Men are suffering at the cineplex this awards season like never before. And we’re suffering along with them because we have to watch. Sleeping inside horse carcasses and getting mauled by bears, like Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) in “The Revenant,” or trying to survive on Mars by eating food grown in excrement, like Mark Watney (Matt Damon) in “The Martian,” may bring Oscar nods, but it isn’t pretty.
One of the great pleasures of seeing a film on a big screen is getting all the huge close-ups of appealing movie stars. So “The Revenant,” starring the fetching trifecta of DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson, should be contractually obligated to show their faces, instead of covering them up with scars, dirt and the scraggliest beards this side of a Williamsburg pickle maker.
To follow, a view of some of the egregious offenders this season, along with examples of films that dealt with similar subject matter in a much prettier fashion. Because we just want to do our part to objectify everyone equally.
Some critics are calling “The Revenant” a beautiful film. Beautiful, no. Dirty, bloody and hirsute, yes.
You want beauty? Try the Oscar-winning “Dances With Wolves” (1990). Kevin Costner had terrible facial hair at first, but he had the good sense to shave it off, which led to him hooking up with that nice Mary McDonnell. And his blowout was always perfect.
“The Hateful Eight”
Why did Quentin Tarantino need to film this in 70mm? To give Kurt Russell’s mustache an 80-foot wingspan? (Although to be fair, we must give credit for the equal opportunity grunginess heaped on Jennifer Jason Leigh.)
Take a cue from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969), for they led a gang of no-account roughnecks through a changing frontier, yet acquitted themselves handsomely the entire time. Ask yourself: Could your leading men attract Katharine Ross? No? Then give them all a bath.
Matt Damon manages to shave his nasty beard off before escaping the Red Planet. You know why? Because he knows people are going to see him and he wants to look his best. Well guess what, people had to see him for the previous two hours too.
When Sandra Bullock was stranded in “Gravity” (2013), she looked like a million bucks. Granted, she was only in space for a few hours. But we’ll bet that even three years in, the audience wouldn’t see her needing to shave.
“The Big Short”
This hilarious, upsetting movie chronicles the bank scandal of 2008. So why did so many of its stars sport hairstyles out of a 1970s yearbook? Fine, Steve Carell doesn’t know how handsome he is, so we’ll give his squirrel’s nest a pass, but the Supercuts atop Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt? Not cool, men.
Back in 1987, “Wall Street” addressed soulless American greed as well, yet stars Charlie Sheen and (Oscar winner) Michael Douglas looked sleek doing so. Yes, the style may be dated now, but back then it was as hot as Pat Riley.
“By the Sea”
Speaking of Pitt in the ‘70s. Please, take a cue from your costar.
Angelina Jolie Pitt didn’t give herself a Dorothy Hamill wedge to hew more closely to the time period. Even through her grief, her hair was perfect.
Oh Johnny, Johnny, Johnny (Depp, Depp, Depp). We know you hate your good looks; you dive into a pile of prosthetics every chance you get. But we love them. Bring them back — and not just in a perfume commercial.
2006’s “The Departed” gave us the same story but it focused on the handsome trio of DiCaprio, Damon and Mark Wahlberg. A story of treachery shouldn’t have to betray our trust.
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
With a hatchet job haircut and a metal cage on his face for part of the film, it’s no wonder Max is mad. Hardy seems to despise his beauty as much as Pitt and Depp. But the rest of us don’t, Tom. Remember that.
Just cast your gaze back to the earlier “Mad Max” movies, and the once-beloved eye candy that was Mel Gibson.
“In the Heart of the Sea”
Chris Hemsworth was voted the sexiest man alive, not the skinniest drifter in Marfa. We’re not saying that’s why the film did so poorly at the box office — but we’re thinking it.
You know who else was lost at sea and faced terrible odds of survival? Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” (2002). Yes, he had a terrible beard but he also had abs to die for, even inspiring the Cast Away Diet craze. Seriously, look it up.
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