2014 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Entertainment

Everyone loves watching a great movie or TV series, so we’ve compiled some of our favorite releases from the past year that just about guy will enjoy. And for more gift ideas, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

The Wolf of Wall Street

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It’s been a while since Martin Scorsese’s last truly great film, but the director has rebounded in style with “The Wolf of Wall Street,” highlighted by Terrence Winter’s hilarious script and Leonard DiCaprio’s brilliant turn as Jordan Belfort. You’ve never seen the actor quite like this before, and he’s in top form as the notorious stockbroker, delivering what is arguably his best performance with Scorsese yet. The rest of the cast is great as well, especially Jonah Hill in another award-worthy turn, up-and-comer Margot Robbie and Matthew McConaughey in a short but memorable cameo. Loud, flashy and totally obscene, the movie is like a private tour through Belfort’s excessive, hard-partying lifestyle, including easily one of the greatest sequences of the year. (Hint: it involves a highly potent strain of Quaaludes.) Though it’s a little too long for its own good, the characters are so magnetic and the dialogue so fast and funny that “The Wolf of Wall Street” is hard not to enjoy. It’s Scorsese’s best film in years, and one that will only get better with time.

Gravity

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It’s been six years since Alfonso Cuarón’s last feature film – the criminally underrated “Children of Men” – but his outer space survival thriller was well worth the wait. “Gravity” is the kind of movie that will likely change the way films are made in the future. From the stunning, single-take opening sequence that lasts more than 12 minutes, to the numerous set pieces throughout, “Gravity” is such a technical marvel that it looks like Cuarón shot the whole damn thing in space. Though the story is ridiculously simple, not a single second of its 91-minute runtime is wasted, extracting so much suspense from the film’s terrifying setup that the brief injections of comedy (courtesy of George Clooney’s easygoing astronaut) are a welcome reprieve from the almost unrelenting intensity. Sandra Bullock delivers one of the best performances of her career as the rookie astronaut caught up in a seemingly impossible situation, but the real star of “Gravity” is Cuarón himself, and he deserves every bit of praise for creating what can only be described as pure movie magic.

Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season

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Creators David Benioff and D.B Weiss have stated numerous times that they set Season Three as the unofficial benchmark as to whether or not the show would be a success, and it’s easy to see why, because it showcases the full complexity and richness of the universe that they inherited from George R.R. Martin. The third season expands its scope even further than the previous year, with several new characters quickly making their mark, and old ones (like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s Jamie Lannister, one of the season’s MVPs) continuing to evolve within that moral gray area where “Game of Thrones” thrives. It also featured some of the most shocking story developments to date, perhaps none more so than Episode 9’s infamous Red Wedding, which made Ned Stark’s beheading look like child’s play in comparison and was without a doubt one of the biggest television events of last year. The audience reaction to that episode is very telling of the show’s pop cultural footprint, and when the writing and acting is this good, it’s no surprise why its popularity continues to grow.

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2014 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gadgets

Gadgets dominate our lives, and you can always start these days with dad’s phone. If he has the latest and greatest, don’t even bother. But if he’s still tied to his lame flip phone, then of course you can go with an iPhone or a new Android phone to get him into the 21st century.

If you’re looking for something a little different, however, we’ve put together some ideas for you. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

Winegard FlatWave Amped Indoor Antenna

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With cord-cutting at an all-time high, products like the Winegard FlatWave Amped are going to change the way that people consume television. This indoor HDTV antenna can pick up HD-quality channels up to 50 miles away, features dual-band reception so you won’t miss out on channels that other UHF-only antennas do, and prevents pixelation and dropouts using an ultra-low noise (1dB) amplifier. It’s lightweight and razor-thin (about the width of a plastic placemat) and can lay flat on a surface or hang on the wall or window for the best reception. Better yet, since the antenna is powered through the USB port on your TV, it only consumes power when the television is turned on. It sounds too good to be true, but within minutes of connecting the FlatWave Amped, we had 25 channels to choose from, including all of the major networks. This thing really works, and at a fraction of the cost of your annual cable bill.

