The Super Bowl rings on the fingers of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are proof that coaching really does matter. The win vindicated the Bucs' decision to bet the farm on the notoriously intense Jon Gruden--who took them all the way in his first season, culminating in one of the great grudge-match Super Bowls of all time. Kevin Cook, who tackles the NFL's youngest coach in this month's Playboy Interview, says it's Gruden's brain, not his bluster (or his famous Chucky faces), that makes him a winner. "I got a strong sense of his fierce drive to win," Cook says, "not by intimidation but by information. He wants to outwork and outthink everybody else in the NFL, a league full of brilliant workaholics. Talk about eye contact--his eyes bored into me. But he's funny, too. If I had the least bit of football talent, I would be the first to run through a wall for him."
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[movieTitle]Alex & Emma[/movieTitle] Spunky stenographer Kate Hudson helps inspire novelist Luke Wilson to finish his latest book--and turns up in his visualization of the story, too. Sophie Marceau co-stars in this romantic comedy, directed by Rob Reiner.[rating]2-1/2 bunnies[/rating]
Harvey Pekar's comic book about his dreary life as a Cleveland hospital clerk (which made him one of David Letterman's best early guests) comes to life with memorable performances from Paul Giamatti as the ultra-cranky writer and Hope Davis as his eccentric wife. Blending humor and emotion, Splendor is one of the year's most original films.
After a 15-year hiatus, Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg are set to film the fourth Indiana Jones movie next summer. But other filmmakers, not content to cede the adventure hero genre (and hoping 61-year-old Ford is more relic than relic hunter) are rushing their own, oddly familiar potential franchises into production. Here is what we dug up:
Dashboard Confessional A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar
If you are secretly mourning the demise of Dawson's Creek, this album should provide consolation. Chris Carrabba, the emo poster boy who goes by the moniker Dashboard Confessional, is back with more melancholic tunes perfectly suited to accompanying unresolved love triangles. Carrabba's un-apologetic earnestness, coupled with an incredible voice, has garnered him a diehard following; his concerts feature legions of teary fillies (and half as many guys) crooning their lungs out in unison. The cult of Carrabba will embrace this one, especially Bend and Not Break, on which he actually flirts with rocking out, and Ghost of a Good Thing, a nicely done acoustic tune. If you aren't a fan, though, you won't likely be swayed. In fact, Carrabba's heart-on-sleeve emoting may make you want to grab him and yell, "Cheer up, buddy. You're a rock star!" (Vagrant)[rating]2-1/2 bunnies[/rating] --Alison Prato
Nokia N-Gage ($300) Tell your girl you'll call back as soon as you finish playing Tomb Raider on Nokia's new gaming cell phone. The phone is equipped with an eight-way directional controller for playing games stored on tiny memory cards. Users can set up multiplayer matches via a local Bluetooth connection or a long-distance network. Developers Activision, Sega and Eidos are already on board to make games.
