Have you looked outside lately? It’s like the aftereffects of a Thor-splosion. Everywhere you look, there are Thor advertisements, Thor commercials and Thor action figures. Even Disneyland has fallen under Asgard’s spell. Given the meaty foreign box office numbers, it appears as though the shotgun advertising has worked on most people, but all the giant pictures of the Norse God have caused me to conclude something other than I-must-see-this-movie: Chris Hemsworth needs to rock long hair on the regular for the rest of his life.
I mean seriously. Look at that grizzled handsomeness. With the beard and the flowing blonde mane, he looks like the first caveman model, the type of dude who could beat a woolly mammoth to death with his bare hands and then pose for cave drawings at night. That’s not to say he looks unattractive with short hair, but why look like a burly accountant when you have the capability of looking like a Swedish war hero?
At some point or another, the majority of Hollywood actors with long-term, sustained careers decide to rock long hair for a role. Sometimes, those newly flowing locks look comfortable, handsome and even intimidating. Sometimes they look dreadful, awkward and stupid. More often than not, they look like a nice little change-up. So, in honor of Thor, let’s walk down memory lane by taking a look at some shaggy manes, whether naturally grown or wig supported, and discussing whether or not they should ever return.
In no particular order…
Long Hair Tom Cruise, Interview With A Vampire
Comparison: Short Hair Tom Cruise, OblivionYou can look as far and/ or away as you’d like and you probably won’t ever find a bigger Tom Cruise apologist than me. Find me a film he’s been in and I can’t guarantee I’ll defend it, but I will almost certainly defend his performance in it. He’s one of the few full-on old Hollywood-type movie stars we have left. That being said, he needs to keep his hair short. That is an overly effeminate, hideous blonde mess you’re looking at above, and somehow, it’s actually better than his is-it-long-is-it-short, tight against the side of his head disaster from Magnolia. His shaggy, somewhat unkempt hair is passable in Last Samurai and Rock Of Ages, but that’s less a compliment and more a pleasant surprise. Even if it all comes together as it did in MI: 2, it's still not better than his run of the mill short cut, as seen in Oblivion.
Long Hair Score: D
Long Hair Nic Cage, Con Air
Comparison: Short Hair Nic Cage, National TreasureI don’t care how pretty your hair normally is, it’s not going to look good after hours of strenuous activity. That’s why the Gabby Douglas Olympics controversy was so ludicrous, and that’s why Nic Cage’s hair looks like a straggly, possibly flea-infested redneck disaster area at the conclusion of Con Air. No one could emerge from a prison break, a plane crash and a motorcycle chase looking neat. Luckily, said person can emerge from an outlandish treasure hunt looking smooth if the locks are a bit closer to the head. That being said, it should be noted his 'do in Season Of The Witch was at least a step in the right longhaired direction.
Long Hair Score: C-
Long Hair Johnny Depp, Blow
Comparison: Short Hair Johnny Depp, Public EnemiesJohnny Depp has rocked long hair a ton of times throughout his career. That’s what happens when you have a penchant for playing oddballs and may well be a little bit of a weirdo yourself. You gravitate toward drug dealers, pirates, mad hatters, demon barbers and various other rebels who don’t abide by society’s unspoken masculine rules of hair length. Because of the smelly and poor nature of many of those characters, Depp’s elongated locks haven’t always looked more physically appealing, but they have always added the right level of depth to the various characters without ever looking uncomfortable or out of place. Now and again, the long hair has actually looked pretty sexy too. Just ask Mary Steenburgen.
Long Hair Score: A-
Long Hair Orlando Bloom, Lord Of The Rings
Comparison: Short Hair Orlando Bloom, ElizabethtownA lot of the men look more brutish and savage with long hair like The Hound from Game Of Thrones. Orlando Bloom does not. He’s way too skinny and his features are way too delicate to ever exude unchecked masculinity. With long hair, he’s the type of guy observers would refer to as pretty, but considering there are more than a few women who are into that sorta thing and his physique is actually pretty athletic, it’s probably safe to say he does very well for himself when wandering off set in the Legolas get-up. Plus, there’s no denying he really does look like a highly skilled wood elf with that blonde hair. So, mission accomplished on all levels.
Long Hair Score: A
Long Hair The Rock, The Scorpion King
Comparison: Short Hair The Rock, Pain & GainLet’s just address the elephant in the room first. Because of the way he slicks the hair back and then lets it fall, that hairstyle could, maybe, sort of technically be defined as a mullet. I’m not really sure what the rules are when you have hair in the front but choose to comb it like you see in that picture, but regardless, it’s a pretty horrendous follicle decision. We’ll just have to chalk that up to bad grooming choices of our ancestors. As for the hair itself, however, it adds like an extra five percent to the Rock’s normal level of terrifying. As such, I’m not sure it’s really something he should do all of the time, but for the right role (like say Hercules), I’m down.
Long Hair Score: B
Long Hair John Travolta, Welcome Back, Kotter
Comparison: Short Hair John Travolta, Old DogsThere’s no denying John Travolta had some awesome hair in the late 1970s. Seriously. Look at that well-coiffed masterpiece. There’s something interesting going on everywhere you look, and yet, it still just disheveled enough to make you wonder whether it just naturally looks that way. It’s a thing of beauty, and it’s a fair amount better than all of the long hair attempts he’s had in more recent years including Pulp Fiction and Michael. In fairness to him, however, there aren’t many younger stars today who could compete with that 70s treasure either. Besides, if there’s one thing we can agree on when it comes to Travolta’s hair, it’s that he can make it as long or as short as he’d like provided he agrees to never shave his head again.
