Tag Archives: Adult

Honour Among Thieves

French Netflix poster of season 3 of the Lupin tv show
image via Variety

On October 5th, part three of the acclaimed Lupin series will finally air on Netflix. One of my favourite shows, Lupin is an adaptation of Arsène Lupin by Maurice Leblanc, a classic French story about a world-famous gentleman thief and master of disguise. (Heads up: the show is also in French, but since I’m pro-subtitles even for my native English, I don’t mind this.)

Lupin had me thinking about the allure of gentlemen thieves—criminals with hearts (and motives!) of gold—and I thought it’d be fun to feature media of similar noble crooks.

But first, let’s define the term. According to TV Tropes, a gentleman thief has “…roguish good looks coupled with a breeding and style that manifests as a suave and debonair manner. He’s usually a charmer, too—think James Bond without the government authorization. He steals for the challenge/pleasure of the job and generally avoids violence while restricting his targets to those who can afford the loss.”

While gentlemen thieves are usually male, that’s not always the case. No doubt, several examples of such thieves have jumped to mind, but first, let’s start with some real life representatives of this trope!

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The Oscars: A Watchlist

If you’re an Oscars aficionado, make sure to join us on the evening of Thursday, March 24 for our Oscars Trivia Night!

It’s that time of year again! Time for stars to strut down the red carpet and for the rest of us to watch from our couches with a glass of wine and sweatpants. Yes, the Academy Awards are upon us, and unlike last year’s sad, weird COVID ceremony, this year promises to return the glitz and glam we’re all looking for.  

The limbo period between the nominees being announced and the ceremony proper is always fraught for the film fan. We love to celebrate our favourites getting a nom, but we also love to rant and rave about who, in a just world, should really be getting them. Ostensibly an award ceremony recognizing the best in the craft, the Oscars are notorious for things like name bias (bestowing awards on big name actors), age bias (Adrien Brody is the only man to win Best Actor under the age of 30, though plenty of young women have won Best Actress—after all, Hollywood likes its men old and its women young), and playing catch-up on overdue awards (see: Leo DiCaprio finally winning for The Revenant instead of, like, anything else). Then there’s the Western, English language bias of it all—as Bong Joon-ho put it, the Oscars are a “very local” award show.  

And of course, the Oscars wouldn’t be the Oscars without a full list of snubs for people to rage about on Twitter. Every year there are some headscratchers, people or movies that seem like locks for nominations, only to be shut out. There was palpable shock when Lady Gaga was ignored for her House of Gucci performance (although, with that accent? I don’t know). Don’t Look Up’s Best Picture nom sparked highly annoying discourse from both fans and detractors.  

Since we all love to share our opinions on who is most deserving of these esteemed, slightly silly awards, below you’ll find my picks for the best films in the race this year—whether or not they were nominated for Best Picture (and a necessary caveat: I have seen many of the nominees, but not all!). And I, of course, have my own list of snubs that I would have liked to see get some recognition. Some of these are already available at VPL; for those that aren’t, keep an eye on our catalogue!  

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Sláinte! A Toast to Whisky

field guide to whiskySt Patrick’s Day is canceled once again this year, so no parades, no green beer, no bars blaring The Pogues or Dropkick Murphys and no party-goers spilling into the streets wearing “Kiss Me I’m Irish” shirts (despite not being Irish in the slightest). Of course, St Paddy’s wasn’t always about over-imbibing. Traditionally, it’s the Catholic feast day of St Patrick, the patron saint of the Emerald Isle who is credited with both converting the Irish to Christianity and, famously, for driving the snakes out of Ireland. It wasn’t until Irish immigrants landed in populous North American cities that the day took on its current form of secular revelry (the first St Paddy’s parade was held in Boston in 1737—so it’s fitting that almost 300 years later, the unofficial festival anthem is now I’m Shipping Up to Boston”!)So since we won’t be donning our sparkly green shamrock headbands this year (not in public, at least), this is a good time to go beyond the stereotypes and look into the long tradition of whisky, and see the cool ways this spirit has endured. 

Whisky’s history is cloudy, due to spotty record-keeping back in the day, but general consensus is that it was invented in Ireland by monks around 1000 AD, who probably picked up some distilling tricks along their journeys in the Mediterranean and then applied them to the ingredients they had back home. The name itself comes from the Gaelic uisce beatha—which, from what I can tell, is pronounced something like “ish-ka ba-ha”meaning “water of life” (so, basically the Irish version of aqua vitae). The first actual record of whisky is from 1405, and the first licensed distillery was Northern Ireland’s Old Bushmills Distillery in 1608. With such a long history of distilling this spirit, you’d think that Ireland would dominate the whisky market today. Unfortunately, the country’s liquor production hit some rough patches during the turbulent 20th century (see: the First World War, the Easter Rising of 1916, and Prohibition in the US that cut off its most lucrative market—not to mention World War II, and the British Empire cutting off trade with the Republic) which dwindled its distilleries down to only two. But not to worry, production of the native beverage has picked up since the latter half of the twentieth century, with new distilleries constantly opening up across the isle, and Jameson placing third in the top-selling whiskies in the world (behind the college-crowd pleasing Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam). 

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