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Wendell Carter And The Magic Agreed To A 4-Year, $50 Million Extension

One of the players that the Orlando Magic received in its deadline day trade of Nikola Vucevic isn’t going anywhere any time soon. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Magic agreed to a contract extension with fourth-year big man Wendell Carter Jr. after having him on the roster for 22 games down the stretch last season.

Charania reports that the deal will pay Carter $50 million over the next four years, with Carter getting a fully guaranteed deal.

The seventh overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Carter spent two and a half years as a member of the Chicago Bulls before getting traded to Orlando. While Carter put up solid numbers, he struggled with injuries in the Windy City and wasn’t always the most snug fit alongside Lauri Markkanen. Eventually, Chicago packaged Carter, Otto Porter Jr., and a pair of first-round draft picks and sent them to Orlando for Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu, and while Vucevic is part of a Bulls core that intends to push for the postseason this year, the 22-year-old Carter has established himself as piece that Orlando plans on building around going forward alongside guys like Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, and Jalen Suggs.

For his career, Carter has averaged 11 points and 8.2 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game.

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Pink Pantheress’ Subtle Production Roars Into A Typhoon On The Glitchy ‘To Hell With It’

After initially blowing up on TikTok, it became clear that London producer PinkPantheress was so much more than a social media star. First of all, she opted for anonymity instead of seeking to immediately build a personal social media empire, and secondly, her songs are more complex and layered than a lot of the work found on the video-sharing platform. In the video for one of her most recent breakout singles, the lovelorn “Just For Me,” the 20-something producer stands quietly in front of a DJ booth, singing sweetly to a crowd of sad teens, who comfort each other with hugs, laptops and phones. Her restrained aesthetic stands in stark contrast to the become-a-star-at-all-costs methods that plenty of try-hard performers adopt when trying to go viral. PinkPantheress doesn’t try to go viral, at all, she simply produces music that’s such a perfect conglomeration of sounds from the last two decades, it’s practically guaranteed to rack up hundreds of thousands of plays. (“Just For Me” is quickly approaching 2 million streams)

Which isn’t to say there’s anything derivative about her sound, as exemplified on her debut mixtape, To Hell With It. On the tape, she begins to toy with her subdued style, occasionally whipping the glitchy, patchwork melodies into towering, stormy tracks that are reminiscent of Chicago’s footwork scene. “I Must Apologise” leans into this shimmering, speedy style, while “Last Valentines” mixes a shivery double-time beat with the dark drama of pop-punk emotionalism. “Just For Me” is arguably the best track on the tape, but other standouts like “Pain” and “All My Friends Know” are deliciously upbeat renditions of the most heart-wrenching phases of a breakup. “Did you ever want me? No worries if not,” PinkPantheress deadpans on the latter. “It’s just that I, I told my mom, she thinks we’re still going strong.” Very few songwriters could get at the additional embarrassment that delivering the news of a breakup to loved ones obviously incurs, but this meditative track is a candid look into the self-loathing that’s so often at the heart of a relationship’s destruction.

Though she’s often cited early 2000s pop, K-pop, and pop-punk as influences, there’s no undermining the foundation of electronic music traditions To Hell With It is built upon, and she effortlessly incorporates samples from these traditions into her work. The way PinkPantheress pulls from so many different sounds and shapes them into a cohesive whole, one that’s spiked with both nostalgia and future-yearning emotion, reminds me of J Dilla’s work as a producer and DJ more than anything else. Not to equate the earliest mixtape from an artist who barely tuned twenty with the most legendary producer in the world, but to note that her ability to see how many disparate parts could form a new whole is the same quality that the most influential producers and DJs always seem to possess. For her to be this early in the arc of her career and already working in the range she’s in is not just impressive, it’s exciting. PinkPantheress isn’t a TikTok star, she’s a producer, and we’re just lucky social media brought her to our attention so soon.

Stream To Hell With It below.

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The Volcano Might Look Wild But It’s Still The Best Way To Get Stoned On Earth

I’ll never forget my first time. It was my junior year of college, back when Facebook was just a couple of years old. I had just returned from a year abroad to tackle my senior year. Coincidentally, a friend was assigned to live in the room across the hall from me. He popped into my room and said, “Want to stop over for a cocktail and a Volcano?”

