Critics today are calling Joel and Ethan Coen’s new straight-shooting, family-friendly True Grit remake a deviation from the brothers’ usual violent, irony-infused botched-crime thrillers and idiot comedies. But at least one part of the film will feel familiar to fans: Matt Damon’s spectacular, instantly iconic, old-timey mustache, which builds on the Coens’ proud tradition of decorating their characters with some of the finest nose curtains in all of cinema. So where does Damon’s rank in the pantheon of other classic Coen ‘staches? We’ve ranked the top fifteen, measuring each using our patented ‘Stach-o-Meter (which grades on a scale of Zorro to Gene Shalit). (Note: For our purposes, we’ve made eligible any facial-hair styles that includes mustaches, even ones connected to beards.) Did we egregiously omit your favorite Coens mustache? You know where to complain!
For Fink’s alcoholic novelist-turned-screenwriter W.P. Mayhew, the Coens asked the dad from Frasier to grow a mustache that made him look like William Faulkner and wouldn’t interfere with his drinking or vomiting. Nailed it.
Technically unimpressive but undeniably character-appropriate: Buscemi’s Carl Showalter is only a little better at growing facial hair than he is at kidnapping and not being eaten by wood chippers.
One of the most powerful mustaches in the Coens’ arsenal, this stylish pencil one helped Polito score a top mafia job during the competitive Prohibition era. Also, Polito used the very same mustache eleven years later to swindle Billy Bob Thornton out of $10,000 in The Man Who Wasn’t There.
Nobody fucks with this magnificent goatee.
Now there is a mustache you don’t see too often anymore.
Luckily, Thornton’s character is only an actor pretending to be an oil baron who tears up a prenuptial agreement as part of an elaborate con on George Clooney. Otherwise he might have lost this terrific salt-and-pepper ‘stache in divorce court.
Speaking of Clooney, how many different mustaches do you think the Coens made him grow before they found one that made him look undashing? And how many more until he actually started to look stupid? Then how many more until they settled on this one?
Elements of Llewelyn Moss’s badass mustache were borrowed from a rough draft of Javier Bardem’s No Country haircut.
A well-grown pornstache that conveys both charm and seediness, and basically makes the Hawaiian shirt redundant.
The Dude’s jungly goatee really ties his face together.
Walter Sobchak doesn’t roll on Shabbos, possibly because he’s too busy tending to this handsome, three-pillared chin strap.
In Grit, Damon’s Texas Ranger La Boeuf teams with Jeff Bridges and Hailee Stanfield to hunt down Tom Chaney, the fugitive drifter who killed her father (spoiler: He’s hiding in some brush near Damon’s upper lip).
Unbelievable fact: Neither of Hanks’s two Oscars are for growing this spectacular modified Zappa
Oops — Marlon Wayans brought a knife to a gunfight.
Even by the Coens’ and Elliott’s own
high standards, this handlebar is incredible. You could paint a house with that thing! Sometimes the ‘bar eats you, indeed.