Phosphor Touch Time Watch

Smartwatches are all the rage these days, but don’t let the Phosphor Touch Time digital watch fool you, because its lack of interconnectivity prevents it from competing with the more advanced models. Nevertheless, the Touch Time is still a major step up from your typical wristwatch thanks to some cool features, including a touch interface that’s incredibly easy to use, five different time displays, and custom language settings for English, French, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish and German. Some of the included apps feel a bit useless on such a small screen – particularly the calendar mode – but the time zone display is incredibly useful, astronomy geeks will love the lunar moon function, and the old-school calculator is a nice touch. One of the best things about the Touch Time is that you never have to sync or charge it because it’s powered by a replaceable battery (with up to a one-year life span), while the ability to upgrade from a silicone band to a stainless steel bracelet means that you can wear the same watch to work and the gym without anyone being the wiser.

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Cobra AirWave 360

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There are a lot of portable speakers to choose from these days, but many of them are impossible to use in the car due to their shape or size. The Cobra AirWave 360, on the other hand, is practically built for that purpose – a portable, 8-inch speaker that’s been smartly designed to look like a coffee tumbler and will fit into just about any vehicle or bicycle cup holder. You could even argue that it deters potential thieves, since no one is going to steal your mug, unless they’re really big jerks. For as functional as its design may be, however, the AirWave 360 also delivers 360-degree surround sound and features an integrated, noise-cancelling microphone that works with Siri and S Voice. There’s even a cool Gesture Control feature that enables you to pause music and answer incoming calls by simply waving your hand over the top of the speaker, and although that may not technically be considered hands-free, it’s a lot safer than the alternative.

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2014 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gear

Here’s a grab bag of Father’s Day gift ideas geared towards looking good, from belts and sunglasses, to accessories for your favorite gadgets. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our annual gift guide.

Mission Belt Co.

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We’re always searching for the latest fashion accessories, and we love the way that Mission Belt Co. has completely revolutionized how a belt should be worn. Instead of the classic design – comprised of a belt buckle and hole-punched strap – Mission belts don’t have any holes at all. They use a ratchet system that makes putting the belt on and taking it off much faster and easier, all while providing a more perfect fit. And because you’re not constantly pulling the belt tongue in and out of holes, or rubbing the metal buckle against the band, you don’t have to worry about the wear and tear that occurs on a typical leather belt. Each Mission belt is also made of high-quality leather and can easily be trimmed down should you need to shorten it after losing some weight. In fact, they’re so durable that the only reason you’ll need to buy more than one is because you want a different look, and with over 50 belt and buckle color combinations available, every guy is going to want at least a few of these in their closet. Heck, Mission Belt Co. knows that better than anyone, which is why they’ve created variety three-packs specifically designed for Father’s Day gift giving.

Element Case Ducati Line

It’s really hard to find great accessories for mobile devices – ones that are practical, durable and stylish enough that you’re not embarrassed to carry it around in public – but Element Case has teamed up with the makers of Ducati motorcycles to create a line of cases and covers that any guy would love. In addition to the popular Rogue and ION 5 models, which feature backplates made of carbon fiber, iPhone 5/5s users can pick up the sleek and chic Solace, the slimmest in the Ducati line with CNC-machined, aircraft-grade aluminum end-caps and a shock-absorbing polycarbonate chassis with a soft-touch finish. It’s hands-down the best iPhone case we’ve ever used – solid without being bulky. And for those that need to protect their iPad on the go, look no further than the Soft-Tec Folio. The outer Tech-Grip material has a non-slip synthetic coating to ensure a firm grip and enhanced ergonomics, while the inside is lined with plush synthetic suede that protects the screen. Though it doesn’t look quite as high-end as the Solace, the Soft-Tec Folio features the same excellent craftsmanship and stylish design of the entire Element/Ducati line. It’s just a shame that more cross-brand partnerships aren’t this awesome.