I was down for the drink but had no idea what the Volcano was. Anyway, the drink turned out to be a bit of a bait-and-switch — my friend just squeezed a lime into a tequila shot and sipped it like a martini. The Volcano, however, ended up being a revelation.

The Volcano, which celebrated its 20th birthday last year, is a tabletop vaporizer for cannabis flower. When it comes to weed gear and stoner culture, the device is regarded as an iconic crown jewel. It was designed and is manufactured by German company Storz & Bickel, which these days is owned by cannabis corporate giant Canopy Growth Corp.

“Storz &Bickel quite literally invented the vaporizer market,” Jurgen Bickel, co-founder of Storz & Bickel told me in an interview for Forbes last year. He’s right. But how has it held up over time? Leaps and bounds have been made when it comes to vaporizer technology, with one of the greatest changes being the portability of devices nowadays. The Volcano, which is intended to be stationary, needs to be plugged in to be used and also is heavy and cumbersome to carry around.

Why use that when I have a trusty PAX 3? Which is basically just a fat version of the brand’s pocket-sized vape?

Part of the answer comes from knowing how the Volcano works. There’s a chamber to deposit the ground buds, which is then affixed to a conical base. A big, deflated, clear balloon bag with an orange plastic mouthpiece on the bottom is inserted into the base, on top of the flower chamber.

All that’s left to do from there is to flip a switch, be impressed with how loud the vacuum is, and watch the balloon bag fill up translucent air within a matter of 20-30 seconds. The balloon comes off the base easily, from which, a person is expected to inhale. The idea is that a bag is good for three or four people each to take a hit. One bag for one person is also another way to do it, and a good way to ensure couch lock on the horizon.

It’s cool, kitschy, and incredibly fun. Seriously, watching that balloon inflate will give you the giggles pre-sesh, which is saying something.

Hype and charm aside, this still the best dry herb vaporizer on the market. The Volcano’s present iterations have additional bells and whistles, but not too many, lest it deviates too far from its original and near-perfect simplicity. The original dial still remains, with temperature settings between 1-10. I have found that Between 6 and 8 are the optimal temperatures — the heat intensity results in a clean, potent, and intense vape cloud with the best flavor a vaporizer can produce. In general, it’s helpful to remember that the lower the temperature, the more flavor will be preserved, but the high will also be less potent. Finding the sweet spot for your preferences is part of the fun.

Last year, Storz &Bickel released a gold Volcano for the device’s anniversary. This year, they have again deviated from the silver base to release a chic, limited-edition version of the original. Called the Onyx, it retails for $699 and features a scratch-free interior coating and matte black exterior. The Onyx Volcano also is treated with a damage-resistant powder coating to ensure longevity. After trying it about eight thousand times, I can confirm: it’s still the best vaporizer on the market, portable or not. The Onyx also comes in a “Hybrid” model, which also has an inhalation tube, akin to a hookah, in addition to the balloon and sports a digital screen for numerical temperature reading.

What other weed smoking device comes with a self-made dorky documentary?

While the presence of a tabletop vaporizer may seem like an intense foray into the land of weed gear for some people, the truth is that it should be considered a required item for anyone who smokes regularly. Firstly, vaping is healthier than any other combustion method. Secondly, the Volcano’s base is easy to store in a cabinet, closet, or under a bed — to give a few examples — and only occupies the same shelf space that a small houseplant would. The flavor is unbeatable, as far as either vapes or smoking is concerned, and Storz & Bickel has a good track record for longevity, producing well-made products that don’t often break.

It’s an investment, sure, but a worthy one. If you like to smoke.

When I think back to 2007, when my 21-year-old-self huffed out of a Volcano for the first time, I smile. That stoned college kid had no idea that, one day, weed writing would ever be a job she could have, much less that weed would ever be legal and that she’d one day be paid to vape from a Volcano to then review it. What a time to be alive.

To celebrate, I think I’ll have a hit from a balloon. What better to make me marvel at life’s strange turns?

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Watch Vanna White as a contestant on ‘The Price is Right’ before she became famous

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show “Wheel of Fortune.”

That’s it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like “Wheel of Fortune” and “The Price is Right” send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on “The Price is Right” two years before she started turning letters on “Wheel of Fortune” is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker’s voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I’m home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early ’80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker’s casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

Vanna White on The Price Is Right (June 20, 1980)

Vanna was clearly not skilled at guessing prices. In fact, she was pretty terrible at it. But as it turned out, she didn’t need to know how much things cost since she ended up basically winning the lottery with her job at “Wheel of Fortune.”