Madden's game is a football-season staple--right up there with giant foam fingers and threats from our bookie. Even in its 14th year, the franchise has tweaked the formula enough to justify forking over cash that could be bet against the Jets. Madden NFL 2004 (EA Sports, PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation, PC) includes Playmaker Control, a feature that lets wannabe coaches adjust plays and defensive coverage on the fly like a pro, and a play editor (PC only) for building original playbooks from scratch. Updated graphics and improved camera angles help sell fake handoffs and other trick plays to your opponent, whether he's parked next to you on the couch or across the country in the enhanced online multiplayer mode (PC and PS2 only). Looking for more depth? Take the owner's seat and relocate your team, set concession stand prices in your new stadium and hire your coaching staff. Ditka: Send us your résumé. --Marc Saltzman
The second epic movie in director Peter Jackson's adaptation of the Tolkien trilogy minimizes in-between-itis with eye-popping visuals and plenty of heroic bloodletting. The foremost special effect--and the ne plus ultra of CGI characters--is Gollum, a slithery humanoid that guides ring-bearing Frodo (Elijah Wood) to his fiery destiny (and exhibits more acting range than, say, Keanu Reeves). A subplot that introduces a race of talking trees ratchets up the geek factor, but immense battles pitting humans and elves against the armies of evil rescue the proceedings from the Dungeons & Dragons crowd. Extras: The two-disc set offers eight featurettes, a documentary and a Return of the King teaser. [rating]3-1/2 bunnies[/rating] --Gregory P. Fagan
How the West was spun: By the Sixties, the Western had died out in American cinema, shot in the back by the saintly TV cowboys of Bonanza and Gunsmoke, et al. Meanwhile, in Europe, sword-and-sandal sagas were petering out. Filmmakers there looked to the Wild West for inspiration The new subspecies was dubbed spaghetti Western because the crews were often Italian The Euro Western didn't make much of an impact until Sergio Leone unleashed A Fistful of Dollars (1964), turning Clint Eastwood into an antihero icon and spawning two sequels, For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). The template was set for 600 films that followed. The taciturn lone wolf goes against the odds, always for money or revenge, never for love. Vivid violence, claustrophobic close-ups and whistling soundtracks were as essential as tumble-weed. Directors sent the genre riding into the sunset by raising the body count to absurd levels--the title character in Django (1966) slays a streetful of villains with a Gatling gun--and lowering the IQ (bottoming out with the Seventies comic Trinity series). Additional study:Sartana (1966), The Big Gundown (1966), The Hills Run Red (1967) and The Great Silence (1968) --B.M.
For much of Shakespeare in Love (1998), Gwyneth Paltrow is all too convincing in her disguise as a 16th century teenage boy. Finally (about 49 minutes into the disc), randy young bard Will Shakespeare untwirls her binding body wrap to reveal true charms. And when they proceed to make a steamy couplet, she doth not protest one damn bit.
Helmut Neustaedter grew up in prewar Berlin in a family of relative privilege. He was slightly effeminate, got beat up by schoolmates and was sexually obsessed at an early age. Here he recounts his development as a rake and as Helmut Newton, famous fashion photographer. We even learn why women who wear monocles drive him "sexually insane" Happily, half of the book is devoted to his photos--sometimes it's better not to know the origin of his kinky images. (Doubleday)[rating]2-1/2 bunnies[/rating]
Every new Palahniuk novel arrives with an expectation of biting social commentary and a warped plot that makes you wonder, What the hell is this guy on? From the anarchic pugilists of Fight Club to a guy who fake gags for attention in Choke to the real estate agent who hawks haunted houses in Lullaby, Palahniuk has never spun a conventional tale. Diary revolves around Misty Tracy Wilmot, an artist turned maid whose carpenter husband, Peter, lingers in a coma after a suicide attempt. Misty discovers Peter's "diary," a series of scathing remarks about her scrawled on hidden walls in houses he has remodeled, and she fixates on analyzing these diatribes. The book scores high marks for originality, unfortunately, it lacks Palahniuk's usual cranked-up energy and fails to make readers care about the characters. That said, even mediocre Palahniuk is pretty damn good (Doubleday)[rating]3-1/2 bunnies[/rating]Alison Prato
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto
This collection of essays by the author of 2001's charming Fargo Rock City will make you question your most dearly held beliefs about popular culture. In each chapter, Klosterman makes a wild assertion--John Cusack has single-handedly destroyed the possibility of true love, human interaction is meaningless without a soundtrack, Billy Joel is great--then attempts to persuade you. Some of his arguments aren't so convincing: The Real World does not keep getting better and better. But Klosterman finds insight in banal stuff such as breakfast cereal and Saved by the Bell and uses these pop-culture artifacts as a ready excuse to analyze those of us who readily consume them. (Scribner)[rating]3 bunnies[/rating]
Most writers would cut off their thumbs to have a bankable hero in one thriving series. Mosley has three. That there are three decent men, even fictional ones (including Easy Rawlins and Socrates Fortlow), living in Los Angeles may defy plausibility. But Fear Itself makes us believe in book dealer Pans Minton, a man with a dangerous streak of curiosity, and his friend, Fearless Jones, dangerous in a more straightforward fashion. Ostensibly hired to find a missing husband, they track a stolen emerald and a missing slave diary. How they interact and deal with shady competitors and cheating girlfriends is fascinating read mg (Little, Brown)[rating]3 bunnies[/rating]
Thirty years ago Bangs invented rock and roll criticism. Since his death in 1982, no one has come close to replicating his insight or manic energy. of course, the delightfully passionate Bangs wouldn't stand a chance in most music publications today. If he found the Seventies to be "dunced-out and depleted," what would he have to say about the era of Viacom? He had the misfortune of having standards during a time when there were no standards. Mainlines, the second posthumous collection of Bangs's rambunctious and contradictory writings, shows why his peculiar genius refuses to perish. (Anchor)[rating]3 bunnies[/rating]
How much better would your sex life be if you could reveal your subconscious desires without fear of getting slapped or dubbed a pervert? On Playboy TV's new show The Extreme Truth, bedroom doors are flung open--without judgment--when hypnotherapist Tom Silver puts real couples under to uncover deep-rooted sexual impulses, preferences and fears. Then, because it's on Playboy TV, actors reenact the fantasies in salacious detail.
