By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist December 24, 2013 at 12:40PM
Hands down one of the most disgusting things on screen in recent memory is the opening sequence in “American Hustle” wherein Christian Bale carefully constructs his “elaborate” comb over, with the help of random pieces of hair fluff, glue, and hairspray. It looks like something a cat coughed up, and Bale sells the thing for the entirety of the film. Thank God Jason Statham and Bruce Willis have popularized the Bic look for follicularly-challenged men, because that thing on Bale’s head is just…unholy. Honorable mentions go to Bradley Cooper’s perm, Jeremy Renner’s pompadour, and whatever godforsaken ponytail situation was happening on Shea Whigham’s head, and to leave 'Hustle' a moment, to Sam Shepard's hugely unflattering buzzcut thingie in "Mud"—way to pour cold water on one of our foremost older man crushes.
Most Scornful Looks
Again, so much to love in "Behind The Candelabra," but among the highlights is the brilliant, virtually wordless performance from Cheyenne Jackson, who's replaced as Liberace's lover by Matt Damon's character. If looks could kill, Jackson's withering glare would have taken Damon's head right off his shoulders.
Worst Spaghetti-Eating Technique
A director we won’t name talked to us earlier this year about “Blue Is The Warmest Color” before some of us had seen it. The conversation went something like this, “Sure, it’s got some terrific stuff in it, but did we need to see a fifteen-minute scene of eating spaghetti?” We don’t know if he meant that euphemistically or not, but it’s certainly true that protagonist Adele has a fondness for sauce-splattered pasta, and has the worst table manners of any character since the cannibals from “Society.” Close your mouth, we have company!
This might be shooting fish in a barrel, but anytime Herman appeared in drag on screen in “The Act of Killing” was a special moment indeed. The portly politician seemed perfectly at home in the costumes, which had absolutely no effect on his behavior or presentation of self at all. Herman is as himself in sequins and eyeshadow as he is in shorts and a tank, and his absolute comfort with himself no matter what is one of his most endearing traits (yes, we are saying this about a cold-blooded murderer and corrupt politician, but he’s really quite charming in his own way). Herman in drag left us with one of the most indelible images and quease-inducing moments on screen this year, rubbing raw, rotten meat all over Anwar’s head during one of their reenactments. The second coming of Divine, we tell you.
Best Inability To Blink Due To Too Much Cosmetic Surgery
We can't pretend there was a huge amount of competition for this slot, or indeed that it would exist any other year, but Rob Lowe's face in "Behind the Candelabra" is such a masterpiece that it creates, and wins, its own category.
Least Convincing Location Doubling
We can understand the desire to shoot closer to home, especially when tax breaks are involved, but for a film so rooted in Americana as "The Counselor," we wish Ridley Scott had done a better job at hiding the fact that at least half of the movie was shot in London, doubling, for the most part, for Texas. As far as we can tell, a whole bunch of scenes were shot within a ten-minute walk of Liverpool Street Station in the city, and while that might have been convenient, it's not especially authentic (we're almost certain you can see a double-decker bus in the background of one shot...) Special dishonorable mention in the you're-not-even-trying-to-hide-this category goes to Savannah, Georgia doubling for the East Village in the generally dire "CBGB"; as convincing a replication as when the movie gets the nerdy guy from "Avatar" to play Joey Ramone.
Most Obviously Separated-At-Birth Beard Twins
Duh, John Travolta in “Killing Season” and Adam Scott in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”
Best Use Of Swearing
If you're only going to have a few lines of dialogue, you might as well make them F-bombs, and Robert Redford's explosion of frustration and despair in "All Is Lost" felt like a venting not just for the stoic Our Man, but also for the audience.
Best Use of Ensemble Swearing
“Even I couldn’t believe that they gave it to us,” an anonymous source who worked on Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf Of Wall Street” said this week. “It probably should have been an NC-17.” Our own review couldn’t believe it either. Rating Administration Exhibitors called it “the hardest R I’ve ever seen from a major Hollywood studio.” The assaultive language includes c*cksucker, f*cking, “who’s ever sucked a dog’s c*ck out of loneliness,” and “f*ck this, sh*t that, c*ck, c*nt, a**hole.” You get the gist, F-bombs galore. We loved it.
Worst Product Placement
Yes, “Man of Steel” and its product placement are terrible: Superman goes to 7/11, Walgreens, Sears, buys a Gillette razor, etc. But it was far, far worse in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” a schmaltzy slow-motion Life Insurance Ad about seizing the day that it is. The eHarmony dating service and Papa John’s Pizza are actually semi-integral parts of the plot—hell, Patton Oswalt even has line of dialogue about why eHarmony is better than other dating sites. Oof. They even did their own ad. See it below.