The movies released in 2012 have been notable for many reasons, impacting or reflecting news events both positively and negatively. It’s also seen new innovations, the most notable being the first release of a film in 48 frames per second. However, cinematic historians will also look back on 2012 as being a banner year for facial hair.
The entire crew of Film School Rejects relishes glorious facial hair (and yes, that also includes the ladies on staff). We all wish we could have half the style that characters in the movies this year displayed on their lips, chins and cheeks. Now, as the year draws to a close, we reminisce on the many styles we’ve seen on movie screens in 2012, and maybe give some tips on how to grow your own face so glorious.
Style: The 70s-Year-Old Dye Job
Booker (Chuck Norris) in The Expendables 2
Don’t let age or gray hair get you down. Even if you are old enough to have experienced World War II, you can fight modern guerilla wars like Chuck Norris with an ample supply of Just for Men.
Style: The Billionaire Hermit
Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) in The Dark Knight Rises
Similar to The Wolf Puncher (see below), this style is thinner and grows longer because it comes from pitiful neglect rather than being used to warm the face and intimidate bloodthirsty predators.
Style: The Candie Dandy
Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Django Unchained
Are you evil? Are you a slave-owner? Do you believe in racist phrenology? Do you have rotting teeth? This gloriously pointed devilish beard will help draw attention from your negative traits.
Style: Cocaine Beats Alcoholism
Harling Mays (John Goodman) in Flight
Beards often make a character more intimidating, but they can also make them funnier. Goodman’s facial hair in this film is a slight throwback to The Big Lebowski in tone and attitude and chemical dependency.
Style: District One
Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley) in The Hunger Games
Only the super-wealthy can afford this because it needs to be trimmed at least daily. It can be fiercely creative but also incredibly time consuming.
Style: The Dwarf Choad
Bombur (Steven Hunter) in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
When you have trouble growing a full beard on your chin, aim for facial hair that is wider than longer, often in the style of a big, busy mustache on crack.
Style: Fancy Handlebar
William N. Bilbo (James Spader) in Lincoln
The historical drama features plenty of facial hair of 1865, but none so debonair as the traditional handlebar mustache is the most distinctive.
Style: Formerly Famous and Respected
George Needleman (Eugene Levy) in Madea’s Witness Protection
It doesn’t matter how many good movies you are in or how influential you have been to cinematic comedy. There’s no excuse for letting Tyler Perry put a fake mustache on you.
Style: Genius Billionaire Playboy Philanthropist
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in The Avengers
Like the District One, this should only be attempted by the independently wealthy who have personal barbers and plenty of time on their hands. Leave it to the professionals.
Style: The Haggis Keeper
King Fergus in Brave
Scottish or not, anyone with the right jeans and red hair can attempt this imposing bears. Use it to store food for later when your kids eat everything else in the house.
Style: I Like the Way You Die
Django (Jamie Foxx) in Django Unchained
Once released from slavery, your out-of-control beard can be trimmed to a point, helping you target your victims. Scruffy sides distinguish it from “The Candie Dandy.”
Style: I’m Not Poe, but I Play One
Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) in The Raven
With your beard and mustache properly trimmed, you can look alarmingly like a famous Baltimore author. Just don’t open your mouth and speak, or you’ll instantly become yourself again.
Style: The Lorax
The Lorax in The Lorax
Very similar to The Dwarf Choad, but more stylish and less aggressive. This is simply an overgrown walrus mustache that will also help you bust myths on television.
Style: Middle Earth Pippi Longstocking
Oin (John Callen) and Gloin (Peter Hambleton) in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Has your beard been growing since you were three years old? Do you need to do something with all that hair but don’t want to cut it off? Braids will make things more manageable and compact.
Style: Mutton Chops
Francis Preston Blair (Hal Holbrook) in Lincoln
Few attempt such a bold look, even twenty years ago when Jason Priestley and Luke Perry popularized sideburns for a modern ago. Only really old men and Tim Blake Nelson can pull this off.
