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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Actors bringing hairy back

Published: November 9, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

What makes a bad-ass movie character? Sometimes it is courage. Sometimes it is killer ninja skills. Sometimes it is the ability to stay cool when a million things around you are simultaneously exploding. Sometimes it is the result of amazing facial hair.

Facial hair and movies go back quite a ways. Of course in classic cinema, being mustachioed usually means you are a bad guy (or Clark Gable). But now, killer facial hair means only one thing: awesome.

5. King Leonidas in 300

Certainly one of the most ridiculous and unnecessary films ever made must have one of the most ridiculous and unnecessary beards ever glued on a mans chin. Gerard Butler, the actor who played our gigantic-mouthed, speaker-frying hero, must have needed several ounces of crazy glue to get that hair triangle to stick. Never mind the fact that everyone in that movie looked like they were cut from solid gold, it is the perfect triangle of a beard, jutting out at a nearly 45-degree angle that sells this movie.

4. Gimli in The Lord of the Rings

Hes a dwarf. Which means that having a gigantic, smothering red beard would weigh him down a bit. Well maybe, he is rather plump. The best part about Gimlis beard are the two little pony tails at each end of his fur facial extension. They must have shaved a ton of cows for that beard. Also on an ironic note, the actor who plays Gimli in the trilogy is really, really tall . I guess it's fitting he is cast as a wonderfully shaggy Dwarf, right?

3. Captain Hook in Hook

Man, Hook, what a film! Generally regarded as one of Spielbergs worst, I am tempted to disagree. Dustin Hoffmans ham-stuffed performance as the effete British pirate captain so concerned about manners is so crazy it works. This guy would destroy Jack Sparrow any day. Hooks mustache is where its at, though. The guy is terrified of clocks, and so whenever he hears one, his wonderfully waxed and coiled mustache ticks along with it. It's quite a sight.

2. Pai Mei in Kill Bill: Vol. 2

This guy not only has the coolest beard/mustache combo ever, hes got insane, hilarious, and deadly ninja moves to back it up. Also check out his eyebrows. Is that even possible? Nevertheless, the guy has no qualms beating up his students and then playing with his beard in satisfaction. Just some awe-inspiring facial hair to go along with a ridiculous character. Did I mention he pulls out some chicks eyeball with his hand?

1. R.J. MacReady in The Thing

Kurt Russell is all about the hair. That man has been rocking the mullet for upwards of two and a half decades now. Of course, in his most extremely bad-ass role he had to up the ante. So he grew a beard. An awesome beard, coupled with some crazy sunglasses, an oversized hat, and a flamethrower, and youve got the epitome of cool. And to top it off, he fights a giant shape-shifting alienin Antarctica. I just dont know what is cooler than that. This movie is worth buying for the sight of that beard alone.

So there you have it. Next time you think about slowly cultivating that stubble on your face into something truly exhilarating, take a look at these heroes. Do you really want your facial hair to be a sad excuse for cool, or do you want to take it to the next level?