that sounds like you, this is the gear you need.
Hiking Hut to Hut in the White Mountains
For thru-hikers of the AT, the White Mountains are a cruel joke, coming near the end of a months-long journey that begins in the gentle hills of Georgia. With nary a flat mile the trail follows the spine of the Presidential Range before exiting into Maine and the final miles to Katahdin. But while the Whites can be cruel, they are also kind. Among the rocky steeps is a series of huts where a weary hiker can find a soft bed, warm smiles and hot meals.
I came to the White Mountains of New Hampshire with too much confidence and they kicked my ass. With the trail’s highest point barely above tree line and only one thousand feet higher than the starting point of my June ascent of Mount Rainier, I figured hiking here would be easy. I was wrong.
Read Free or Die
What New Hampshire lacks in acreage it makes up in personality: the Granite State was the first to break away from the British; it holds the first presidential primary; and the state motto is, audaciously, “Live Free or Die”. The state’s soul resides in the White Mountain National Forest, more than 750,000 acres of rugged trails and backcountry. It’s a fine place to hike, as we did in our story about the huts of the White Mountains. Want a more comprehensive education? Consider picking up one of these books.
We visit Red Bull Battle Grounds, a two-day tournament in which eight of the world’s best Starcraft II players send angry virtual military units across a digital landscape to destroy their enemy’s virtual bases. Does this event (and the many others like it) signal a shift in gaming’s social legitimacy? Read on for an exploration and a photo essay of the event.
If your significant other invited the relatives for Thanksgiving, you’re probably praying that there won’t be a repeat of what your cousins still call the Great Turkey Fiasco of 2003. But why not go on the offensive? This is your day, dammit, and just because Aunt Hellen and Cousin Doug have decided to hold a…
A Five-Star Gear Patrol Dining Survey
Trusting someone with a restaurant suggestion is a show of great faith. A good suggestion puts you in the inner circle, a candidate for godfather of the next child, a guy whose name is mentioned behind closed doors, approvingly, with vigorous nodding. A bad suggestion keeps both parties involved up at night. There is so much good food in America right now that winnowing the lot to a few handfuls of the best is difficult. Do you include the roadside shack that isn’t technically a restaurant? Do you disqualify a place for foam smears and cheese dust? Are you being persuaded by hype?
And so our litmus test was simple: these 25 American restaurants are the places we’d send a friend if he had time for one meal in Chicago, Denver, Houston or any of the other cities on this list. One city, one suggestion, one good meal. Thank you. You’re welcome.
An American Road Trip for a Great American Beer
On November 9th, we asked K.B. Gould and Henry Phillips to make a fall pilgrimage to the Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury, Vermont. The closing of the brewery’s retail operation loomed just days away. Joined by driver Dave Watson, the two accepted their assignment: visit the home of Heady Topper, one of the highest-rated beers in the world, to pay homage to its brewmasters, enjoy a taste and a tour and scrounge a rare case. This is the chronicle of their trip.