Long Hair Score: B
Long Hair Brad Pitt, Legends Of The Fall
Comparison: Short Hair Brad Pitt, Mr. And Mrs. SmithLike Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt has let the hair grow on more than a few occasions for various roles and/ or personal life preferences. I picked Legends Of The Fall over the rest, however, because that film really captures the actor’s ability to either go the male model route or the beastly route. At various points during that movie, Pitt looks like Orlando Bloom’s more attractive older brother, and at other points, he looks like he’s auditioning for a role on Deadwood. It’s a glorious range and slightly more impressive than his ability to rock the shit out of undead hair in Interview With A Vampire.
Long Hair Score: A+
Long Hair Ryan Gosling, The Notebook
Comparison: Short Hair Ryan Gosling, Crazy Stupid LoveRyan Gosling doesn’t look like a long hair guy. Even when his hair gets a little bit shaggy for a role, his character always looks like the type who has simply gone a little too long between cuts and has unexpectedly stumbled upon on something he should just go with for a few weeks. That fish out of water disorganization is far better than just looking straight up awkward, but it is still different than others who look like they should never cut their hair again. Think of it like a Halloween costume. It needs to come out now and again, but the rest of the time, it should probably stay in the closet. He's just too dapper with a conventional haircut not to trot it out on a regular basis.
Long Hair Score: C
Long Hair Channing Tatum, 21 Jump Street
Comparison: Short Hair Channing Tatum, Magic MikeThe whole point of this 21 Jump Street scene was to make Tatum and his buddy Jonah Hill look as ridiculous as possible. Consequently, effort was definitely put into making our hero come off as unattractive as possible, but even if you course correct for that, it’s pretty clear long hair is probably not a secret weapon the dancer has in his arsenal. That face is just the wrong combination of symmetrical yet very manly to be covering up. We need to see that big fat neck, and he needs the ability to make eyes at women in the corner of the room without strands of hair muddling that dirty and scuzzy non-verbal exchange.
Long Hair Score: D
Long Hair Russell Crowe, State Of Play
Comparison: Short Hair Russell Crowe, GladiatorMany of the other people on this list might be able to pull off long hair, but for Russell Crowe, it’s the actor’s natural state. In his free time, it always seems to be about shoulder length, and when given the option, he seems to prefer to play men who cart around a big mop behind them, which shouldn’t surprise anyone considering he’s really excited about playing music. Regardless, he just looks better that way, and while he can pull off clean cut (like in A Beautiful Mind), he loses a little bit of flair when he does. Here’s to hoping he never goes shorter than his Jor-El style again.
Long Hair Score: A+
Long Hair Christian Bale, In His Personal Life
Comparison: Short Hair Christian Bale, The Dark KnightChristian Bale has done a lot of crazy shit for roles before. He’s lost unhealthy amounts of weight. He’s spent months researching and interviewing. He’s definitely not the type of dude who phones it in, which is why everyone around Hollywood was so convinced he was preparing for some secretive role a few years ago when he showed up to the Golden Globes with a beard and hair well past his shoulders. Well, it turned out he was between movies and he just felt like it. The hair was his little way of enjoying a period of absolute freedom, which is pretty cool. As for the fashion element, however, that’s a little less cool. He pulls it off in a screw-it kind of way, but the extended locks really aren’t doing him any favors.
Long Hair Score: B-
Long Hair Chris Hemsworth, Thor
Comparison: Short Hair Chris Hemsworth, Star TrekLook at that handsome devil. I gushed about his long hair quite a bit in the introduction, but let’s just add a few more sentences here for fun. Chris Hemsworth looks so good as Thor that his other brothers, who are movie stars too, should be embarrassed to be seen in public with him. If they all went to Red Robin together, the hostess would refuse to even make eye contact with Liam or the other one because she would be so infatuated by this hulking example of Norse dominance. The only reason he should ever rock short hair again would be to make other people appreciate the locks more when he grows them back out.
Long Hair Score: A+
Long Hair Hugh Jackman, Van Helsing
Comparison: Short Hair Hugh Jackman, Les MisYou know what’s great about Hugh Jackman? If you had no idea who he was and saw him on the street rocking a beard and long hair, you would say, "Damn, that guy looks like an action hero." If you saw him later without either of those facial accessories, you would think, "That dude should be playing the love interest in romantic comedies." He just looks like he was born to be a star without any genre filters attached to the statement at all, which is part of the reason why his long hair looks so damn good in Van Helsing. He doesn’t look like a handsome dude they cast to hunt monsters. He looks like a monster hunter who just so happens to have a perfectly symmetrical face and a smile that could open any single female’s bedroom door in the world, if he were interested, which he’s not.
Long Hair Score: A-
Long Hair Matt Damon, Behind The Candelabra
Comparison: Short Hair Matt Damon, Promised LandThere’s nothing directly offensive about Damon’s hair here. It’s well-tended. There is a style going on. It’s clearly dyed with the intent of being fashionable in mind, but even taking into account all of that, it doesn’t really look good. The individual strands are on the thinner side, and it does nothing for his features. In fact, that’s probably a good reminder of why he’s been famous for almost two decades and has kept his hair some version of short pretty much throughout. If you want proof of that, check out how strange his hair looked being just a tad bit longer in We Bought A Zoo. Mistakes were made.
Long Hair Score: C-
Long Hair Mark Wahlberg, Rock Star
Comparison: Short Hair Mark Wahlberg, The DepartedWhat are you even supposed to say when looking at that rat trap? The rock and metal genres produce a lot of terrible haircuts on the regular, but you would think Wahlberg’s handsome face would be able to overcome some kinda dirty run of the mill brown locks, but that is definitely not the case. If he were still in high school and had this haircut, no girl would agree to attend the prom with him, even if he busted out those smooth abs. There is nothing positive whatsoever going on in the above picture, and Wahlberg should remember that the next time someone offers him a roll that involves avoiding the stylist.
Long Hair Score: D+