Al Pacino has never relished talking to the media. When we approached him for the Playboy Interview in 1979, he agreed only after reading Marlon Brando's Interview--and with the stipulation that we hire "the guy who did Brando." So it's no wonder that we again tapped the guy who did Brando, the estimable Lawrence Grobel, to sit down with Pacino for a 20Q about life and his new DVD releases. "I met him through the Interview, and we have become friends--we even play cards together," Grobel says. "He doesn't do many interviews. He is more comfortable talking to somebody he trusts, plus that way I get more out of him. One problem with being friends with Pacino is that he becomes the character he is playing at the time. When he was shooting The Devil's Advocate I stayed away because he remained downright demonic even after he'd left the set."
Chinese American actress Eugenia Yuan isn't a bad girl, but she plays one in Memoirs of a Geisha. "Gong Li and I are a team--we're the evil geishas," she says. "Well, not straight-up evil. Being a geisha was very difficult because there was a lot of competition. In the book my character is the tall, stupid, ugly geisha." Eugenia is none of the above, but that's Hollywood casting for you. She was born and raised in America but is Hong Kong cinema royalty: Her mother is legendary actress Cheng Pei Pei, who played the evil Jade Fox in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. So how was it growing up with a mom nicknamed the Queen of Swords? "There was discipline every day," Eugenia recalls. "If I didn't do my homework, I'd get a kick." Eugenia is trained in martial arts and won Hong Kong's equivalent of an Oscar for her turn in the horror flick Three, but what she really wants to do is make people laugh. "I love sarcasm and dark comedy," she says. "I don't think that when people look at me they necessarily think I'm funny. My favorite role was in Mail Order Wife. It's a fake documentary, and I played the bride. That was the most fun ever." Geisha isn't likely to boost Eugenia's comedy career, but it is sure to win her a few admirers. "In America," she says, "I've never been seen as this sexy person or the girl who's hot. But Playboy is a big step. Maybe now people will see me in a different way."
In Are Men Necessary?: When Sexes Collide (Putnam), Maureen Dowd, a columnist for The New York Times, takes a provocative look at the waning usefulness of men in today's world. We couldn't let such a brash query go unquizzed.
I slept with a guy who said he hadn't had sex in a year. After one stroke he came and said he needed another condom. He put it on, slid inside me, pumped once and came again. Another condom, another stroke and he was done. This "lovemaking" took two minutes, and he never made any effort to please me. The next morning we made out. Without my touching him and while fully clothed, he creamed himself. Again he made no effort to satisfy me. I thought I liked the guy, but now I'm pissed. When he asked me later if I missed him, he showed no sign of embarrassment. He has told our mutual friends that he thinks sex is overrated. Does that mean he doesn't enjoy it either? We are not talking about a teenager. This guy is in his mid-30s and was married for four years. Should I tell him that he has a problem or let some other poor woman suffer?--L.R., Jacksonville, Florida
In the spring of this year Florida governor Jeb Bush signed into law the "Stand Your Ground" bill, which took effect in October. A commentator on MSNBC called it the "shoot first and ask questions later" bill, which will allow Floridians to "get away with murder." The Palm Beach Post called it the Clint Eastwood bill, a reference to Dirty Harry. The Times of London called it the kill bill, after the Quentin Tarantino movies, and claimed it gives Floridians a license to kill.
The less virtue we have in our society, the more the need for government to control our lives," Senator Rick Santorum (R.--Pa.) tells hundreds of impressionable young adults at the 2005 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. Hours later I'm hanging out with two CPAC attendees, Steve and Doug, College Republicans from Ohio, at Coyote Ugly. "If you want to fuck a girl in the ass, you can't ask for it," says Doug. "You have to do it subtle. Get some saliva on your finger when you're fucking her in the pussy and slide it up her asshole, then press gently. She'll love it, and after that she's open to anything."
From a Ruling by Justice James Nelson of the Montana Supreme Court, which voted 5-2 to allow police to search for evidence in a suspect's trash. Nelson sided with the majority but expressed his doubts: "My garbage contains my DNA. Like it or not, I live in a society that accepts virtual strip searches at airports, surveillance cameras, discount cards that record my buying habits, spyware on my computer, online access to satellite technology that can image my backyard and microchip RFIDs implanted in the family dog and soon to be integrated into my groceries, credit cards, cash and underwear. I know that the notes from the visit to my doctor may be transcribed in some overseas country under an outsourcing contract by a person who couldn't care less about my privacy. I know that there are all sorts of businesses that have records of what medications I take. I know that my insurance companies and employer know more about me than does my mother. Absent the next extinction event or civil libertarians taking charge of the government (the former being more likely than the latter), the best we can do is try to keep Uncle Sam on a short leash."