While Us Weekly and True Hollywood Story claim to report on the intimate details of celebrities' lives--from Jen Aniston's mismatched bikini (egad!) to what the Rock ate for lunch--they have nothing on Playboy.com. In our Dirty Dozen sex Q. and A., boldfaced-namers tell all about what happens between the sheets.
Lamborghini's new Gallardo (pronounced "gai-yardo"), named for a breed of Spanish fighting bulls, is a mighty beast that's bargain-basement priced (a mere $160,000) compared with its big brother, the $282,000 Murcielago. No wonder it was the star of this year's New York Auto Show. Lambo's Giuseppe Greco lifted the velvet rope so we could slip behind the wheel--even if he wouldn't let us fire up the 500 horses. (Too bad. It would've been fun watching the tire kickers run for cover.) All the exotica you expect from Lamborghini is standard: a midmounted V10 engine, six-speed manual transmission with paddle shifting, four-wheel drive, Brembo brakes, electronic stability control, Koni shocks and an aluminum frame. Sorry, no cupholders.
Having exhausted conventional means of defeating drug traffickers and users--beefing up security at the border, firebombing crops, doling out hefty prison sentences--Thailand has gone straight for the kill. Literally.
Last spring the media had a minor feeding frenzy over two discoveries: that a Republican senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum, had a strong opinion about homosexuality, and that former drug czar and family values advocate William Bennett had apparently lost millions of dollars at Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos. We'll focus first on the freethinking Mr. Santorum.
And then there is William Bennett. Joshua Green, a former Forum editorial assistant who left for the Washington beat, nailed down rumors that Mr. Virtue, the man who once wanted to hang drug dealers from lampposts, has a love for the slots.
Last year the Justice Department announced the Terrorism Information and Prevention System, a hotline to allow postal carriers, utility workers and truckers to report "suspicious, publicly observable activity that could be related to terrorism." Operation TIPS died because of privacy concerns. But there are still plenty of places for loyal Americans to share their suspicions:
Several travelers met in an elevator in a Hong Kong hotel. Three weeks later, three were dead and the disease they carried had spread around the planet. This is the human story behind SARS and the heroic efforts to stop it.
A photo in our June issue of intern Jenny Haase, Playboy's inaugural Employee of the Month, got readers so riled up that the e-mail hasn't stopped dinging. The consensus? "More Jenny!" In the Chicago office, the vibe is similar: Everyone is fighting over the Columbia College student, and somehow she's been suckered into working in three departments: Art, Photo and Editorial. Jenny's fresh looks and Midwestern work ethic (she grew up in Des Plaines, Illinois) have made such an impact that she was even invited to Hef's 77th birthday party. "That was a trip and a half," she says. "The Mansion is like a four-star hotel. When I introduced myself to Hef, he already knew who I was! I about fell on the floor." Jenny spent the rest of the night hobnobbing with Justin Timberlake and Bettie Page. So is our favorite intern ready to ditch Chicago for Los Angeles? "I've always wanted to experience Hollywood glamour," she says. "When I was younger, I loved Dirty Dancing. I wanted to be Jennifer Grey. But you know what? If this modeling thing doesn't work out, that's OK, because I never even considered sending my photos to Playboy. I can't believe this is happening. I want to sit back, enjoy it and take it as far as I can."