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Shwood Louisville Slugger Sunglasses

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Wooden eyeglass frames have been slowly coming back into fashion over the last few years, but the guys at Shwood have taken the fad to the next level by teaming up with Louisville Slugger to produce sunglasses using the reclaimed ash wood from Slugger Ashwood baseball bats. Available in two different styles – the Canby and the Haystack – the frames are made in the United States (Portland, Oregon to be exact), with wood manipulation kept to a minimum in order to showcase the medium’s natural and unique splendor. These sunglasses positively ooze the spirit of America’s favorite pastime, from the two-tone, black and white tips reminiscent of Slugger’s iconic paint-dipped bats, to the leather carrying case that smells like your childhood baseball mitt. Both frames are offered as part of the Shwood Original and Select collections, with Original models packaged with a branded wool pouch and custom trading card, while the Select kit includes a matching, limited edition bat, leather travel case and more. Can you think of a better gift for the sport-loving father in your life than this?

Altitude Pro Boot from Hi-Tec

This waterproof boot is very comfortable and has a rugged yet modern style that most guys will like in a hiking boot. It features an abrasion resistant heel and toecap that protects against rough terrains, and it also has a Vibram rubber outsole that delivers great traction. We were impressed with the comfort and traction, so they make the perfect gift for the active person, or for someone looking for an excuse to become more active! Give the boots and also schedule a hiking trip with dad – now that’s a cool gift.

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Alara Shirts and Ties

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You’ll find tons of great gift ideas at AlaraShirt.com from their selection of shirts and ties. They offer a wide variety of shirt styles in slim fits and standard cuts as well. Keep that in mind when ordering for dad. We tried two slim-fit shirts that looked great on the website – the lavender grid slim fit shirt and the navy/white pencil stripe slim fit shirt and were very happy with both. The colors are very vibrant and the shirts were very well constructed and fit perfectly. The shirts are made with two-ply Egyptian cotton with meticulous craftsmanship, including 18 fine stitches per inch ensuring durability, adjustable mittered barrel cuffs, ultra flexible removable collar stays, side gussets for style and strength and Alara’s exclusive unbreakable mother of pearl blend buttons. The tie selection is also impressive, and the prices are very reasonable for the quality. With each item, you also get Alara’s 15-day, no hassle free return policy. So check them out and you’ll probably want some for yourself as well.

Duke Cannon Supply Co. Gift Sets

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Looking for something that meets the high standards of hard working men who want to get clean without drowning their manhood in shower gels? Duke Cannon Supply Co. makes shopping for dad easy with the launch of four pre-packaged men’s grooming gift sets inspired by famous TV fathers like Walter White, Cliff Huxtable, Phillip Drummond and Ned Stark (yes, it includes “Big Ass” bricks of soap and a hatchet). Available at four different price tiers, each set contains a selection of Duke Cannon’s best-selling grooming products along with a free gift. And if you’re not interested in the famous TV dad sets, they have plenty more available, including a limited edition U.S. military field box set that includes Big Ass bricks of soap that smell like “Victory,” “Accomplishment,” “Productivity” and “Naval Supremacy.”

The Wallet Shoppe

If dad can use a new wallet, check out the wide selection at The Wallet Shoppe. The selection is huge and you can find everything from classic wallets for dad to trendy wallets for that brother who still wants to feel young even though he’s juggling three kids. Some may like the idea of a wallet that more like a money clip, and we tried out the 6-card wallet by Dosh pictured below. This wallet is is great for the person on the go and it’s unlike most traditional wallets. Dosh offers a unique designs that is moulded in TPU – a durable, water-resistant polymer material that feels rich and soft. The money clip is crafted from high grade stainless steel and is located on the spine to ensure easy access and organization.
 Browse the site and you’ll find more great options.

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2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Guy Stuff

Guys are pretty easy to shop for. Most of the time you can just get stuff you’d buy for yourself. Yet sometimes, when you’re shopping for your dad, brother or any other guy on your shopping list, you have to cast a wider net as tastes obviously vary. But at least you can pick up some stuff for yourself as you’re browsing.

Click on the image next to each item to purchase it online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Watches

A nice watch is the ultimate accessory for men, and the right watch can make any man look good.