Vanna White has made a 40-year career out of wearing dresses, smiling and clapping. That’s it. She only works four days a month—not four days a week, four days a month—doing what is arguably the world’s easiest and least necessary job. And she earns $10 million a year doing it.

Sometimes this world we humans have created just makes no sense.

Not that I blame Vanna White. If someone offered to pay me $10 million a year to look fabulous in a gown and heels and touch letters and clap for four days a month, I’d do it in a heartbeat. (The clapping is a bigger part of the job than you might think. She actually holds a Guinness World Record for clapping. Seriously.)

I’m sure she’s very nice. And she has a charitable yarn line, so that’s neat. It’s great that she’s still going strong and looking amazing at age 64.

I just can’t get over how much she makes for how little she does at a superfluous job. I’m not sure who even watches “Wheel of Fortune” these days, but clearly someone does because that’s the only way to possibly justify Vanna White’s existence in the working world. (Sorry, “working” world.) Are “Wheel of Fortune” viewers all people older than me? They must be because until recently I didn’t even know these game shows were still running on network television.

Congrats on being the luckiest human on the planet, Vanna, despite your not making it past the first round of “The Price is Right” in your 20s. May all of our fates be met with such fortune.

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10 things that made us smile this week

We can all use more reasons to smile, and thankfully there is no shortage of them. Here we’ve gathered ten snippets of delight, joy, and hope to help you sail into the weekend with a happy heart.


Good dog becomes VERY concerned when his owner jumps into the lake.

Don’t worry, hooman, I come save you! The way the doggo went around to get into the water instead of jumping in leads me to believe maybe it was even a little scared to go in. But doggone it, there was a life to save! Sweet puppers.

Yikes on bikes, this kiddo is a great little actor.

First of all, fun costume. Second of all, the kid is ALL IN. Terrifyingly good.

Love this dad teaching his daughter a tricky skateboarding move.

Three cheers for awesome dads.

Speaking of skating, how often do we see a news anchor reporting WHILE skateboarding?

You just know this guy has been waiting for the opportunity to show off his skating skills his whole broadcast news career. Congratulations, dude!

Librarians are superheroes and this “Tough Topics” guide proves it.

Some people don’t want to go up to a librarian and ask where to find a book about [fill in somewhat embarrassing/stigmatized/uncomfortable topic here]. This “Tough Topics” guide uses the Dewey decimal system, so it’s actually universal to all libraries.

This donkey adores this human and it’s so dang cute.

I love you. I love you. I loooovvvveee yoooouuuu. (Could live without kissing a donkey’s nostril, but that’s just me.)

This flower carpet in Belgium is absolutely stunning.

Every other summer, volunteers create an elaborate flower carpet in the center square of Brussels. 500,000 Dahlias and Begonias went into this carpet, which was made in 2018. Absolutely stunning.

Miles Bonham is a wickedly talented 5-year-old.

It’s the zoom-in on the sippy cup that really drives the point home here. This kid is incredible. Read more about Miles and his musical talents here.

Kind kiddo gives his coat to a classmate who he noticed didn’t have one.

Click the right arrow to see the sweet message from the kid’s teacher. What a stand-up little guy!

The Rock is every parent with a kid in the backseat singing a neverending song.

Hilarious. We parents have alllll been there. But this patience is impressive, and the encouragement he gives his daughter despite having endured the same song over and over and over and over is just so sweet. Read more about The Rock singing along with his kiddos here.

Hope that brightened up your week! Tune in again next weekend for more reasons to smile.

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New California law mandates free menstrual products in public school and college restrooms

The fact that you can find toilet paper, paper towels and seat covers in just about every bathroom in the United States while period products are nowhere to be found shows a major blind spot in how we view hygiene.

When a person who menstruates gets caught off guard by their period, the implications are just as bad as having an accident. So why aren’t bathrooms prepared to help people in these situations as well?

“The consequences of not having access to [menstrual] products are pretty humiliating, and really a loss of dignity,” Free The Tampons founder Nancy Kramer told WBUR. “I mean you can, as we like to say, ‘MacGyver’ your own solution with a bunch of toilet paper, but that’s certainly not ideal. Women run the risk of having blood-stained clothing in an environment where that’s just disrespectful and humiliating.”