Put it all on 28. Make that 29. Oh hell, just put it on black." If you feel that trying to make sense of the upcoming NFL season has become like playing the big wheel in Las Vegas, you're not alone. Sure, your best friend claims to have picked the Buccaneers, the Patriots and the Ravens. But he also claims he shorted Enron stock and knows Heidi Klum's cell number.
Quarterback: Mark Brunell, Jacksonville Jaguars ($6.75 million) Once upon a time, Brunell was the hottest gun in the NFL. Now he's an interception-prone scrub whose job rookie Byron Leftwich is waiting to snatch.
If real estate is all about location, location, location, then picking up girls is all about determination, determination, determination. To test that hopeful if tenuous theory, I decided to reject typical hookup hot spots (bars, clubs, Congress) and apply my powers of seduction at some new hunting grounds--alternative locales that respectable society killjoys would deem inappropriate at best and, at worst, deserving of police attention. Could such counterintuitive behavior make me the luckiest guy in the greater Los Angeles area?
Luci Victoria calls Sheffield--an English city known for its cutlery--home, but this sharp 21-year-old model seems to play in a world-size backyard. "My mom's side of the family lives in Cleveland, Ohio, but I was born in England," she says in an alluring, breathy voice. "All my friends are English, but people sometimes say that my accent is a mixture and that it's hard to place."
A woman was having her house painted. Her husband came home from work and accidentally leaned against a freshly painted wall. The next day she said to the painter, "Do you want to see where my husband put his hand last night?"
My boyfriend and I were in the Bahamas at the Atlantis resort. They had this place called the Ocean Club--it's a spa hotel, very small, with these little villas. We broke into one at about three in the morning and we were out on the balcony. It was warm, we're looking at the stars and I went down on him, he went down on me, we made love in, like, a hundred different ways in a hundred different positions. I like a strong man who can flip me into different positions. We were there for eight hours. That was the most amazing night of sex I've ever had because it was with someone I loved, it was in an exotic location, we were breaking into a place where we shouldn't be, we had to be quiet because someone could come by and hear us. We were in a stage of our relationship where we were comfortable doing everything.
The road into the Navajo Nation runs in curves through harsh open range. I'd been headed that way for hours, past clusters of mobile homes and small ranch houses dotting the landscape of chaparral and tumbleweed.
There's a reason Starbucks coffeehouses have sprung up on every other street corner, and it isn't just the overpriced java. Frankly, we could grab a cup o'joe anywhere, but we'd miss the eye-opening ritual of being waited on by the caffeine cartel's seemingly bottomless supply of gorgeous counter help. Whether they are whipping up frappuccinos in San Francisco or macchiatos in Miami, these beautiful baristas, as they are called, are the best part of waking up, and if they smile and ask if we would also like to purchase a chunk of biscotti or a Starbucks CD, who are we to say no? Watching these lovelies coax steam out of an espresso machine, we can't help wondering if they're as hot as a fresh-brewed cup when not on the job. Finding out can be a challenge, since an invitation to "grab a cup of coffee after work sometime" is likely to be met with an amused stare. So when we put out the call to the women of Starbucks for a pictorial, we were thrilled at the number of baristas more than willing to shed their standard-issue aprons--and everything else. This job has its perks.
