Film That'll Never Be Topped
"Barry Lyndon is the best movie ever. It's the only tragedy I've ever seen where the demise is better than the ascension. When you look at Scarface, the beginning is so much better—his rise to power—and when his career falls apart, I always think the movie falls apart too. When Barry Lyndon gets to his peak of power, it just starts to get more and more fascinating watching it all unravel. It's also a great art-history movie, and it's super-high-tech the way they made it. I think more than anything it puts into perspective the temporal nature of life itself, that although these people went through, as we all do, these terrible trials and tribulations to get through their lives, they're all equal now. Don't Netflix it, go out and buy it on Blu-ray. It looks so much better."
Who I'd Most Like to Meet—Living or Dead
"Obviously, if I could meet Hitler, I'd do that so I could kill him—it'd be irresponsible not to. I'd probably want to meet someone like Louis Armstrong, who grew up in this abject poverty and was subject to horrible racism but managed to somehow insulate himself enough so he could spend the bulk of his life doing what he did best, which was performing beautifully and making great music and making people happy. I'd also want to spend time with Benjamin Franklin, because I'd want to understand about the beginning of democracy and the inventions of printing and electricity and all that stuff. That'd be fun."
Where to Go on Vacation
"Anywhere outside of the city where there are no people. It doesn't matter where you go—out to sea or into the desert or the mountains—but just away. Because you begin to understand how we manage all the elements, from fire and water and wind, and how we have to protect our bodies and keep ourselves alive. I've done mountaineering, surfing, and hiking in the wilderness, and all those experiences are exactly the same in different ways: You're very vulnerable and have to be very careful. Although there's a great connection with nature, you're also subject to its cruelty, and it's a beautiful thing."
Favorite Piece of Architecture
"Forever, it was Villa Savoye, Le Corbusier's most famous house, outside of Paris in Poissy. It's like the ultimate Hamptons beach house. But as much as I love that, there's this website Cabin Porn. I would say any building there is better than the Villa Savoye. I think a shack in the woods is where it's at."
Ultimate Dining Experience
"McDonald's in Japan. Because only in Japan do the sandwiches look exactly like the ones in the ads . . . glistening burgers with perfect buns that look exactly like the picture."
"Be brave and work hard."
A Mars roving vehicle constructed from everyday parts.