Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Month of the Moustache

 The Sam Elliott

Erich Kuersten of Acidemic here, filling in for Nathan and telling you about "Movember" -- a worldwide charity event wherein men grow out their moustaches and people have parties and models sponsor them and profits go to fight prostate cancer. In other words, it's a men's health thing, cocaine and Cristal are optional. Women do walk-a-thons for breast cancer, men sit back and smoke 'sinse in a steam tub, whilst they grow 'staches for prostate cancer. And somehow, that's totally fair.

Now, I already have a moustache, which disqualifies me from the event (one must start the month clean shaven according to the rules). But as a film blogger guesting for the great 'stache enthusiast Nathaniel R, I'm going to concentrate on bringing you random highlights and examples in the world of the cinematic moustache menagerie.

 The Squaramerican

The square American 'dad'-stache often is accompanied by nerdy glasses and a disturbingly sincere smile, maybe also a toupee. It's a part often played by William H. Macy. Here, it's the wondrous Matt Damon in the Macy-ish role of THE INFORMANT. This moustache screams of wanting children, a family man who might just kidnap some if he can't grow his own.

 The Pencil

Price embodies elgance and sinister style with his pencil thin trademark 'stache. He's the perfect 'stache candidate thanks to the long gap between nose and upper lip. Whenever he plays a role that requires him to go stache-less, he kind of crosses the line between creepy fey and just fey, and creepy, as in this shot from Corman's FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1960):


John Waters rocks the pencil with irony, and B-list MGM gigolos like Edmund Lowe rocked it with seriousness. It says: "Embrace me world, I'm fey and accessible! You don't have to take me seriously as a he-man, and I'll join you in the kitchen to sneer at Dana Andrews!"

Now every once in awhile a slew of mustaches come along that just raise facial hair to a new level. You can't tell me the current rash of mustaches and beards ain't cuz of 2007's double whammy of Daniel Plainview in THERE WILL BE BLOOD and Josh Brolin in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. But what about five years earlier, and ALMOST FAMOUS's Billy Crudup? All the women I love love his stache, but I hate the movie for the way Cameron Crowe co-opts and then de-fangs rock culture. But I can't deny Crudup, or that stache:

The Seventies Moderate

Yes, the seventies was an amazing time for moustaches. I could devote whole encyclopedias to an exploration of Italian giallo detective 'staches. But why? Instead let's balance things out by examining some of the less effective, if not downright silly examples.

The Lip-Shredder

Dean Stockwell in THE DUNWICH HORROR (1970, my review here) wears a moustache that's cut so sharply along a central line that you really feel the pain of whatever girl has to kiss him, in this case, it's poor old Sandra Dee.

The Tonsilorium Paste-Up

Sometimes a moustache can't be grown; it has to be pasted. In the case of Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in TOMBSTONE, it always feels like it's about to fall right off. But we love Val Kilmer, so who's to judge? And for god's sakes, grow it out, and get some Movember merch to wow your aides and support your pros. Hair's looking at you, kid! Oh no he didn't! Stay tuned for part deux!


Glenn said...

Hmm, I'm not quite sure you got the essence of Movember there in your opening by somehow turning it into a sexist gag.

Then, maybe it's because I don't like moustaches that makes me think growing one really is punishing.

Great post though. Loving all those mo's. I was hoping of Fu Manchu, alas... :)

Erich Kuersten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erich Kuersten said...

Thanks Glen, I didn't mean to misresepct the misses... just thought it was funny... and also my ex-roomate and old band lead guitarist Dave is big into the Movemeber thing, via his jet set model friends, of which I am excluded by reasons of sobriety and no money. So I'm JEALOUS!

Fu Manchu is coming for part two of Movemeber Stachathon

Lastly - its not punishing to grow one, it's liberating! and in the winter, its excellent insulation. My advice, just throw all your razors away and then shop for an electric trimmer around April. You got to get past the stubble hurtle, and then the itchy patchy, and then the droopy mopey, and they you are home free!!