In 1776 our fathers declared that "all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed." It was a notice to the church that mankind would govern and protect itself. The Constitution marked out the limitations of discretion so that in the excitement of passion men shall not go beyond the point designated in the calm moment of reason.
GoldenEye (1995) After escaping from his captors, Bond tails a general and ends up in a vehicle-storage area, in danger of losing his prey and his life to assassins. With nary an Aston Martin in sight, he steals a tank and sets off through St. Petersburg, then deliberately parks it in the path of a train packed with ICBMs. Ka-boom!Why it rocks: A steely-eyed Bond wreaks utter havoc while dressed to kill.
Snow he could take, but this wasn't snow; it was sleet. There was at least an inch of it in the gutters and clamped atop the cars, and the sidewalks had been worked into a kind of pocked gray paste that was hell on his shoes--and not just the shine but the leather itself. He was thinking of last winter--or was it the winter before that?--and a pair of black-and-whites he'd worn onstage, really sharp, and how they'd got ruined in slop just like this. He'd been with a girl who'd waited through three sets for him that night, and her face was lost to him, and her name too, but she had a contour on her--that much he remembered--and by the time they left she was pretty well lit and she pranced into the street outside the club and lifted her face to the sky. Why don't we walk? she sang out in a pure high voice as if she wanted everybody in New York to hear her. It's so glorious, isn't it? Can't you feel it? And he was lit himself, and instead of taking her by the wrist and flagging down a cab he found himself lurching up the street with her, one arm thrown over her shoulder to pull her to him and feel the delicious, discontinuous bump of her hip against his. Within half a block his cigarette had gone out and his face was as wet as if he'd been sprayed with a squirt gun; by the time they turned the corner his shoes were gone, and there was nothing either he or the solemn paisan at the shoe repair could do to work the white semicircular scars out of the uppers.
On August 5, 2005 former Los Angeles County prosecutor John Miner disclosed that he possessed transcripts of private, secret audiotapes Marilyn Monroe had recorded for her trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, several weeks before she died. Highly skeptical that the 36-year-old screen goddess had killed herself with barbiturates, Miner first came to his conclusions after witnessing Monroe's 1962 autopsy, conducted by then Los Angeles deputy medical examiner Dr. Thomas Noguchi. Greenson later invited Miner, who at the time was head of the DA's medical-legal section, to listen to Monroe's tapes on the condition that the doctor-patient confidentiality agreement be respected in perpetuity.
Dear Doctor, you have given me everything. Because of you I can now feel what I never felt before. I can come by myself and with somebody else. So now I am a whole woman (pun intended, like Shakespeare). Now I have control--control of myself, control of my life.
The black Dodge Ram weaves through traffic at 85 miles an hour like a tailback following a block. Destination: Jacksonville, Florida. The Little General taps his can of Skoal against the steering wheel, a silver Rolex glinting on his wrist. Junior, in faded jeans and mirrored shades, his blond hair cropped with a wave, rides shotgun.
Think of it as a minor insurrection: In a year when Hollywood tent-pole movies were enjoying their predictable, if unpredictably short, tenures atop the weekly box-office charts, in rolled Wedding Crashers. Not long ago such a merry sex romp might have trimmed its bawdiness and wedged itself into a PG-13 rating to attract throbbing adolescents. Instead, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn et al. took an R and unleashed their inner hounds. Moviegoers rejoiced; tired of masked men and special effects, they seemed glad to see some flesh and blood.
<p>You don't have to be Doctor Dolittle to date Miss December, but you should be open to some ardent petting. "If a guy doesn't like animals, it won't work," says Christine. "I've had dogs that just did not like somebody and basically chased him out the door. I had another 140-pound dog that would sit on the couch between me and my date and just start pushing to get between us as much as possible. They've been right so far, so I'm going to listen to the dogs from now on."</p>
Forget what grizzled middle-aged critics say, grasping their Velvet Underground, Television and Patti Smith records. Every year is a good year for music. Sure, some still sounds good years after it comes out. (A lot doesn't--we dare you to listen to Dinosaur Jr again.) And some of it sounds so good, it inspires a new generation of bands. But calling new music the same old shit? No way. Take Amerie's "1 Thing," one of our nominees for best song of the year. Just when sample-based hip-hop and R&B threaten to get stuck in a rut, this song comes along, taking a great guitar-and-drum workout from the Meters' "Oh, Calcutta!" and turning it into a brash celebration of love. Or take Jack Johnson, one of the year's hottest concert tickets. We never got into the David Gray phenomenon a few years back--and wigging out in an open field with 100,000 unwashed Phish fans always seemed about as enticing as, say, slamming your bozak in a car door--but Johnson, king of a new generation of flip-flop rock, brings a different vibe. That is, one we like. Same goes for the new experimental wave of Dirty South hip-hop. Last year, at the height of crunk, all you could do was make funny faces and shout "Yeah!" or "What?" Not exactly wowing the ladies with your poesy. This year guys such as David Banner and the Ying Yang Twins have brought seductiveness back to the clubs, whispering in girls' ears instead of elbowing people aside at the bar. Pop music is about change, evolution and creating a soundtrack to a particular time and place--its value is in its transience. Anyone still pining for another great Oasis album (which would bring the grand total of great Oasis albums to what, two?) must be out of his mind. Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs--we're in the midst of the best British invasion in a decade. And Franz Ferdinand has already made two classic albums--in the past 18 months. Don't get us wrong: A lot of the stuff out there is shite, and we're not denying it. Which is exactly why our annual readers poll is so important. With this ballot, dear reader, you define the soundtrack of the year, and with your vote you can tell the jaded critics where they can shove their copies of Here Come the Warm Jets.
