I always initially approach our Annual Pajiba 10 with a certain amount of trepidation, thinking: “This is not how a professional movie review website conducts itself. This is not how a serious web organization acts.” And then I remember: Our site name rhymes with vagina and we’ve been around for five years despite that. We’ve got nothing to prove to anyone — we’re here to keep you informed and, more importantly, to keep you engaged. To help you pass the time between movies, between meetings at your office, and between cigarette breaks. We don’t give a fuck what the other sites do. We run 15 posts a day; we cover all the reboots, the remakes, and the sequels; there’s not a notable trailer we miss; and, on a daily basis, we run more television, book, movie, and music reviews than nearly any other site in the business. And we do it with intelligence, with heart, a scathing sense of humor, and without the assistance, the approval, the freebies, or the access of studio marketing departments. And sometimes, we like to break up the goddamn day with a silly list, a comment diversion, or a list of celebrities that we might want to take behind the middle school. And if you got a problem with that, you can get your insight from Slashfilm, in between the studio-sponsored retrospectives, or on Ain’t It Cool News, where you can fight to be the first to say FIRST in the comments while Harry is regurgitating the studio line in an ugly ass font.
Because here’s what I love about The Pajiba 10: Like nothing else we do, in one post, you can gauge the sensibility of this site and know if you’re in the right place or not. We’re not exactly fanboys but we’re not exactly hipster douchebags, either. But we might be somewhere in the middle, in between Wes Anderson and Guillermo Del Toro, between Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson, between Joss Whedon and David Milch. And we may hate 85 percent of the Hollywood product, and we may be occasionally pretentious, but our love of great films and quality television sure as hell doesn’t obscure our libidos. We just like to fantasize about a higher class of celebrity, that’s all. You won’t find Shia LaBeouf here, or Megan Fox, or Scarlett Johannson, and you sure as hell won’t find anyone from Twilight. But what you will find are celebrities who mix sex appeal with smart movies and television shows, with occasionally risky career choices, and with a intelligent senses of humor. They may not make the movies with the highest box-office gross, but what they are is engaging.
Here’s your Pajiba 10 — 2009 edition.
10. Joseph Gordon-Levitt: My 10-year-old self fell in love with Joseph Gordon-Levitt during his Angels in the Outfield days, believing for every second his interactions with the Angel of Christopher Lloyd teaching him to flap his arms to encourage the California Angels to make it to the pennant. It worked! And so did he, in everything he has done since, making him in the minority of child actors who don’t screw up their lives so much they end up forgotten about, broke, or dead. (I’m gonna miss you, Brad Renfro and Jonathan Brandis. If Jonathan Taylor Thomas bites it, I’m gonna have to bite it, too.) He proved his comedic chops with “3rd Rock From the Sun” and 10 Things I Hate About You but didn’t really catch on with the indie crowd until the brilliant Brick in 2005. His character, Brendan, is distant, and different, wearing those same semi-dress shoes with jeans and a white T-shirt, his hair in his eyes, unfashionable glasses on his face. But Gordon-Levitt is commanding and smooth, throwing around his noir-ish lines with precision and easily carrying the film. He, like Brendan, can be overlooked, especially considering the actor has chosen roles for their potential to help him grow his craft, not his box-office earnings. … Except for G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra. But dammit, he’s earned it! And knowing him, he’ll bring depth to the role that likely shouldn’t be there in the first place because it’s freaking G.I. Joe. He’s talented, down-to-earth and, oh, that smile. Bring on (500) Days of Summer, and may the world appreciate the glory of the Gordon-Levitt grin. — Sarah Carlson
9. Zooey Deschanel: Back when we first were learning to love by watching a “Beavis and Butthead” spinoff called “Daria,” we decided we wanted the pretty quirky girls. It’s why Ghost World gives us an awkward boner (or clitboner as the case may be.) Zooey Deschanel isn’t so much the quiet girl next door, as the girl at the next coffee table, wearing home knit and thrift store clothing, scribbling poetry on her arm. She gets up at an open mic with an acoustic guitar and shatters your heart with her crooning. You want to get her drunk on PBR, take her back to your studio apartment, and get paper cuts flipping through the Kama Sutra. She’s adorable and innocent, and we all want to destroy something beautiful. — Brian Prisco
8. Paul Rudd: Making this list for the second time, Paul Rudd’s fame has of course skyrocketed over the past five years or so, thanks in no small part to being a member of Judd Apatow’s circle of golden boys. Although one thing I think is funny is that he didn’t land his first starring vehicle until this year’s I Love You, Man, presumably because he was far too charming, affable and downright good looking to be considered to helm an Apatow film. I mean, really Judd? Is writing for the handsome everyman really that difficult? At any rate, for me, the source of Paul Rudd’s sex appeal can be boiled down to his part way back in 1995’s Clueless. Basically, he’s like your smart, funny, sarcastic older brother. Your older brother who you also kinda wanna bang. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. — Stacey Nosek
