For this edition of The Guide, we’re going to jump around a little through time and space. Well, if not exactly time and space, then at least relatives and hair. If you really think about it, Hollywood is all about hair — who has it, who doesn’t, who makes good use of his or hers, whose is a disaster (here’s looking at you Helena Bonham Carter), whose haircut is in or out, whose color is real and which bald dude is hot. Sometimes I can get confused between the bald dudes, especially now that half the guys with receding or spotty hairlines have decided to just shave their heads instead of waiting for the inevitable. And sometimes, as with the Bridges-Russell continuum, a similar hair shadow (footprint?) leaves almost no way to tell a couple of hairy dudes apart.
Then there are the actor families you didn’t even know were actor families, either because you never noticed the last names being the same, didn’t see a family resemblance or because you’re young and you didn’t even know an actor had a father or a brother. I find this is the case with the Bridges: the only one most people know is Jeff. So here is your handy dandy guide to a hairy man triad and the could-be-brother, Kurt Russell.
The Crazy One or The Dude, Jeff:
Recently making himself known to a new generation via Tron: Legacy, Jeff has made a name for himself over the years by taking on quirky roles, acting his ass off and flipping his hair (way ahead of Willow). It’s all too easy to take a glance at him and write him off as crazy or a stoner, with his numerous variations on The Farrah (cut) and laid-back mannerisms. Over the years, he has interspersed movies you might never have heard of (See You in the Morning, Hearts of the West, Somebody Killed Her Husband) with Academy Award nominations (The Last Picture Show, The Fisher King, The Contender, Starman, True Grit). But overall, Bridges has been an underrated actor, as he is so aptly proving in his 60s (!) with roles like Rooster Cogburn and Bad Blake.
The Famous Dad, Lloyd:
It’s likely that the brothers Bridges wouldn’t be the actors they are without having had dear, old dad to pave the way. A recognizable and famous star in his time, Lloyd started out on “Sea Hunt” way back in the olden days when people had to drive covered wagons to work (or maybe sometime during the 50s). He worked quite a lot in television, making his way to feature films; he appeared in over 100. If you know him at all, it is likely from his roles in Airplane! and Hot Shots or his Emmy nominated appearances on “Seinfeld” as Izzy Mandelbaum.
Who? or I Was Supposed To Be the Famous One or I’ve Completely Lost Control of My Eyebrows, Beau:
Beau is the first Bridges son and for about five minutes (before Jeff hit the screen) he was the famous brother. He’s not entirely untalented but he is rather boring and as you can see, even when they were younger, little brother Jeff is just a leetle bit hotter and more the Hollywood hair type:
Beau has been in quite a few movies, but I’ll be damned if I saw more than two of them (Norma Rae, Jerry Maguire) — oh wait, there was The Fabulous Baker Boys too, but Jeff was there so I probably forgot him. Most recently (2005), Beau got himself an Emmy nod for a “My Name Is Earl” guest role, but I never watched that shit either.
And finally, we have the cause of much of my confusion, the also lovely, Hollywood-haired…
Snake or The One Who Is With Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell:
Kurt is another underrated actor in my book. He transitioned easily from a comedic and perfectly played turn in Used Cars to the hissing, sneering Snake Plissken, then on to a Golden Globe nomination for Silkwood with Meryl Streep. After he hooked up with Goldie, he seemed more lackadaisical about film, but he’s has a couple of good turns in Miracle and Backdraft (I’ve not seen him in Tarantino’s Death Proof, so I can’t speak to that role). There is little doubt that he has the capacity to kick everything up a notch like his pal Jeff, if only he’d take on a couple of thoughtful roles. Of course, then I’d be in even more of a pickle because I simply cannot keep Kurt and Jeff straight. There’s something in the squint and the hair that makes me think Kurt is Lloyd’s secret love child, adopted out to avoid scandal. But I’m guessing after one of Oprah’s producers reads this column, she’ll know I’m onto something and they’ll do a show to uncover the DNA evidence, call out Pajiba and next thing you know I’ll be famous and in rehab with Charlie Sheen. Anyway, I just discovered something that I think is going to help me (and you) to distinguish Kurt from Jeff: picture Kurt Russell wearing a set of Mickey Mouse ears. Apparently, Walt Disney’s last words, written on a piece of paper, were: Kurt Russell. Spooky…