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Facial hair, the secret to going from teen heartthrob to serious actor.

Facial hair, the secret to going from teen heartthrob to serious actor. (photo)

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Regardless of how you feel about the “Twilight” franchise, it’s hard not to read Brooks Barnes’ brief New York Times profile of vampire heartthrob Robert Pattinson and not feel at least a little bad for the dude.

Pattinson’s apparently been reduced to giving interviews in “an outdoor nook surrounded by tall hedges” while noting how “The more you are exposed, the more people irrationally hate you.” (Yes.) Whatever you think of him as an actor, here’s a guy who has become famous for a franchise that, when it’s done, will leave him with one defining image for the next 50 years unless he pulls out some kind of miraculous transition.

To prove his point, Barnes calls on academic Jeanine Basinger, who names a bunch of teen stars who never got past their defining moments in cuteness — “The Blue Lagoon”‘s Christopher Atkins, Corey Feldman, potentially Zac Efron — and cited the inevitable exception, Leonardo DiCaprio, whose success, we’re told, was in part due to “picking gritty roles and teaming with Martin Scorsese.”

In truth, it had more to do with his shaving habits.

06212010_gangs.jpg“Titanic” is cited as the turning point in DiCaprio’s career. It made the equally swoony success of “Romeo + Juliet” look like a joke. This, however, was after a number of tough roles — “This Boy’s Life,” “The Basketball Diaries,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” — that had already shown the young actor’s range and stamina for mentally exhausting parts. Compared to them, “Titanic” was a piece of cake, the toughest bit being the physical conditions. A number of post-“Titanic” career stumbles later, DiCaprio hit his stride in 2002 with “Gangs of New York” and “Catch Me If You Can” and never looked back.

DiCaprio’s greasy hair and face made sense for “Gangs,” which took place back in the days when a man wasn’t a man unless he demonstrated that he had enough testosterone to grow a full pate’s worth of hair on his face (although Daniel Day-Lewis’ mustache still towered over DiCaprio’s scraggly growth).

Subsequently, DiCaprio has proven constitutionally incapable of appearing clean-shaven on screen unless the part is set in the earlier days of the 20th century (“The Aviator,” “ReservationRevolutionary Road”), where facial hair was for social reprobates and other marginal types. This has nothing to do with his performances, and it tends to make him look jowly and pissed-off, but it’s certainly been a good way of avoiding charges that he’s too much of a man-child. If Michael Cera wanted to get haters off his back, seemingly all he’d have to do is grow a solid goatee.

06212010_littleashes.jpgWhich is to say: hello Mr. Pattinson. Do you want to be taken seriously? Grow some facial hair! Preferably the type that looks careless rather than elegant (or hilarious, in the case of his role as Salvador Dalí in “Little Ashes”).

It worked so well for DiCaprio. And just marvel at how far we’ve come since Alec Baldwin allegedly refusing to shave off his beard for “The Edge” back in 1997 almost destroyed a movie.

[Photos: “Twilight,” Summit Entertainment, 2008; “Gangs of New York,” Miramax, 2002]

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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