7. Rosario Dawson: Let’s face it, this saucy little number’s protracted nude scene is the only reason to even consider watching Oliver Stone’s Alexander, and it’s no wonder that Rosario was cast in Rent as the character with “the best ass below 14th Street.” Such a remarkable ass can only be topped by an undeniably fabulous rack, which rests upon a curvier, more realistic version of the female body than the usual anorexic Hollywood standard. She further wins us over with a dazzling set of oversized eyes and a wide smile that, on anyone else, would appear cartoonish in its exaggeration. In Rosario’s case, this extraordinarily large mouth only accentuates the exotic-as-all-hell looks of an all-American girl, and that flawless complexion certainly doesn’t hurt her fuckability quotient either. As an actress, she shows no hesitation in throwing herself into roles, particularly those of sexy smart chicks on the skids, who highlight the grittier side of urbanity. Whether as a survivalist prostitute, homeless mother, or smack addict suffering from AIDS, this dame never devolves into a damsel-in-distress, but, instead, radiates both an inner strength and intense determination that hypnotize us into forgiving her for participating in some real crapfests. Indeed, Rosario has appeared in just as many shitty flicks as decent ones. Oddly, however, her career hasn’t suffered from these cinematic bellyflops because girlfriend is usually the best part of a less than impressive movie, and she can hold her own against any co-star in both indies as well as big-budget monstrosities. Finally, unlike most actors, this girlie actually seems like a really cool chick with whom to hang out or, just maybe, share a drunken sloppy kiss. And fanboys, Ms. Dawson also speaks broken Klingon. — Agent Bedhead
6. Christian Bale: Christian Bale has cornered the market on roles of obsessive single-mindedness punctuated by grim brutality: John Connor, Bruce Wayne, Patrick Bateman.
Sudden violence and surging anger, crackling passionate intensity. He’s too serious to be very funny, he’s the brutal and fearless fucker that men will follow to hell. He’s the asshole who’ll fuck your wife and break your jaw, but hug you like a brother when you take a swing at him for all the pain. That burning arrogance and ambition is what we all want to be underneath. It’s only ego if it’s not true. He’d be a lover as gentle as a hurricane, an eternity of fury and power, leaving behind bruised thighs, burned knees, the wreckage of a bed frame soaked in sweat. He doesn’t love, he fucks. He doesn’t walk, he struts. He’s our reptile brain projected onto chiseled flesh. He’s everything our ego wishes it could be, everything our libido wishes it could touch.
He shoves his mother, verbally eviscerates a director of photography. But he’s not just an asshole, that’s too simple. There’s a shocking tenderness buried underneath the muscles and bluster, an innocence of sorts. And that’s the most beautiful thing: innocence is the font of the anger. Rage at the world for not being right bursts out in his work, his drive, even his tantrums. Boiling intensity in a schoolboy’s smile is a charisma of its own. — Steven Wilson
5. Christina Hendricks: In the beginning, there was the firmament and the Godtopus in Its be-tentacled, one-eyed-yet-all-seeing glory, and the Godtopus did beget the Earth and the stars and all the living things in the worlds beyond count. Of the Godtopus’s goodness you, Its children, have come into knowing through the timeless wisdom of Pajiba. And the Godtopus turned Its huge, somewhat disturbing Eye upon Man (and Women in Flannel driving Subaru Foresters) and perceived that the Godtopus’s beloved creatures should know perfection of the form of Woman, of the ideal incarnation of the inherent goodness and companionship of Woman. And the Godtopus held forth joyous creations with a suggestively curvy motion of Its tentacles (setting off a whole wave of Japanese porn, which you can read about more in Revelations you sick fuck), and from the firmament emerged Mae and Marilyn and Ann-Margret. And the Godtopus saw that it was good. And yay, verily did Man whack it repeatedly and spill his seed on the earth, or into the Holy Spank Sock or perhaps the Tissue of Turin.
And yet the Godtopus remained displeased (though Man felt content, ate some Oreos, and fell asleep). “I’m a Pretty Awesome God, all around,” said the Godtopus, “yet where is the perfection of perfection, such that I might drive Man to test the strength of his rod or stave or whatever?” And the Godtopus summoned Its mighty power and held forth Its greatest creation, the Supremo-Ultra-Diesel-Powered-Brassiere-and-Girdle Woman. And the Godtopus did transubstantiate the earth’s sunset-tipped mountains, and the rivers of lava leading to alabaster valleys, and the overall hilly goodness, along with some really inviting crevasses where Man could lose himself Forever and Ever, Amen. And upon beholding Christina, Man (and Women in Flannel driving Subaru Foresters) did sprout googly eyes like a cartoon wolf and did spontaneously emit “Aaaa-OOOOO-gah!” noises like 1920s car horns.