The lack of period products in restrooms isn’t the only problem when it comes to availability. Some low-income people have a hard time affording them, especially students.

A poll published by PERIOD found that a quarter of all students between the ages of 13 and 19 said they have struggled to pay for period products in the last year. That number is even higher among lower-income students and students of color.

This doesn’t just affect the students’ health, but their education as well. Two-thirds agree that too many people have to miss out on valuable school time because they do not have the period products they need.

The state of California has stepped up to help its students in grades 6 to 12 and those enrolled in public colleges by making it mandatory for school and college restrooms to be stocked with free menstrual products.

“California recognizes that access to menstrual products is a basic human right and is vital for ensuring the health, dignity, and full participation of all Californians in public life,” the law says.

The bill was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday and will take effect in the 2022-2023 school year.

The law builds on a 2017 bill that requires low-income schools in disadvantaged areas to provide students with free menstrual products. The state also recently repealed a tax on menstrual products that cost people who menstruate an estimated aggregate of $20 million a year.

“Our biology doesn’t always send an advanced warning when we’re about to start menstruating, which often means we need to stop whatever we’re doing and deal with a period. Often periods arrive at inconvenient times,” said Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, the legislation’s author, in a statement.

“Having convenient and free access to these products means our period won’t prevent us from being productive members of society and would alleviate the anxiety of trying to find a product when out in public,” Garcia added.

There’s an old saying that goes, “As goes California, so goes the nation,” so let’s hope that the Golden State’s bold step to make life healthier and happier for its students is replicated by states across the country.

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The Best New Hip-Hop This Week

The best new hip-hop this week includes albums, videos, and songs from Dom Kennedy, Young Thug, and more.

Friday saw the releases of Lil Durk’s “Pissed Me Off,” and Wale’s “Down South” video featuring Maxo Kream and Yella Beezy, along with the releases listed below.

Here is the best of hip-hop this week ending October 15, 2021.


Dom Kennedy — From The Westside With Love Three

Los Angeles local legend Dom Kennedy is usually more of a summertime staple, but with the warm weather of the last few months refusing to recede, now is as good a time as any for Kennedy’s breezy West Coast bangers.

Gucci Mane — So Icy Boyz

With a whole new roster for his 1017 Records, Gucci once again releases a compilation to reintroduce the world to his team, which now includes Big Fizzle, Big Walk Dog, and Enchantress alongside mainstays Big Scar, Foogiano, and Pooh Shiesty.

KenTheMan — What’s My Name [EP]

Following up last year’s 4 da 304s, the cheekily-named KenTheMan returns with more unabashed strip club anthems. Online chatter for the Houston rising star is increasing by the day — get your ticket to the bandwagon ASAP.

Mac MIller — Faces (Reissue)

Mac’s final mixtape was released on Mother’s Day in 2014 and is considered in some circles to be his finest mixtape release, delving into his struggles with drug dependency and expanding on his experimentation with jazzy, psychedelic production.

Offset Jim — Rich Off The Pack

Not to be confused with the similarly-monikered member of Migos, Offset Jim is one of the many young, hungry artists coming up independently on the Bay Area underground scene. Collaborators include ALLBLACK, Babyface Ray, and EST Gee.

Payroll Giovanni — Giovanni’s Way

Detroit is experiencing a rush of renewed attention thanks to its bloom of rowdy new rap talents, but Payroll Giovanni has been there all along, steadily grinding with his unique brand of Midwestern G-funk.

Young Thug — Punk

Leave it to Thugger to continue to push the boundaries of what we should expect from him. After So Much Fun’s success, you’d think he’d lean further into the simple trap aesthetics that worked so well there, but instead, he takes a drastic stylistic departure akin to his “country” experiment Beautiful Thugger Girls.

Zack Fox — Shut The F*ck Up Talking To Me [EP]

One of standup comedy’s most acerbic and outrageous talents, Fox shifts gears from dabbling in rap to outright outrapping many of his contemporaries on a shockingly polished debut EP full of hilarious threats and ridiculous flexes.


Drakeo The Ruler — “300 Raccs”

Drakeo’s low-key chatterbox flow glides over a kick-heavy beat. If you know anything about the LA underground pioneer, you know exactly what to expect here.