Think of it like this: You're one of the nation's top basketball prospects. Maybe you're in high school, or maybe you're in college--it doesn't matter. You've just finished an impressive season, and now you have a decision to make. Do you shoot for a college diploma and a chance to play in the NCAA tournament, or do you try for an NBA contract with a signing bonus that would put you--and your family and entourage--on easy street for the rest of your life?
I am watching television when my father comes into the den. It is 1960 and I am 11 years old, and I know I'm going to get it. It's Sunday, the one day of the week my father is at home. My dad is quick to anger, and in this case I've given him a good excuse. I watch too much TV. Both parents have warned me, and I know my father will lance me with a dark look of suppressed violence and snap off the set.
During the brutal winter of 1944 the soldiers of G Company, under the command of an untested officer named David Dubin, found themselves surrounded by German forces. Outnumbered and short of ammunition, fuel and food, the Americans were ordered to defend a small farm road leading to the Belgian town of Bastogne. In the darkness of the final hours of Christmas Eve, with a German attack certain at dawn, Captain Dubin describes an unexpected break in the months-long savagery that came to be called the Battle of the Bulge.
Here are three things you should know up front about Rachel Veltri: (1) She loves bowling. (2) She can beat you at bowling. (3) She keeps a basketball in the trunk of her car, just in case. ("You never know when you're going to need one!" she says.) For some guys, number three alone makes her a dream girl. But keep reading; there's more.
Below is a list of retailers and manufacturers you can contact for information on where to find this month '$ merchandise. To buy the apparel and equipment shown on pages 40, 45--48, 120--125, 128--133 and 208--209, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
How best to describe snowboard cross, the newest addition to the Winter Olympic Games, set to debut in Turin in February? "The sport combines the need for speed of the world's best giant-slalom racers, the airborne poise of a top half-pipe pro and an NFL running back's love of contact," says 27-year-old California native Nate Holland (pictured), the U.S.'s best hope for gold. Let us make that a little clearer: Snowboard cross consists of heats of up to four boarders racing en masse from the top of a slope. First one to the bottom wins. On the way, there are bumps, banked turns and jumps on which riders catch as much as 35 feet of air. While hockey-style checking is against the rules, contact is not. "If there are two guys in there and you split them and one gets tossed, it's like they say-rubbing's racing," Holland muses. The keys to success are starting fast to avoid the fray, keeping air time brief (since snowboards are faster when they're on the snow) and finessing the critical uphill transitions between the jumps. The precompetition gold-medal favorite is Xavier Delarue of France, but don't tell that to Holland. "I'm going to win," he says. "Or I'm going to wreck trying."
Six years ago Britain's most prestigious architectural firm, Foster & Partners, broke ground on a visionary project. What you see here is the completed $300 million McLaren Technology Centre in Surrey, where McLaren builds its Formula One race cars. It's a factory, but you won't find any grease puddles. McLaren employs engineering Ph.D.s who wear Hugo Boss uniforms and design some of the fastest cars in the world. The goal was to develop a workplace as beautiful and technologically advanced as those cars. Inside you'll find a 145-meter wind tunnel and few lightbulbs (the place is lit mostly with natural light). Not a bad office space for CEO Ron Dennis, 58, who started out in the business as a junior mechanic. "It's a model for the new technological optimism," he says of the building, "a showcase of industrial architecture for the 21st century."
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), December 2005, volume 52, number 12. Published monthly by Playboy in national and regional editions, Playboy, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, Illinois and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post Canadian Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement No. 40035534. Subscriptions: in the U.S., $29.97 for 12 issues. Postmaster: Send address change to Playboy, P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007. For subscription-related questions, call 800-999-4438, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.