And beholding Man’s adolescent joy, the Godtopus unleashed Christina, and whether portraying a wily space vixen or a retro office vixen or the vixen who surprises me in the shower with the Sacred Butt Plug of the Resurrection, you shall know her as the product of a just and loving Godtopus. And she is good. Oh, dear Godtopus, so good. — The Boozehound
4. Ryan Reynolds: The first two years of the Pajiba 10, Mr. Reynolds was on the fringe — he came in at number 11 twice in a row. But now he’s got a $100 million movie on his resume and two franchises in development (Deadpool and The Green Lantern), not to mention a one-man indie flick in the works, where he’s the only person on camera, trapped inside a coffin for 90 minutes (Buried). And now that he’s suddenly A-list, everybody wants a piece of him. Well you know what? He’s not a piece of meat, folks. You’ve got to stop objectifying the man. He’s an actor, goddamnit. There’s more to Ryan Reynolds than a nice smile, dreamy eyes, great hair, a dry sense of humor, one of the best sarcastic deliveries in the business, and perfect abdominal muscles. A roof of hard, rippling, sweaty, slightly hairy abs built on top of a washboard slab of glistening muscle. (Why does this man ever wear a shirt?) He’s a thespian, damnit. And you people have to treat him as such — stop leering suggestively. Stop drooling inappropriately. And stop imagining the sick and twisted things you’d do to that rock-hard chest. Stop objectifying him!
Also, back off bitches. I called dibs on R-squared a long time ago. — Dustin Rowles
3. Kristen Bell: “If I want you to speak, I’ll wave a snausage over your nose.” I didn’t pick Kristen Bell because she’s spunky as hell (though she is), adorable (she’s that in spades), or funny (she’s that too). I picked her because, Pulse notwithstanding, she’s made some outstanding career choices. She’s Veronica Mars, perhaps my favorite female TV character ever — hell, the fact that an anti-TV grump like me watched the entire run more than once is a testament to how good a show it was. She’s Sarah Marshall, where she held her own against some up-and-coming comedic juggernauts. She makes my inner dork feel funny down there — between the Leia outfit and her role in Fanboys, her character in “Heroes,” and her work on Assassin’s Creed, how can she not? She’s cute as a button, yet sexy as hell, she plays tough as easily as she plays vulnerable, and she can be hysterically funny. Although, honestly, all you really need to understand my crush on Kristen Bell are two things: her delivering the line, “Do you want my mouth?” And, of course, this:
That’s good cake right there. — TK
2. Robert Downey, Jr.: Robert Downey, Jr. is so frustratingly cool and funny, not to mention a damn fine actor, that you can easily forget that he’s also, well, a damn fine actor. He was Ian the pretty boy all the way back in Weird Science, and he’s looked good ever since. In fact, it’s his personality that helps make him so attractive; this is a smart hot guy. You want to hook up with him and then share notes on cap and trade and then joke about naming your balls Cap and Trade and then get cold pizza from the fridge and then do it all again. He’s just so damn cool, you know? I want to be around him, and I want it more than is likely healthy. RDJ oozes a kind of breezy sexuality — the first half of Iron Man was just this dude getting it on — he’s wicked smaht, and you know he knows how to handle himself. — Daniel Carlson
1. Nathan Fillion. Well how do you like ol’ Cap’n Tight Pants now? With his return to the top spot, Fillion joins Bale as the only other person to appear on all three years of this here Pajiba list. This two-time champion is what we might call eternally bangable. And at this point, I don’t think his likeability/bangability needs to be explained. He’s a solid actor, capable of delivering the snark like there’s no tomorrow, and he’s the epitome of attainable-hot for a guy — he’s not so god damned chiseled that men hate him just because he’s pretty, and he’s not such a dreamboat that women think their only chance to get some is if he’s drunk and slumming.
Fillion really just boils down to “guys want to be him, girls want to be with him,” with the caveat that quite a few guys also want to be with him. In fact, even those of us boys who don’t want to snog Fillion would gladly take hanging with him. Cruise down to the local divey-Irish pub, throw back a dozen beers, listen to his snarky retorts when guys try to fuck with us, and catch his leftovers. And it’s pretty much the same for the ladies, too, who want to cruise down to the local slightly-less-divey-Irish pub, throw back eight or nine beers, listen to his snarky retorts when guys try to fuck with them, and catch dirty glares from all the leftovers when she leaves on his arm.
As Mal once stated, it ain’t altogether wise, sneaking up on a man when he’s handling his weapon. Which are words all the boys can appreciate. And as Captain Hammer might elucidate, his weapon is his penis. Which are words all the girls can appreciate. See, Nathan’s got wisdom and love for all, and that’s why we love him. — Seth Freilich