Duke Deuce — “WTF”

The Crunk revivalist’s latest finally gets a suitably raucous video featuring the most turnt-up house party Memphis has seen all year.

Mibbs — “Joy”

As one-third of Pac Div, Big Mibbs reliably delivered unsentimental but truly relatable observations on life in LA. He’s a little older, a little wider, and no less incisive on this solo cut.

OMB Bloodbath — “Not Gang” Feat. EST Gee

Louisville’s EST Gee has been having a breakout year, and here, he shares some of that good fortune with another rising star: OMB Bloodbath of Love Renaissance.

Problem — “Standing Ovation” and “Just Outside” Feat. Spoon

Remember how videos in the late-90s and early aughts used to end “to be continued…” and then never continue? It helps when the extended story is told in two videos that drop the same week.

Wynne — “Carrot Cake”

The Portland rapper literally sets herself on fire (while spitting some fire, high-velocity verses) for this video, the lead single from her upcoming EP produced by JID collaborator Christo.

Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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Kyle Revives Craig David’s 2000 Hit ‘7 Days’ For His Soulful ‘Sunday’ Video

Look who’s back! It’s Kyle, newly independent and embracing a new role as more of a heartthrob after receiving positive responses from the more emotional, R&B-centric productions on his last album See You When I Am Famous!!!!!!!!!!!! such as “What It Is” and more recent singles like “But Cha” and “Love Me Like You Say You Love Me.” His newest single, “Sunday,” continues in this vein, borrowing the acoustic guitar riff and chorus melody from British R&B star Craig David’s breakthrough 2000 hit, “7 Days.”

The video also features a very noughties premise, finding Kyle cruising with his lady in his Jeep, as well as sporting some throwback fashions, including a pair of ski goggles worn as a headband and cocked jauntily to one side (remember when we used to do that? Why did we use to do that???). Even better, the lenses are heart-shaped, really leaning into the lovey-dovey subject matter. The video does end on a somewhat ambiguous note, though, as he ends up in therapy with the same rose he held on the date earlier in the video, now wilted. I guess it didn’t work out, but at least he learned a valuable lesson about falling in love too fast.

Watch Kyle’s “Sunday” video above.

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Ridley Scott’s ‘The Last Duel’ Is A Baffling Adaptation Of A Great Story

Ridley Scott has a rare talent among auteurs, that when he makes a bad movie, it’s usually so breathtakingly terrible and full of unforced errors that people just sort of end up forgetting that it even existed. I’d have such a hard time convincing the average moviegoer that Robin Hood or Exodus or Kingdom Of Heaven even happened that Ridley Scott essentially gets to endure in the zeitgeist as “the guy who made Alien and Gladiator.”

I once read a description of Teddy Roosevelt that said something like that he was so preoccupied with haranguing his guests over meals that the food he was shoveling into his face might as well have been hay for all he’d notice. I sometimes wonder if the same thing is true for Ridley Scott and scripts. Scott is so hyper-focused on envisioning the perfect storyboard (something he seems to do naturally and brilliantly) that sometimes it seems that he fails to notice the most blindingly obvious script flaws.

The Last Duel, a Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon-scripted adaptation of Eric Jager’s book, about a real-life trial by combat in late 14th century France, isn’t nearly as bad as Exodus or Robin Hood on balance, but arguably it’s more infuriating. This could’ve been so great! And in hindsight its flaws seem so plain. Couldn’t anyone have talked them out of this?

The Last Duel‘s introductory scenes, framed around the title duel between Sir Jean De Carrouges — a mulletlicious knight played by Matt Damon, and the squire who raped his wife, Jacques Le Gris, portrayed by Adam Driver in full Prince Valiant mode — promise perhaps the ultimate in climactic Middle Ages MMA fights. The finale belatedly delivers, in thrilling fashion, complete with mud, blood, and mailed fists bashing filthy faces, but the two hours or so in between are a baffling hatchet job.

The story is a straightforward one. Jean and Jacques are brothers in battle, of sorts, their relationship peaking the time when Jean saved Jacque’s life during a melee over a bridge. Yet circumstances, and their own Shakespearean personality flaws, conspire to tear them apart. Jean, the scion of ancient nobility but now nearly broke, with a wife and son dead of the plague, is sort of impetuous, and critically lacking in guile. He’s always grandstanding and going on about honor, often essentially correct in his arguments but usually such an asshole about it that people roll their eyes. Jacques, meanwhile, is the scrappy self-starter, clawing his way up from obscure origins, thanks to his charm and good schooling (he’s literate, and good with numbers) to become consigliere to the count, played by Ben Affleck in a bleach blonde bowl cut for some reason (the first wave of ska was actually during the 14th century, lotta people forget that). Jacques possesses the human touch Jean seems to lack, despite being sort of a louche fuckboy.