Tendence Gulliver Round Urban Men’s Watch

Here’s a slick and trendy new watch featuring a black silicone band and a black, round face with stylized white numbers. It’s a trendy look that’s not too extreme and should appeal to a wide variety of consumers. It’s great for a night on the town but also for everyday use. It’s the kind of watch people will notice, and you can check out other round watches from Tendence for other colors and styles.

Leather Strap Watch from Calvin Klein

If you’re looking for something elegant but with beautiful understated design, check out this Calvin Klein Stainless Steel Case Leather Men’s Watch. The silver, stainless steel face of the watch contrasts nicely with the black leather band. The watch is also water resistant up 100 feet. It’s a perfect watch for business or evening attire.

Luxury Sport Watch from Tommy Hilfiger

Most guys would love to have a nice sport watch, and this Sport Luxury Chronograph and Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch from Tommy Hilfiger offers a great choice. It has a stainless steel case and bracelet, and black chronograph dial for a sporty but elegant look that can be worn anywhere. It’s water-resistant to 165 feet and features a durable mineral crystal to protect the watch from scratches. It’s a high-quality item for a reasonable price.

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Dakota Watches

Much like that other watch company named after a certain archeological discovery, Dakota has been providing quality wristwatches at respectable prices for several decades. Ranging from sports watches to elegant timepieces, Dakota’s unique collection has something for every personality, gender and age. One of the more popular styles – the Dakota Spider – resembles a high-end luxury watch at a fraction of the price, with 330 feet of Stingray water resistance, mineral glass crystal and a stainless steel band. (There’s even a cool Rose Gold variation that’s perfect for the special lady in your life.) The collection also includes digital watches for those who lead active lifestyles, leather bands for formal and casual settings, and an entire rainbow’s worth of eye-popping colors. But most importantly, Dakota makes great watches that you can depend on, and until that changes, you won’t find a better gift for that friend or family member whom you’re not sure what to buy.

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2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Books and Documentaries

Whether you’re shopping for someone that likes to kick back with a good book or graphic novel, or enjoys watching documentaries and other non-fiction films, you’ll find several great suggestions here.

Click on the image next to each item to purchase it online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Before Watchmen Collections

Have you ever wondered what happened before the events of “Watchmen”? Creator Alan Moore has been pretty outspoken about his thoughts on the matter, but that didn’t stop DC Comics from enlisting some of the industry’s best writers and artists to create eight new miniseries exploring the histories of characters like Nite Owl, Rorschach, The Comedian, Dr. Manhattan, Silk Spectre and Ozymandias. Serving as a prequel to the original 12-issue series, the “Before Watchmen” comics have since been collected in four hardcover editions, and the end result is a pretty mixed bag, especially since each collection features at least two characters per book. Though that’s good news for diehard fans, those that want to read J. Michael Straczynski’s Nite Owl series but couldn’t care less about his Dr. Manhattan story, for instance, are screwed. Additionally, some of the series are much better than others, with Darwyn Cooke’s Minutemen yarn the clear standout. Still, if you know someone who loves “Watchmen” that doesn’t mind that the property’s original creators aren’t involved, “Before Watchmen” makes for interesting supplemental reading.

American Experience: JFK

The story of John F. Kennedy is one of the most fascinating in American history. Regardless of your opinion of our 35th President, he will always be an iconic figure in American history, due to both the pivotal nature of his presidency and his tragic assassination. Debates will rage on about his performance in office and the circumstances surrounding his assassination, and his prolific adventures with the opposite sex have been fodder for the tabloids for decades. His story will captivate anyone who appreciates American history, so any documentary is likely to maintain the attention of viewers. But it’s hard to imagine anyone telling the story better than the folks at PBS who produce “American Experience.” They have consistently told the story of America through its presidents and other influential Americans in a series of compelling documentaries. “JFK” easily lives up to that legacy, and it’s a must-see, as this year we marked the 50th anniversary of that terrible day in Dallas. Like other “American Experience” documentaries, this is not just a story of the JFK presidency, but also the man.

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