Hair Like Jesus Wore It. Hallelujah! I Adore It!
Dressed up like a million dollar trouper
Trying mighty hard to look like Gary Cooper (super duper)
Come let's mix where Rockefellers walk with sticks
or umberellas in their mitts,
Puttin' on the ritz.
~Irving Berlin (or Taco)
This is a busy post. It does not rest on single ideas, but seeks to draw connections where they don't exist. As a result, the reader will be left with a "what the fuck?" type of feeling.
The subject of movie hair is very close to my heart. Well, actually, no. It's not. But just pretend for the moment that it is. It'll make all the typing I'm about to do worthwhile. There are many men in cinema history that exemplify the commitment movie stars have to perfect hair. The two people I have chosen are Johnny Depp in "Nightmare on Elm Street" and Nathan Fillion in "Serenity." But more on those men later. (See? Told you.)
Fred Astaire was more than just a dancer. He was a consummate gentleman, a cavalier, and a man for whom any movement looked just as easy as breathing. I saw "Swing Time" a week ago, and was completely wow-ed by that man's talent. Dancing with Ginger Rogers, he seemed to float across dance floors with a smoothness completely alien to the current booty-dancing standard style. Everything was so smooth, so easy that it seemed like Astaire was riding his feet rather than driving them. And what can be said of Ginger Rogers except for "Rowwrr?" Nothing, that's what.
The evaluation of Astaire's first screen test: "Can't act. Can't sing. Balding. Can dance a little."
I think Johnny Depp's hair from his aforementioned role in "Nightmare On Elm Street" most closely parallels the character Fred Astaire was. Everything about that hair was so effortless. Even in dire straits, the hair remained calm and adroit. Seriously, watch Nightmare sometime. See if you can spot any time at which Depp's hair looks other than perfect. Depp's is the hair of an aristocrat, all feathery and unresponsive to the dangers surrounding it. Fred Astaire, too, seems to keep his style relatively consistent. The same look. The same showmanship. He and Depp's hair are institutions representing staid romance and propriety. You could always rely on Depp's hair to be there. It's comforting. Just like his character in the film. Just like Fred Astaire.
He makes it look so easy.
Hello, Charlie Sheen? Is your refrigerator running? It is? Well, YOUR HAIR SUCKED IN PLATOON!
Gene Kelly is the obvious comparison to Mr. Astaire. Gene Kelly once said of himself: "I arrived in Hollywood twenty pounds overweight and as strong as an ox. But if I put on white tails and a tux like Astaire, I still looked like a truck driver." Gene Kelly was the dancer of the proletariat (the truck drivers). His workmanlike attitude fashioned new steps. He mixed styles and varied his art, attempting to make new, bold statements in his dancing. He existed to change, to excite his viewer, and to wow you with his talent and athleticism. (Really, what the fuck am I talking about?) Everything in Kelly's performances vary, at times, too much. When people (who hate musicals) think of musicals today, they think of the hokey, overblown acting in Kelly's work. Kelly never stops trying to entertain you with his variation. Just like Fillion's hair in "Serenity."
"Fred Astaire represented the aristocracy, I represented the proletariat."
I don't really want to spoil anything about such a new movie for those people who've yet to see it, so I'll just stick to the hair. It's perfect from every angle, and, what's more, it's shape changes. Fillion's hair dips and spikes in all the right places. It also goes through several significant alterations over the course of the movie. When Malcolm Reynolds gets roughed up, the hair reflects it. Whenever he's sleepy, the hair reflects it. Whenever he's just being cool, the hair reflects it. It's a character you come to love, just like the rest of the movie's cast.
From left: Damn fine hair. Damn big gun. Adam Baldwin, formerly of "Full Metal Jacket."
So yeah. Pick your favorites. Any other instances of perfect hair in cinema history you want to bring up? I know you have a thing or two to say, Suley.