In spite of their friendship, Jean can’t help but be annoyed that while he always seems to be off sacrificing his body for the king’s land, the king’s cousin the count seems to lavish all his good fortune on Jacques (understandably so, as Jacques, as we’ve noted, is much more fun to party with). The final straw comes when Jean’s young wife Marguerite, played by Jodie Comer, accuses Jacques of raping her.

In telling this story, Scott and his screenwriters take the Pulp Fiction approach, retelling the story thrice, from each of the three principals’ perspectives, introduced with their respective title cards. You might expect this method to produce some he said/she said drama, or failing that, to add new and interesting wrinkles to the story when seen from each new angle. Instead, the characters don’t change at all. Scott pretty much shoots the same damn thing three times in a row without a single interesting new complication, such that by the third time I heard the same characters deliver the same lines the same way I wondered if I was hallucinating. Why would you do this? You almost have to respect a director so immune to criticism that he can depict the same medieval events three times.

Scott is so cement-headedly single-minded in his approach to this material that you’d think there wasn’t a single sunny day in France between 1350 and 1400. No, according to The Last Duel, everything was always grey and muted and cold. That must be why they called it “The Dark Ages.” The characters, who were of course French in real life, speak here in a kind of muddled Americanese, overenunciated to indicate old-timeyness. Which isn’t especially distracting, but the fact that Ben Affleck’s character seems to be the only one capable of sarcasm, subtext, or quips sort of is. Was banter not invented until the renaissance? One of the few interesting moments comes when Adam Driver (doing his damnedest here with little to work with) articulates his 14th-century conception of consent, “Well of course she offered the customary protests, she is a lady.”

The movie just sort of slogs its way from one sleeting grey frown fest to the next, not heating up until the trial. The medieval courtroom drama that follows instantly proves itself far more compelling than the three virtually indistinguishable versions of the same story that came before. Making one wonder why it only gets a few minutes of screen time. The bizarro logic of medieval church and state is so interesting, in fact, and Marguerite’s perspective so obviously the most absorbing in this tale, that you barely question why The Last Duel‘s characters act like they’ve just parachuted in from 2021 and are experiencing feudal justice for the first time. Did they think Johnny Cochran was going to argue this case before a jury of their peers? What world had they been living in, prior to this moment? Why couldn’t we get more of Alex Lawther as the wan, bemused king?

Finally, FINALLY the climactic duel happens, and, adding insult to injury, it’s a home run. Ridley Scott even seems to abandon his strange habit of cutting away from the actual sword blows (why does he do this? WHY DOES HE DO THIS??) for long enough to deliver a legitimately rousing finale. Why did we have to suffer hours of affectless perspective shifts to get to this? Couldn’t we have just told Marguerite’s story, delving deeper and with a longer court sequence, and then this finale?

Maybe if we hadn’t been fruitlessly shifting POV, there would’ve been space for a fuller portrait of France in the late 14th century, during the doldrums of the hundred years war and the aftermath of a plague decimating half the population. Those things just seem more interesting to me than trying to create the humorless medieval Pulp Fiction. I don’t pretend to know exactly what went wrong here, but The Last Duel seems to be a persuasive case for creative oversight.

‘The Last Duel’ is in theaters everywhere October 15th. Vince Mancini is on Twitter. You can access his archive of reviews here.

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Bartenders Share Their Favorite Bourbon Whiskeys Under $30

In most cases, the more you spend on something, the better it is. The higher the price, the better the quality. It’s pretty basic logic. This is specifically true in the whiskey world. A higher price tag often means you’re going to get a whiskey that’s been made with high-quality ingredients and is aged longer than a cheaper bottle.

That being said, allocations, trends, and the hype machine can sometimes make that chasm look a little bigger than it is. The difference between a $50 bottle and a $30 bottle is often quite slim. And even though you can spend into the thousands on bourbon, you can still get a lot for a little at the lower price tags.

