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Don’t Say We Never Gave You Anything: Beards

May 10, 2011

Somewhere between Why We Love… and LOL Search Terms, certain phrases pop up in the stats that give us a peak into the psyche of our audience. I love knowing what brought people into the door of Fry Butter, especially when it’s something specific that I’m fond of myself. In this case, beards!

Our cool music expert P0plife has mentioned some beardo musicians a few times during Friday Five posts.  We also have two popular beard posts. First is Snarky Machine’s write-up of Rocky IV.….

 Ooh beard watch! Beginnings of the beard of sorrow.

….and the second popular post, also by Snarky, references Orson Welles and his powerful beard in the write-up for the movie F is for Fake.

“I boarded a plane, grew another beard and made another movie.”

The Rocky IV beard (or the Rocky 4 beard, if your prefer) is a great example of the grief beard or hermit beard – a trope to indicate the hero is too busy digging deep within themselves to take the time to apply a hot razor to the face. They may also be burrowing someplace cold and rugged, so it helps set the mood.  Orson’s beard serves as a disguise, whether it’s hiding from a fake identity or from a formerly illustrious film career as a serious actor. Actually, Welles looks quite handsome as a silver daddy bear, much like Perry Mason, er, Raymond Burr did. I prefer the more mature stylings of both men later in life.

There are two actors who I think are quite talented all-around, but I only want to jump their bones when they are sporting facial hair. The first is Hugh Jackman…..


….and the second is Viggo Mortensen.

critically-acclaimed actor.... of certain fantasies.

Given the love I have for beards, I’m surprised I haven’t written more lovefest posts here, though what can I say that BetterWith A Beard hasn’t already shown us?

The beard wave is trending down, according to fashion reports, though I’m sure a few will stick around (including the one on my face). Who should be hitting the razor and who should let their scruff continue to flow free?

53 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2011 3:36 pm

    OMG is that Bill Hurt? What a fabulous beard.

  2. May 10, 2011 3:39 pm

    Mandy had a nice enough beard in Yentl, but this captain caveman number makes me love him even more (if that’s possible)

    Redford in Jeremiah Johnson:

    Harrison Ford before he goes on the run:

    Billy Dee and Sly were not fooling around with that facial hair!

  3. May 10, 2011 3:43 pm

    Seeing Mark Wahlberg’s inability to grow a beard in The Perfect Storm helped me come to terms with my early lack of facial hair.

  4. May 10, 2011 3:46 pm

    I think William Hurt had that facial hair during the 2010 Golden Globes? I remember seeing it an awards show, but can’t remember which one, it might have been Oscars.

    Patinkin in Yentl is one of my gold-standards for a full beard!

  5. May 10, 2011 3:47 pm

    What did I see him in where he had a coke beard. Maybe Boogie Nights. It was kind of greasy/shiny and he looked a bit unkempt. Speaking of, Burt had a nice beard in Boogie Nights!

  6. May 10, 2011 3:49 pm

    Having spent the majority of my adult life bearded, I confess I’m a bit partial to actors with beards.

    Among the actors I take more seriously when bearded are George Clooney, Harrison Ford, and Donald Sutherland.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen Timothy Hutton in a beard, but I think it would be a good look for him.

    I think having a full beard is the key. Goatees are only good if you’re a villain or Rip Torn. Soul patches do not count as beards IMO.

  7. May 10, 2011 3:53 pm

    If I saw Timothy Hutton in a beard, I might assume Nate was currently on a really long bender.

    I agree, certain people can pull off goatees, but they are not as universally becoming. And agreed, a soul patch doesn’t really count: they’re half a moustache on the wrong side of the tracks.

  8. evmaroon permalink
    May 10, 2011 4:04 pm

    I’m totally with you regarding Viggo! Hawtness. My favorite: Javier Bardem.

    Runners up: Jeff Bridges, Sean Connery.

  9. May 10, 2011 4:04 pm

    Haha. I wonder how long we’ll go before mentioning the Brolins or Robin Williams. Man, those cats can grow them a beard.

    James Pickens Jr. and Eric Dane make me not hate goatees. On the other hand Ethan Hawke – how can a goatee get that GREASY – makes me totally hate them.

    I am not mad at Ewan’s Star Wars beard yet.

  10. May 10, 2011 4:11 pm

    oh damn, Ewan in a beard. *swoon*

    I might actually prefer Javier when he’s in the middle with a week of scruff. I was going to post a might Jeff Bridges beard at the beginning of the post, but came across Hurt’s first. The Dude pulled off the classic rock goatee which worked, but has had a lot of variations!

  11. May 10, 2011 4:12 pm

    and I’ll take this version of Jon Hamm over Don Draper anyday.

