Three 'Burgh-Bred Flicks Out Now. Plus: BRGR & Sharp Edge

Go out while you still can: Three films shot in the 'Burgh are in wide release, plus the East End offers plenty of places for burgers and brews. But everything I said last week about avoiding the mall still applies.

Last weekend, I implored you to stay in. If you didn’t, well, I sincerely hope you experienced no unpleasantness in your attempts to navigate DUI checkpoints, witching hour Walmart lines and high school football hoopla. Now is not the time to rest, however. Despite what you thought while walking to work through the rain on Tuesday, the weather is not that bad yet.

Snowmageddon/snowpocalypse/snowmania 2010 was not that long ago; surely you can all clearly remember your cars skidding aimlessly around our fair city’s neighborhoods before you abandoned them mid-street to walk home, make some cocoa and figure it out tomorrow. That, my fair ‘Burghers, is bad weather. This chilly, rainy stuff is nothing.

So go out while you still can. But everything I said last week about avoiding the mall still applies. It’s the holiday season, after all. The endless variations of “White Christmas” alone are enough to drive one mad.

Unless you are one of those wise Thanksgiving lovers that made an entire second meal simply to fill up the fridge, you are out of leftovers by now. My sympathies are very firmly with you; however, there is hope. The recently opened, chic burger-n-beer joint BRGR Bar offers a number of varieties on our de facto national dish; the one of most interest this week is the Gobble-Gobble, a Thanksgiving dinner between a bun. A patty of stuffing rests atop a turkey burger then topped with crispy green beans and cranberry aioli.

Innovative meaty concoctions aside, I love BRGR Bar. It seems to operate at a crossroads of an upper-crust sports bar and a new-age lounge. When I dropped in Saturday night, my attention was constantly torn between the three college football games on flatscreens above the bar and the slideshow of alternating images of Americana and, well, meat. They’ve also got root bear floats and shakes for grown-ups (read: they’ve got booze in ’em,) and a great beer selection. The beer and cocktails are a bit pricey, but this place is worth it. (BRGR Bar, 5997 Penn Circle South, East Liberty. Info: 412-362-BEEF,

The boom in Pittsburgh filmmaking is practically old news by now with the site of film crews passe and only the highest-caliber stars seen as worthy of stalking around town at this point. Still, it’s fairly impressive that you can head to the multiplex this weekend and have your selection of three different Hollywood projects shot in and around town.

The one to avoid is, unfortunately, Tony Scott’s bit of train-action madness, Unstoppable. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine turn in fine performances as two mismatched train conductors trying desperately to corral a runaway locomotive tearing through Western PA, but the nauseating, frenetic direction renders the process more irritating than enjoyable. Nothing to see here.

I haven’t seen Love and Other Drugs yet, but I have it on good authority that it’s certainly good but far raunchier than you might imagine from the bland advertising. Be prepared for (physical) love and (real) drugs.

I do have a high endorsement for The Next Three Days, writer/director Paul Haggis’s prison-break thriller. Russell Crowe spends years planning to bust his wife, convicted of murder, out of the Allegheny County Jail. Pittsburgh is mapped and shot to extreme-enough detail that you can actually play along with the movie—tell me you don’t tense up when the escape plan involves taking 28-North. Even without the local connection, it’s a fine, compelling film with excellent performances all around. Cheers to this dramatic, subtle action flick from one of Hollywood’s most underrated directors. (All films in wide release.)

I’ve probably mentioned the Sharp Edge family of bars more than any other Pittsburgh establishment. The Friendship location is my favorite bar (and my neighborhood hang-out). I love the downtown bar as well—the food is great, the beer is better … they bear repeated mentions is what I’m saying.

Recently, I’ve been in the habit of hitting up the Friendship bar (that’s Sharp Edge Beer Emporium for those of you keeping score) for Steelers games, and I’ve discovered something shocking: Not many people do that. Despite the perfect game food, despite the amazing beer list, despite the multiple flat screens all around the main room, the crowd at Sharp Edge come kickoff is never more than mid-sized.

This, of course, makes it the perfect place to go this Sunday night for Steelers-Ravens—nearly all of the usual suspect sports bars will be shoulder to shoulder, and those bars aren’t as good as this one anyway. Need extra motivation? If Hines Ward scores, the mystery beer is only 86 cents.

Don’t tell too many people, though. I like being able to get a booth 30 seconds before the game begins without any hassle. (Sharp Edge Beer Emporium, 302 S St. Clair St., Friendship. Info: 412/661-3537,

Categories: After Dark