Style: Not Offensive If You’re Jewish
King Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) in The Dictator
Like Mel Brooks making fun of stereotypical ethnic humor, Cohen is able to take plenty of racist digs at the Arab world because of his personal background. This style is not recommended for anyone who doesn’t want to be arrested or beaten up by a redneck.
Style: Not Your Friend
Dan (Jason Clarke) in Zero Dark Thirty
While some find beards warm and cuddly, they can be very intimidating. You may have to shave for a desk job in the CIA, but when you’re waterboarding prisoners in the Middle East, it’s best to look dangerous.
Style: Old Hippie/Young Hippie
Carvin Wiggins (Alan Alda) and Seth (Justin Theroux) in Wanderlust
One must work long hours if you live on a commune, but the trade-off is there’s no time to trim or shave your facial hair. Old or young, let your beard go where your face takes it.
Style: The Politician
Marty Huggins (Zack Galifianakis) in The Campaign
If you ever plan on running for political office, you simply cannot have a full beard, at least not in this century. Polling says people with beards are untrustworthy, so the best you can do is shave off your signature scruffy beard and keep the conservative mustache.
Style: The President’s Son
Robert Todd Lincoln (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in Lincoln
In the midst of glorious beards, moustaches, and mutton chops, Lincoln’s own son looked particularly douchey. Only the son of a President can get away with something like this in 1865.
Style: Racist Colonel Sanders
“Big Daddy” Bennett (Don Johnson) in Django Unchained
This is the style of a southern gentleman who doesn’t mind being associated with all the negative aspects of the south, including slavery, bigotry, and excessive wealth amid human squalor.
Style: The Santa Wookiee
Yetis in The Rise of the Guardians
Very few humans can pull off this look, considering it requires full facial hair all over the entire face. However, if you are hirsute enough, you might be able to get into the Christmas spirit looking like this.
Style: Saving It for Later
Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) in Les Misérables
If you ever find yourself in a French prison, under the yoke of an overzealous guard, you will probably give up shaving altogether. On the plus side, this beard stores food for the lean times.
Style: Seriously, I am Mexican
Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) in Argo
If you want to pass for Mexican but don’t have a drop of Latin blood in your veins, simply grow your beard across your face and trim it relatively short. You will look as undeniably Mexican as Ben Affleck did. (Hint: It also helps to have banged a high-profile Latina actress to pull this off.)
Style: Sophisticated Killer
Dr. Shultz (Christoph Waltz) in Django Unchained
Grow your beard full, but do not neglect your mustache. Let the ends flow from your septum, which allows you to stroke them outward to offer some flare.
Style: Uncle Stinky
Uncle Prenderghast in ParaNorman
This is very hard to achieve without starting off as a chemically-poured claymation model. However, with enough foodstuff and mucous, plus an aversion to personal hygiene, it is entirely possible.
Style: The Wargasm
Chon (Taylor Kitsch) in Savages
This is only applicable to muscle-bound drug dealers with hot-but-irritating girlfriends. You must have military experience for this two-day shadow work. It also helps to have two expensive box office bombs under your belt, too.
Style: The Wet Beads
Jack Knife (Russell Crowe) in The Man with the Iron Fists
Very similar to the Sophisticated Killer, this style is more refined and trimmed, looking even more sophisticated… until you find yourself pulling anal beads out of a hooker’s bath.
Style: The Wolf Puncher
John Ottway (Liam Neeson) in The Grey and Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) in The Bourne Legacy
Being alone in the frigid north for days or weeks lends your face to this general scruffiness, but it allows you to snarl at natural predators before you punch them in the face.
Style: The Yellowface Doctor
Ovid (Halle Berry) in Cloud Atlas
Even if you aren’t Asian, you can look Asian with some Hollywood make-up and a Fu Manchu inspired beard. You don’t even have to be a dude to make this one work.
Style: ZZ Top Gods
Zeus (Liam Neeson) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes) in Wrath of the Titans
Whether you want to look like a good god or a bad god, the proper beard can help you. Go for long and flowing with curls for the good guy; trimmed back and menacing for the bad guy.