Mustaches in vogue on TV, film


The New York Times

It might be going too far to proclaim 2013 the Year of the Mustache, but viewers have been privy to a glorious bounty of mustachioed upper lips at the movies this year.

Phil Olsen, the captain of Beard Team USA, knows a thing or two about hirsute looks. He and his colleagues will battle for global facial hair supremacy at the World Beard and Mustache Championships in Portland, Ore., in September. He agreed to share his thoughts on a selection of actors with striking ’staches.

• Tom Hanks in Saving Mr. Banks

Character: Walt Disney

Period: 1960s

Expert opinion: Olsen was unimpressed by this classic yet conservative mustache based on the one sported by the real Disney: “I wish Disney had tried to make a bolder statement. How would Walt have looked with a giant handlebar? Goofy maybe, but we will never know for sure.”

• Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club

Character: Ron Woodroof, a rodeo rider and electrician who smuggled medications from Mexico to help fellow patients with HIV.

Period: 1980s

Expert opinion: Olsen compared Woodroof’s look to that of another famous movie scofflaw. “The Sundance Kid patented the droopy but stylish mustache with a kick that looks best when worn with a cowboy hat,” he said. “It worked for Redford, and it works for McConaughey, too.”

• Will Ferrell in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Character: Ron Burgundy, oblivious newsreader

Period: 1980s

Expert opinion: It is rare to see a mustache used as the focal point of a movie poster, but then it is also rare to see such a luxurious and unashamed specimen like Ron Burgundy’s. He “proves that a mustache looks dorky on a dork,” Olsen said. “Facial hair is for everyone.”

• Joaquin Phoenix in Her

Character: Theodore Twombly, lovelorn professional letter writer

Period: Near future

Expert opinion: Phoenix’s mustache highlights the face of a heartbroken man who begins a relationship with a computer operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). “Good facial hair enhances the wearer’s overall appearance, style and personality,” Olsen said. “This is good facial hair.”

• Idris Elba in Pacific Rim

Character: Stacker Pentecost, commander in a war against alien invaders

Period: 2020s

Expert opinion: Olsen pronounced it superb. “Impeccably groomed and perfectly defined, this ’stache requires discipline, a steady hand and careful, loving attention to detail at least daily,” he said. This mustache stands for more than just fine grooming. It stands for authority. Leadership. This is a man you could follow. When Elba gives his rousing, genre-necessitated motivational speech, the viewer is ready to defend humankind in a gigantic robot right along with him.

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