Beards are funny.

Facial hair is too often overlooked in movies and on TV but it’s crucially important in defining a character. Would the fellowship have really followed Gandalf all the way to certain death if he didn’t have a face rug?

Imagine a baby-faced Chuck Norris, who as we all know doesn’t have a chin under his beard, just another fist.

This month my flatmate Ste grew a beard. I thought this was hilarious and seen as facial hair seems to be quite a regular topic of conversation in our flat (I have no idea why) I thought I would do a quick rundown of the most impressive facial hair ever to grace the screen, all of which make myself, Alex, Jonny and Ste’s chins all look like underachievers.

The Beard: Joaquin Phoenix (Circa Feb 09)

Why it’s impressive: Who knows what is going on with Joaquin Phoenix of late, but lets get down to the real area of interest here, his chin pubes.

Joaquin filmed his soon to be released Two Lovers, went away and retuned looking like a Hobo. You have to hand it to him, he did get that beard pretty fast, and if he is in fact going for the hobo look, then I’d say he succeeded.
Judging by his train-wreck interview on The Late Show id go as far as to say that it’s the beard that is causing the problems with this already troubled actor turned rapper.

Like Homer’s possessed hair piece in The Simpson’s, loose the beard and we’ll recover the twice Oscar nominated star.

Flat mate most likely to be able to pull it off: It seems like Phoenix grew this beard quite effortlessly, i.e. he probably just didn’t do anything all day for a while. So that would have to be Ste.

The beard:
Hagrid (Harry Potter movies 1-6 2001-present)

Why it’s impressive: Where would giants be without their beards? Hagrid is a half giant, half human with a beard somewhere in between. It adds to the size of his face, I mean at what point does the hair on his head stop and the beard begin.

It’s the type of beard you could smuggle a small child into a foreign country with, or huge saw into a prison.

A multi-purpose beard if you will. It’s the king-Kong of beards.

Flatmate most likely to be able to pull it off:
Now this one would take someone with serious beard growing chops, Jonny should be able to fit the bill. Although we would all look hilarious with one of these on our faces.

The Beard: Indiana Jones (The Indiana Jones Trilogy 1981-2008)

Why it’s impressive: This beard is actually used as a filmmaking tool. Although not a full beard as such, if you see Indy with stubble then you know he’s about to get shot at, be chased by something or just generally do something cool.

There’s just no room for the half stubble-mini beard in the classroom. That stuffs strictly for the fieldwork.

Flatmate most likely to be able to pull it off: Ok . . .Ok I agree I am probably the flatmate most like Indiana Jones. I can’t help it.

Joking of course. Although, “Simon Jones and the Search for my Other Thumb” does have a nice ring to it and I do grow stubble better than the other guys.

The Beard: Hans Gruber (Die Hard 1988)

Why it’s impressive: There were a lot of gun totting action films in the eighties. Each had their own muscle ridden star, a girl with huge eighties hair and (more often than not) a foreign foe. Possibly the most memorable being Hans Gruber, the German terrorist ringleader with the tiny beard.

Where the beard lacked in size it made up in style. Adding a certain charisma to what would ordinarily be a stock movie villain.

Gruber admires businessman Takagi’s suit before offing him, it actually made you believe he had a fondness for style as well as killing.

The only other beard in the film is owned by Ellis a sleazy coke head who when pitted against Gruber’s stylish chin bristles meets a grizzly end.

Flatmate most likely to pull it off: I actually think Gruber is a personal hero of Jonnies as he’s often seen sporting the strictly round the mouth fuzz. Except his is ginger for some reason. Try tackling John McClain with a ginger beard. Not happening.

The Beard: The dude (The Big Lebowski 1998)

Why it’s impressive: The Dude’s beard is a statement; it says “I don’t really care” which is an impressive declaration to project from your face.

With no particular style, form or structure the beard fits the man. Free wheeling and easy, I doubt its ever been trimmed, or that the Dude even realises he has a beard.

He probably uses it to soak up the excess White Russian from his glass on his shaggy top lip, the slowly sucks it out whenever he’s not near a bowling alley bar to keep his buzz going. That’s gross.

Flatmate most likely to pull it off: Alex would be pretty good at perfecting this one, or any of us for that matter; it doesn’t involve much effort or maintenance, all you have to do is basically forget to shave. Which is something were all good at.

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