Every November a movement occurs in which people raise funds to help support those battling cancer by not shaving. There’s No-Shave November where folks are encouraged to put down the razor and instead donate the month’s shaving funds to cancer research or to those in need of financial assistance as they go through chemotherapy. Then there’s Movember, where the focus is on letting that beautiful upper lip hair grow to help raise awareness surrounding prostate and testicular cancer, as well as suicide.
While none of the staff at Flixist are manly enough to grow any facial hair at all, in honor of this facially focused month, we are celebrating our favorite perfectly groomed beards, mustaches, and Fu Manchus as seen throughout cinema. To kick things off, I present to you the only true greatest face fluff: Kurt Russell in Hateful Eight.
“Grizzled” is the best word to describe John “The Hangman” Ruth. His mustache only amplifies his demeanor as he rides to claim the bounty of the recalcitrant Daisy Domergue. Ruth’s gloriously overflowing whiskers portend his internal attitude. He’s over-confident and direct, not one to shy away from confrontation or be the one to instigate it. He commands attention and the free-flowing facial fur only bolsters the respect he feels he deserves. In a movie with gruff outlaws and death hiding around the corner, Ruth’s mustache has a je ne sais quoi that just simply fits the bounty hunter’s aura.
The Amazing Mustache Gary (Final Space) – Sian Francis-Cox
Gary is a prisoner aboard the Galaxy One, a lonely spacecraft drifting through the void. Serving a 5-year sentence for destroying 92 star cruisers at a Mexican family restaurant (in an effort to impress the beautiful but aloof pilot Quinn) – well, life isn’t really going great for him. But when he meets Mooncake, a glorious lil’ gumball of love of an alien, who happens to be a planet-destroyer and hunted by an evil overlord, things start to heat up. And in order to face what lies ahead, Gary has to face what’s inside himself.
What’s inside himself happens to be The Amazing Mustache Gary, an infinitely superior imaginary iteration of Gary with a rich, thick, luscious mustache. He knows it. He flaunts it. He even has a tiny little comb to keep it clean. A comb! The Amazing Mustache Gary perfectly embodies everything Gary wants to be in life, everything he knows he must live up to, everything he’s not. It’s a moment of clarity, an identity epiphany for Gary: realizing he’s only human, and can only be the Gary he is right now, mustache or no mustache.
It’s profound. It’s inspiring. And it’s what gets Gary ready to face the ultimate evil. All I can say is that Olan Rogers will have my undying affection for bringing The Amazing Mustache Gary into existence.
All of The Dude’s Hair (The Big Lebowski) – Drew Stuart
Long, flowing, dirty blonde hair. A goatee, quite unkempt. This is The Dude’s hairstyle. And it’s perfect. To The Dude, it says that he’s a go with the flow kind of guy. He’s down to see your band next Friday, and he doesn’t even need to know what vices your lead singer has. On the other hand, he’s a slacker. A loser. A halfwit. A numbskull. That’s all well and good too. It’s the kind of hair that fits in with a T-shirt or a robe. With a desecrated rug. With anything, man….
The Dude’s hair is so iconic because of how ubiquitous it is. Everyone knows The Dude. We’ve all met him, in his many different forms. And his goatee, his long flowing locks, are a dead giveway for someone who’d prefer anything but The Eagles.
The Entire Cast of Tombstone’s Upper Lips (Tombstone) – Rick Lash
The wild, wild west. Whiskey. Dust. Gunfights. Gold! Ranches. Cattle. Whiiiiiiiiiskey. And mustaches, the deadliest mustaches that e’er lived. Sure, Tombstone is about the boom and bust mining town of the 19th century, made singularly famous by the Gun Fight at the O.K. Corral involving both Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday. But more so, it’s about a civilization built around facial ornamentation backed up with cold steel and hot lead. In a world where tempers ran high, fueled by a ne’er ending pools of whiskey, a man could be judged not by his word or moral fiber, but by the machismo, pomp, and circumstance of his whiskers.
Think on it. Every desperado, miner, card shark, bartender and cowboy in this film is adorned with face fungus most prominent. These soup-strainers are wild, mild or organized rank and file. The face lace comes in all varieties, but their mannerisms mean, serious, deadly and don’t fuck with me. When a man crossing the street was as likely to have a gunfight as reach the other side, one’s nose bug was the first line of defense in deterring the riffraff. Sure, the pistol in your hand sent a message, but your finely trimmed (or careless and unkempt) flavor saver backed it up.
Anyone who knows me well will likely not be surprised that I am still far too obsessed over this absurdity. Any cultured moviegoer will remember the predicament that ensued as a result of reshoots for Justice League and production of Mission: Impossible—Fallout, with Henry Cavill starring in both. Cavill sported facial hair for the latter film, and the Superman we know does not sport any as such. A compromise between Justice League studio Warner Bros. and Mission studio Paramount had Cavill, facial hair and all, perform as Superman, with said facial hair being removed in post-production. The results were delightfully eerie, with Cavill looking like he was suffering from severe allergies at points, and at some angles, appearing as an accidental John Travolta.
