2015 BMW M3/M4 - Spring
Having recently spent some QT with both an M5 and an M6, we can tell you with absolute certainty that there are few things on this planet more fun than a BMW M car. Yes, the products of the German company’s “Motorsports” division are faster, sleeker, and way rarer than their non-M counterparts, so we’re on the edge of our Recaro seats waiting for the latest sports version of the iconic 3-series. Totally new for 2014 (despite the name), the most junior-sized M is now divided into the M3 (sedan) and M4 (coupe). Both have us busting out of our lederhosen in anticipation.
Engine: Turbocharged 3-liter inline-6
Torque: 406 lb-ft
0-60mph: 3.9 seconds
Top Speed: TBA
2014 Alfa Romeo 4C - Spring
Photo Courtesy of FIAT
There’s a reason the Alfa Romeo 4C sits on top of our latest “RPM Awards”: For lovers of passionately made, gorgeous looking, and, well, Goddamn fast cars the world-over, nothing is more exciting than the return of Alfa Romeo. Mostly absent from our shores for the last 20 years, the brand that made Dustin Hoffman a star is back and better than ever. Besides its leading-lady-sexy looks, the 4C’s super lightweight carbon frame, coupled with its rev-happy turbocharged four, translate into the awesomest thing to come out of Italy since the pepperoni pizza.
Base Price: $86,000 (est.)
Engine: Turbocharged 1.7-liter inline-4
Torque: 258 lb-ft
0–60mph: 4.5 seconds
Top Speed: 160mph
2015 Ford Mustang GT - Fall
Photo Courtesy of Ford Motor Company
Things that turn 50 years old in 2014: Nicolas Cage, the first Beatles album, and the most iconic American muscle car of all time. Yes, the Ford Mustang debuted at the World's Fair back in 1964, and the rest of the automotive world has been eating its dust ever since. All new and completely redesigned to mark its golden anniversary, the original pony car is lower, wider, and more nimble than before. Under the menacing-looking sheet metal sits an upgraded 5-liter V-8 tuned to produce 420 horses, plus the first independent rear suspension in Mustang history. If, like us, you just can't wait to get behind the wheel, the new 'Stang was recently made available for download on the PS4 version of Need for Speed Rivals.
Engine: 5-liter V-8
Torque: 390 lb-ft
0-60mph and Top Speed: TBA
Godzilla, May 16
It seems strange, after the 1998 abomination, to be getting excited about a new American Godzilla movie. But while the memory of baby ‘zillas and Mathew Broderick’s stupid hat may be a tricky one to banish, there’s no denying that this new version looks jaw-dropping: Horror, devastation, the epic scale of a natural disaster, and Bryan Cranston getting all wrinkly and emotional. Important questions remain – will Godzilla fight any other monsters? Will he breathe fire? Will there be a funky theme song from Jamiroquai whose video is better than the actual movie? – but from what we’ve seen so far, this looks like a jumbo-sized pile of monster fun.
REX USA / MediaPunch Inc | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013
If there are three things we can’t resist, it’s dark comedy, weirdness, and Batman, and this movie wraps all three into one bizarrely appealing package. Starring Michael Keaton as an actor who became famous for playing an iconic superhero, Edward Norton as a narcissistic stage actor, and Emma Stone as a wayward actress fresh out of rehab, it’s a black comedy about colliding egos and faltering careers. As if all that wasn’t enough to pique our interest, it’s also directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (the man behind 21 Grams and Amores Perros), and features performances by Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, and The Wire’s Amy Ryan. And if this hugely eclectic mix of stars doesn’t do it for you, just look at that picture. Even if this movie turns out to be a disaster, it’ll be a fascinating one.
Interstellar, November 7
It’s a no-brainer that we’re excited for Christopher Nolan’s next huge movie – after all, the man’s responsible for some of the biggest films of the last decade, making enormous blockbusters that still manage to be thought-provoking and loaded with well-observed social commentary, with even his misfires being, at worst, intriguing and ambitious. His latest, which stars the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon, Anne Hathaway, and Michael Caine, follows a team of scientists who travel through a wormhole in space. Time travel, space adventure, and alternate dimensions – does that sound epic enough for you yet?
The World Cup
Kostas Lymperopoulos / CSM / Landov | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013
The sporting event that the entire world (even America, from time to time) tunes in to watch. For a month, 32 teams will battle it out on the world’s biggest stage to decide once and for all (or for four years, at least) who is the best (at kicking a ball). As for the pessimism that the American team has found themselves in thanks to the so-called “Group of Death,” it’s not like we haven’t been the underdogs before (right, England?).
US Hockey in the Olympics
Roger L. Wollenberg / UPI / Landov | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013
After coming so painfully close to the gold in 2010, the US is looking to clinch a top spot on the platform for the first time since the “Miracle on Ice.” This squad could be the best that the stars and stripes have ever put on the ice, though, so luck may be less of a factor than it’s been in the past. Sorry, Canada – it’s time to up your curling game.
College Football Playoff System
Photo via Nikonmadness / Wikipemia
After some influential people voiced their concerns with the flawed system, next season will see the first iteration of the aptly-named College Football Playoff. Two semis will lead to a true National Championship to cap off the season. And while most of the action will technically be in 2015, the lead up will be a part of the 2014 season. So stop complaining! See, this is why we can’t have nice things.