Today, we’re talking about whiskeys that fall under $30. To find the best of the bunch, we asked a handful of bartenders for help. Check out their picks below!

Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Bourbon Posts Of 2021

Evan Williams Black Label

Evan Williams

Joel Schneider, tasting room manager at SLO Stills in San Luis Obispo, California

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $13

Why This Bourbon?

Evan Williams Black Label is my pick. It’s 86 proof so you’re not missing much ABV-wise and it’s aged for four years so you get a sip with enough oak on it without being overpowering. Medium-bodied with notes of vanilla, caramel, burnt sugar, butterscotch, and a hint of mint.

It finishes long, especially for a bottom-shelf bourbon.

Benchmark Old No. 8


Nicole Fas, beverage director and bar manager at La Pícara in Santurce, Puerto Rico

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $11

Why This Bourbon?

I think that a good Benchmark Old No. 8 is a great bottom-shelf Bourbon. A great option to have on your “speed rack” if you have a bar. It’s oily, sweet and rich, but still punches above its weight because it’s full-bodied and at the same time it’s super approachable.

Some of its tasting notes include vanilla bean and a slight touch of cereal.

Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Four Roses

Eric Heinel, certified sommelier and beverage director for David Burke in New York City

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $23

Why This Bourbon?

Four Roses Yellow Label has all the classic bourbon notes while not trying to be too fancy or unique. It’s very straightforward bourbon, perfect for using in cocktails while still having enough flavor and balance to enjoy as a sipper.

Larceny Small Batch


Chandra Richter, beverage development and chief mixologist at Drinkworks

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $27

Why This Bourbon?

Larceny Small Batch is a great value bourbon that still delivers on taste. Larceny has a really nice balance of fruit and spice — it’s a soft, approachable wheated bourbon that features apricot and orange on the nose and finishes with a little spice on the palate.

Maker’s Mark


Sue Stia, bartender at TPC Jasna Polana in Princeton, New Jersey

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $30

Why This Bourbon?

Maker’s Mark is very versatile and has strong hints of caramel and honey. It’s great neat but shines in a cocktail. It’s definitely hard to beat in terms of price and value.



Robbie Robinson, sommelier and mixologist at The Ballantyne in Charlotte, North Carolina

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $18

Why This Bourbon?

Though it is much more popular nowadays, Rebel has to be my favorite bottom-shelf bourbon. Rebel is not my favorite bourbon, not even close, but for the price it’s solid.

Strong vanilla throughout, a little bit of citrus, prune, melted together with that familiar burn.

Jim Beam Black Extra Aged

Jim Beam

Evan Hosaka, lead bartender of The Dorsey at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $23

Why This Bourbon?

Jim Beam is a good place to start for bottom-shelf bourbons. It’s low ABV and not overly complex. They also offer great bottom-shelf expressions like its Black Extra Aged for $20. The Black Extra Aged is aged years longer in white oak than the original and features flavors of oak and vanilla typical to bourbon but offers an added smoothness that isn’t found in younger bourbons.

Very Old Barton

Very Old Barton

Katherine Ball, consumer engagement & mixology director at Black Button Distilling in Rochester, New York

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $13

Why This Bourbon?

I actually just tried Very Old Barton for the first time last week. I was surprised by the flavor that such an affordable product could offer. It would definitely be a go-to for cocktails for me in the future.

Old Grand-Dad

Jim Beam

Darron Foy, bartender at The Flatiron Room in New York City

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $19

Why This Bourbon?

Old Grand-Dad. Cheap and cheerful as they say. Produced by Basil Hayden’s grandson (Hayden made bourbon with a higher than usual rye content, creating a different flavor profile than what was used to at the time), you’ll find caramel, cinnamon, and rye dominate. But there’s a nice balance between some sweeter notes and a hint of burnt oak.

Big bang for your buck.

Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey

Deven Kampenhou, cocktail artist at Curfew Bar in Fort Worth, Texas

ABV: 50.5%

Average Price: $25

Why This Bourbon?

Wild Turkey 101 Straight Bourbon Whiskey is often stigmatized by a bad drinking day back in college, yet it is one of the finest bourbons created by the longest active distillers in the U.S.: Jimmy Russell, who has over 62 years of experience.

Toasty sourdough on the nose with a palate of rich caramel, this whiskey is great in a cocktail or served on a large ice cube.

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