It’s all funny on its own, but what makes the story more beautiful is the fact that Paramount reportedly declined Warner’s offer of having Cavill’s face shaven and covering the costs of having CGI facial hair, which theoretically was more practical and cheaper, not to mention it probably would have looked better. But no, the stache had to stay, because… the facial hair was important to Cavill’s character? I can only imagine Paramount executives trying to stifle their snickers while on a conference call with Warner Bros., and I’d like to think that this was a deliberate act of sabotage against Justice League, not that it needed that one more thing to make that film even worse. Having seen, reviewed, and loved Fallout, I couldn’t tell you why the facial hair was essential for Cavill’s character of August Walker, but I guess it helped me to differentiate this character from Superman and his Man from U.N.C.L.E. secret agent character. Cavill is a monster in this film, a hulking cannonball of testosterone, so in a way, perhaps it was essential.
Still, Warner Bros. could have saved a lot of money if they just gave Superman a mustache.
Cesar Romero and The Original Superhero Mustache Coverup (Batman) – Matthew Razak
Chris is way off base with his pick and that’s because of the simple fact that Henry Cavill’s mustache controversy was simply a pale reflection of the original superhero mustache kerfuffle. You see, back when the Batman TV series was casting its Joker the producers wanted Cesar Romero, he of the debonair looks and iconic mustache. It’s a bit of casting that on its face value seemed off as Romero was a Hollywood heartthrob (Sound familiar?). Romero agreed to play The Joker, but he refused to shave off that sexy mustache. The solution? Paint over the thing.
Here’s the difference between captain digital-no-stache up there, and Romero’s Joker: the unshaved mustache fit perfectly into the wonderfully odd and campy production that was both the Adam West Batman TV show and Batman movie. The white mustache is the perfect metaphor for the show’s deadpan delivery of its unique brand of insanity. Not that we’d know it, but had the Joker not had a mustache he would have been less than, normal, run-of-the-mill. Romero’s giggling and manic interpretation of the clown prince of crime was good, but it was the not-so-hidden mustache that pushed it into true camp. How was this their solution to this problem? The answer, it turns out, is because it was the right one. For that, it is clearly the single greatest piece of facial hair known to any screen.
Groucho Marx’s Greasepaint Mustache (Marx Brothers films) – Hubert Vigilla
The best cinematic facial hair doesn’t need to be real. Groucho Marx’s iconic mustache is as fake as a three-dollar bill, but that’s by design. It’s facial hair that plays to the cheap seats, which were all paid for with three-dollar bills (I’ll tell you, that millionaire theater owner is going to become a thousandaire in no time, and a hundredaire by the time I get through with him.). The thick greasepaint mustache was pure serendipity. Groucho didn’t have time to put on a real fake-mustache before a vaudeville show. As a quick fix, he painted on a fake mustache, and a legendary look was born. Throughout the Marx Brothers’ classic films, the stache was all greasepaint, all the time. Later in life, Groucho Marx would grow a real mustache, which could be seen clearly from the cheap seats as long as those seats were near a TV.
The Groucho Marx look is so iconic that it gave birth to Groucho Glasses. You know what they are: thick-rimmed glasses, fake eyebrows, fake schnozz, and a real fake-mustache. These ubiquitous tchotchkes allowed normal folks to become the snarky, quip-a-minute nogoodnik we all know and love. Groucho Glasses also gave bank robbers who don’t have time for greasepaint a handy disguise that could be purchased at the nearest Cracker Barrel for a crisp three-dollar bill.
Mr. Turtle and the Complete Lack of Hair (The Master of Disguise) – Bradley Sexton
This entire topic was a trick question if you ask me because clearly, no hair is the best kind of facial hair. Why waste valuable time maintaining an ugly, itchy tuft of facial hair when you could have a smooth, clean look and a strong jawline to boot. No, facial hair gets in the way of the golden ratio faces we expect our stars and starlets to have.
This is why Dana Carvey as Mr. Turtle is the perfect type of facial hair. Not only does he not have a beard or mustache, but he doesn’t have any hair at all! Sure, he may be the most unfunny, obnoxious character in a movie that perfected unfunny, obnoxious characters, but look at the shine on his head. You could fry an egg on top of that thing or rattle off a sick bongo solo. If he had hair, this scene would be stupid, ugly and dumb instead of just stupid and dumb.
Pei Mei’s Legendary Fu Manchu (Kill Bill) – Jesse Lab
It stuns me how we’ve gotten to the final entry on this list, yet no one decided to talk about Pei Mei and his legendary facial hair! It may not have cost millions of dollars, but I would argue that there is no better facial hair in existence than Pei Mei’s glorious stache. I’m tempted to not even call it a stache since there’s a nice long white tendril growing down from his chin. In my books, Pei Mei has the best mustache as well as the best beard.
And then you have his glorious beard/stache flip. Let me set the scene for you. The Bride travels across the world to be trained by Pai Mei, creator of the Five Fingered Death Punch. When she meets him, he berates her and then promptly kicks her ass. But that’s nothing compared to… the flip. Laughing at her face, Pai Mei gently strokes his Fu Manchu and gives it a solid flip up, giving it just a few seconds of hang time to really rub it in her face. His mustache and beard combo became the cinematic definition of badass facial hair. It’s a look that can only exist on screen, never in real life. THAT’S a movie mustache.