Against Me! Transgender Dysphoria Blues, January 20
When this Florida emo-punk outfit released their last album, White Crosses, in 2010, the singer was Tom Gabel. They’d been around for over a decade, played on the Warped tour, graced magazine covers. Three years later, the band is releasing its sixth album, and now the singer is Laura Jane Grace. The thing is, Tom Gabel and Laura Jane Grace are the same person, which means this should be a very interesting album. A little background: In 2012, Gabel came out as transgender, and has spent the last year or so transitioning from male to female. This would be a major life-choice for anyone, but for the super-popular front-man for a band out of the uber-masculine punk scene, it’s brave as hell. In a terrific story in Rolling Stone last year by frequent Maxim contributor Josh Eells, Laura Jane Grace described a lifetime of struggling with gender dysphoria; she remains married to the woman she’s been with since 2007, but this is the first album Against Me! has released since the transition. So, what does that mean for the music? Apparently not much. "I wasn't really thinking at all how coming out was going to affect my music,” Grace told the NME about Transgender Dysphoria Blues. “It was an issue of: 'I have to do this to survive or I'm going to kill myself'." And if the title isn’t a giveaway, the album does tackle her recent struggles, but she’s not planning being a spokesperson for the transgendered: "It's like my psychiatrist says, 'Just because you're diagnosed with cancer doesn't mean you're an authority on cancer'."
Beck, Morning Phase, February 4
Douglas Mason / Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013
It’s been five years since rock ‘n roll’s slacker king put out a proper album, and really, dude, that’s just way too long. Not that the man behind such classic albums as Mellow Gold, Odelay, and Sea Change has been lazy, exactly - since the 2008 release of Modern Guilt, he’s embarked upon the Record Club project, which saw him re-record classic albums in a single day with such collaborators as Feist, Devendra Banhart, St. Vincent, and Thurston Moore. And just last year, he released Song Book, which was a collection of songs, but wasn’t really an album (it was an anthology of sheet music to original songs. But Beck didn’t record the songs, so the only way to hear them was to listen to other people’s interpretations). Morning Phase, though, is an album that Beck both wrote and recorded. According to the singer, the album is inspired by '60s California acts like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the Byrds, and Graham Parsons. And though it’s not a concept record, all 12 tracks are set in the early morning. Luckily, fans won’t have to wait another five years for the next Beck album - he’s already halfway through the follow-up. In the meantime, he’s hoping to tour Morning Phase, complete with his vintage, James Brown-inspired dance moves – a positive development since the back injury that laid him up during the Modern Guilt sessions.
Black Lips, Underneath the Rainbow, March 18
Photo Courtesy of Elastic Artists
We love these Atlanta garage punks. They’ve gotten us shitfaced in their hometown. They’ve laid waste to our piñata. And they’ve shared a soundtrack to an old school, Southern rager. So, needless to say, we’re pretty psyched for their seventh album, Under the Rainbow. While the band no longer juices their live gigs by tearing up the stage and, um, pissing in each other’s mouths, it’s not like they’ve put their wild side behind them - they sing about “bathtub drugs and bathtub gin” on “Boys in the Woods” and spending time in jail on “Smiling.” And 15 years in, the band has continued their path as hardcore road warriors - just last fall they played Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates. It wasn’t quite your typical indie-rock tour, but the band’s goal is to ultimately play all seven continents. “We're working real hard to get to Antarctica right now," bassist Jared Swilley told the Hollywood Reporter this summer. “There is a research center there and it has a pub. There are 1,500 to 1,600 contractors and scientists working there, so we just have to get the money to get down there." Fans will have to wait a few months for the whole album, but you can check out “Boys in the Wood” now.
Honorable Bonus Mention - Dr. Dre., Detox
Oh, who are we kidding? Fans have been waiting for hip-hop’s Chinese Democracy for over a decade, and just because the powers that be are saying Detox will be out this year…well, don’t get your hopes up.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
When we saw The Stick of Truth at E3 over the summer, the game wasn’t just chock full of dick and fart jokes; it was a legitimately terrific fantasy game that happened to look and sound like an epic episode of South Park. Delaying the game from this winter to next year initially sank our expectations, but the three-episode Song of Ass and Fire arc from this past season of the show (and the way it all ended with a nod to The Stick of Truth) re-hyped us on this fantastic South Park adventure. If we don’t get to play The Stick of Truth in 2014, we swear to god, we’ll kill Kenny.
If you aren’t the owner of an Xbox (360 or XB1, your choice) by March 11th, you’re going to miss one of the most anticipated games of 2014. Titanfall is an online-multiplayer-only game (there’s no offline campaign, so make sure to pay your broadband bill), but it weaves a story into the team-objective missions for anyone who can’t enjoy a game without asking, “Why are we doing this?” For the rest of us, teaming up with friends and being given super-mech suits in order to kill a platoon of equally equipped strangers is more than reason enough.
Bungie (the wunderkind studio that gave us Halo1, 2, and 3) is calling Destiny a “shared-world shooter.” Translation: This First-Person Shooter’s game world will be there whether or not you’re in it. So kiss reality goodbye, because once Destiny drops this September (for 360, XB1, PS3, and PS4), the moment you choose your character, it will officially become more important to keep up with what’s happening in this sci-fi myth (think Star Wars without the doofy, we-need-to-sell-this-to-kids elements) than going to the bar and finding out what kind of week your friends had.
Photos by BMW