Below is a list of retailers and manufacturers you can contact for information on where to find this month's merchandise. To buy the apparel and equipment shown on pages 33, 43--44, 90--93, 114--121 and 159, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
Credits: Photography By: P. S. Jason Alexander, Ron Mesaros, Tim Shaffer/Reuters/Landov, Ronald Siemoneit/Corbis Sygma, Allen St. John; P 7 Stephen Wayda, Kent Williams; P. 8 George Georgiou, Stephen Wayda, Rob Wilson; P. 13 Art Foxall, Kenneth Johansson (7), Elayne Lodge (10); P. 15 Stephen Wayda; P. 16 Audia Photography; P. 21 Charles Bush, Corbis; P. 22 Corbis, George Georgiou, Gen Nishino (2); P. 27 Corbis (6); P. 29. Phillip Caruso. 2003 Revolution Studio Distribution Company, LLC. All Rights Reserved, Columbia/Courtesy Everett Collection, Inc., Francois Duhamel/ 2003 Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line/Courtesy Everett Collection, Inc., Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection, Inc.; P. 30 Everett Collection, Inc.; P. 32 Neal Preston/Corbis, Retna Ltd., Retna UK, P. 34 Columbia/Courtesy Everett Collection, Everett Collection, Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection, New Line/Courtesy Everett Collection, Photofest, United Artists/Courtesy Everett Collection, P. 38 Photolink/Photodisc/Picturequest, R. Scott Hooper; P. 40 J. Giamundo/2003 World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.; P. 43 Paul Moore; P. 44 George Georgiou, Michael Neveux/Corbis, Zuma Press; P. 58 CJ Walker P. 59 Rob Brown/Sportpics, Getty Images, Reuters/Landov (3); P. 68 Corbis 4; P. 69 Richard Chung/Reuters, Corbis; P. 70 Corbis (5); P. 78 Corbis; P. 79 Corbis, Getty Images; P. 80 Getty Images; P. 81 CBS/Landov/Wireimage.com, Gregg Deguire/Wireimage.com/Landov, Getty Images (5); Sportspics, Dan Steinberg/Getty Images; P. 82 Corbis/Getty Images (2); P. 85 Rachel Worth/Worth-A-Million.com; P. 90 Leno Photo Courtesy of Cycleworld; P. 108 Corbis; P. 109 Scott Anderson, Corbis; P. 110 Scott Anderson, AP; P. 111 Getty Images (7); P. 123 Arny Freytag, Stephen Wayda; P. 133 Kevin Wilkes, P. 136 Chuck M. Gallyon; P. 137 Kevin Wilkes; P. 155 Jean-Paul Aussenard/Wireimage.com, Lester Cohen/Wireimage.com (3), Gregg Deguire/Wireimage.com, Kevin Mazur/Wireimage.com, Kerry Morris, Nopi (2); P. 156 James Gonis, Andew Goldman, Rick Diamond/Wireimage.com, Roger Karnbad/Celebrityphoto.com, Kevin Mazur/Wireimage.com, Mizuno, Miranda Shen/Celebrityphoto.com (3); P. 162 David Mecey, Matt Wagemann (4); P. 163 Everett Collection, Inc., Matt Wagemann (5); P. 164 Arny Freytag, Benjamin Marra, David Rams, Reuters/Landov, Illustrations By: P. 22 Rob Wilson; P. 43 Bill Benway, P. 19 Hair By Will Carrillo for Cloutier, Makeup By Geoffrey Rodriquez for Smashbox Agency, Styling By Caroline Fahrer Debes; PP. 114--121 Hair By David Cotteblanche for Frederick Fekkai, NYC. Makeup By Gunn Espegard for Celestineagency.com, Prop Styling By Antonio Ballatore for Celestineagency.com, Women's Styling By Meriem Orlet. Cover: Model: Signe Noroli. Photographer: Arny Freytag, Hair and Makeup: Kimberly Ex, Styling: Lane W., Produced By Marilyn Grabowski.
Knives remind us of a classic spaghetti Western--there's the good, the badass and the ugly. All the blades featured on this page are cutting edge, of course. Spyderco's new titanium-handled folding knife, the ATR (At the Ready), is so light you may forget you're toting it--which is great when you're hiking up a mountain, but not so great when you're rushing through airport security. Kershaw's Shun Classic series of knives are beautiful, supersharp and well balanced. Keep them on your kitchen counter and your dinner guests will assume you are a culinary genius. In the market for a big knife? The Woodsman's Pal, a land-clearing tool that's been around since World War II, is perfect for bushwhacking your overgrown Montana acreage.
Girls of the big 10--this year our incredibly popular college girls pictorial focuses on the babes of the big Midwestern state schools. you can see why they're teachers' pets. let's just hope their tuition-paying dads aren't reading this