  12. evmaroon permalink
    May 10, 2011 4:17 pm

    I was thinking about Jon Hamm, Raymond! Good call!
    Hell, I’ll take Javier most any way he decides to show up.

  13. IrishUp permalink
    May 10, 2011 4:37 pm

    “And agreed, a soul patch doesn’t really count: they’re half a moustache on the wrong side of the tracks.” *steals*

    I think Jeff Bridges’ beard is hotte! Then again, it’s JB.

    I generally don’t like the “trying to look less baby-faced/ pretty” beards, a la Leo or Robert Pattinson:

    I am totes on board with BWAB: NOBODY likes beardless Jonathan Frakes! Number One needs the goddam beard.

  14. IrishUp permalink
    May 10, 2011 4:52 pm

    whoops! lots more JB there while I was posting. Which is a good thing.

  15. May 10, 2011 5:10 pm

    Omg, there is never enough JB! I’m mixed on Christian Bale. I like his Reign of Fire Beard but not that hot mess he sported at the oscars. It was a little too Castaway for me. Though oddly I did like Hanks’s beard in that movie.

    Normally Boutsikaras does brisk business in a beard, but he does the goatee proud too.

    Count me in as another one who doesn’t think Frakes should ever be beardless.

    I would pay cashmoney for Will with a full beard.

    Jimmy Smits does a casual beard. I like it on him. There’s really not a lot you can do to mess up Jimmy Smits.

    Ken is totally teasing us with his sexy stubble!!!

  16. May 10, 2011 5:20 pm

    Jon Hamm looks amazing with a beard.

  17. May 10, 2011 5:24 pm

    Oh look, it’s Timmy Hutton with a beard!

  18. May 10, 2011 5:26 pm

    Robert P’s beard looks like a hippie college boy beard.

  19. May 10, 2011 5:33 pm

    I LOVE a bearded face. Someone must have pulled some kind of Philip K Dick style hijinks to make me forget that because not sure how else I could have married Hubster. I’m still holding out for some kind of mid-life male menopausal event where he suddenly can grow one like a chia pet. I would be over the moon!

    But until then, there’s the movie stars. People I like with beards:

    Russell Crowe – just way better with a beard.
    Tom Cruise – While I can objectively identify him as handsome, I’ve never personally found him sexy – until I saw him in that Jamie Foxx movie where he had the gray hair and scruff – Whoa Momma! – he looked like a silver wolf!
    Scott Speedman – infinitely better; it almost makes him look kind of smart.
    Just about any red-headed dude looks better with a beard, or at least some scruff – e.g. Scott Grimes, Damien Lewis, Seth Green, and Tony Curran

  20. IrishUp permalink
    May 10, 2011 5:40 pm

    Imma have to splash some cold water on to keep looking at Ken. Yowza!

    Issac Hayes rocked the bald & full beard look. I know it’s gotten played, but I can’t quit Johhny Depp’s Cap’n Jack look, either.

  21. May 10, 2011 5:40 pm

    The beard in Rocky IV is pretty much the reason I watched Rocky IV more than all the other Rocky movies combined (times 2 or 3).

    And another vote for the Hugh Jackman beard love! Viggo Mortensen bearded is pretty much unstoppable in my book.

    And I totally agree with Snarkysmachine about Christian Bale’s beard. Reign of Fire was good, but the Oscar beard – he need another ten years on him at least before he can carry off that birds nest with any kind of dignity. He just came off seeming like he had no idea how to handle the attention being paid him.

  22. IrishUp permalink
    May 10, 2011 5:42 pm

    Hsofia – yes! the red-headed beard. My fave was Gavin O’Hurlihy in his Willow years. Eric Stoltz’s too.

  23. May 10, 2011 6:01 pm

    Eric Stoltz looks so much better bearded! He has hair the color of an Irish Setter and his beard is that color too. He looks quite fetching with one.

    Is is Christian or is it JAMES BROLIN??? You decide:

    and don’t forget Josh who tends to phone in his beards, but they look lovely just the same

    Michael Douglas and his fierce China Syndrome beard!

  24. unscrambled permalink
    May 10, 2011 6:03 pm

    I remain happy about the beard trend, and because I live with a long term beardo (blahblahblah92yaddayadda), I have become interested from when the beard changes from Classy Handsome Man to Maybe I Should Cross The Street (note that my partner is currently rocking mostly the latter).

    Interestingly, none of the beards on this list are in that territory.

    The only famous person that I can think of is that famous white guy who made a rap album that was supposed to be art but actually he’s just a tool whose name I forget.

  25. May 10, 2011 6:35 pm

    The only famous person that I can think of is that famous white guy who made a rap album that was supposed to be art but actually he’s just a tool whose name I forget.

    hahahahaha. this is exactly the description that Joaquin Phoenix deserves.

  26. May 10, 2011 6:58 pm

    Brian De Palma!!!

  27. May 10, 2011 7:27 pm

    Yeah, I was a Joaquin fan (still think he’s a terrific actor), but he kinda jumped the shark there. What a nightmare for his agent.

  28. unscrambled permalink
    May 10, 2011 9:29 pm

    Hahaha yes Phoenix, thanks Raymond. Holy crap, look at Pacino in the last bit HSofia posted. Yikes. Though I’d argue that there’s an eyebrows element to the yikes.

  29. May 10, 2011 9:37 pm

    Al’s beard really reached its apotheosis in Serpico.

  30. May 10, 2011 10:25 pm

    Great beards of Asian cinema:

    Toshiro Mifune, Red Beard (of course)

    Zhang Fengyi, The Emperor and the Assassin

    Tony Leung, Infernal Affairs

    Leslie Cheung, The Bride with White Hair (definitely the best he ever looked)

    Chow Yun Fat, Curse of the Golden Flower

    Zhang Fengyi AND Takeshi Kaneshiro, Red Cliff (double yum!)

  31. May 10, 2011 10:28 pm

    PS. I would also like to bring back topnots as a viable male hairstyle. That is all.

  32. May 10, 2011 10:56 pm

    Kenneth Branagh. He DEFINITELY looks better with a beard.

    Compare this:

    to this:

    And he has had quite the variety of beards, too. From this Color Me Badd Iago number here:

    … to his blond soul patch as Hamlet:

    Not sure what you’d call that chin area rug he had in Dead Again?

    And in his heyday he could just rock the scruff:

  33. May 10, 2011 11:07 pm

    @ash966: i remember noticing Chow Yun Fat’s beard in that movie!! that is a powerful list, thanks for sharing.

    @hsofia: I call that chin beard a Dobie Gillis. or a caterpillar.

  34. Lani permalink
    May 10, 2011 11:09 pm

    I have nothing new to add to this thread, but I had to chime in and say, YES OH GOD YES to Viggo, Hugh Jackman, Will Smith, Ken Watanabe…ok they’re all some fine-looking men either way but oh man those beards are delicious.

  35. May 10, 2011 11:50 pm

    I just died over Ash’s list. CHOW YOUNG FAT. So much yes. so so so much yes.

  36. May 11, 2011 8:15 am

    Damn, how could I forget Tadanobu Asano, who usually rocks a beard. Here he is in Mongol:

  37. May 11, 2011 9:21 am

    Hello, Asano!!!!! Come sit next to me.

  38. May 11, 2011 9:40 am

    *works on Michael Douglas beard*

  39. May 11, 2011 9:58 am

    Donald Sutherland wins the internet. Santa, baby…

  40. May 11, 2011 10:02 am

    Oh that Sutherland picture is amazing! I bet the line for his lap is long indeed.

  41. May 11, 2011 10:03 am

    Lest we forget, the amazing Ricky Jay who apparently never leaves home without his beard:

  42. May 11, 2011 10:15 am

    Omg Ricky Jay! I just watched a hilarious episode of The X-files with him!

  43. IrishUp permalink
    May 11, 2011 10:29 am

    Woah. I usually associate the rly rly big beard with “good”, probably because of Santa and all those hippy beards I grew up with (Jerry Garcia, Pete Seger, etc). Donald manages to work it sinister.

    ash966 – I am feeling you on the topnot!

  44. May 11, 2011 11:34 am

    I agree with Everett, Sean Connery is totally improved by his beard. He even manages to pull off a non-sinister goatee!

    He can also rock a tux like nobody besides Gere!

  45. May 11, 2011 12:02 pm

    oooohh. Hello, Sean!!!

  46. May 11, 2011 12:07 pm

    Zachary Quinto definitely gets hotter as the beard gets heavier.

    But the rest of his hair is often a hot mess.

  47. May 11, 2011 12:09 pm

    Zach’s as a cute as cute can be. I love his nose and lips.

  48. May 11, 2011 12:17 pm

    Flexo! See, a beard definitely makes a character more evil.

    Nah, I’m just yanking your chain.

  49. May 11, 2011 12:20 pm

    Ha!!! I love Flexo.

  50. unscrambled permalink
    May 14, 2011 8:26 pm

    Ok that Sutherland business is Crossing The Street fodder. I wonder if he’s that scary in real life?

  51. May 15, 2011 2:43 am

    I think when coupled with Manson highbeam, it’s definitely a street crosser.

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