Last year @madadub and I went to see The Counsellor and spent the next week or so trying to figure out whether or not we liked it. Eventually we settled on the fact that the bad, unfortunately, outweighed the good. During the back and forth I came to a sudden realization in two parts : 1) Brad Pitt had logged hair in the movie; 2) long hair Brad Pitt movies are always bad. I’ll pause to let that sink in, because as improbable as it sounds it is shockingly true.
The proof lies in a quick comparison, the best Brad Pitt movies are – the Ocean trilogy, Inglorious Bastards, Benjamin Button, Fight Club, Snatch, Spy Game, Moneyball, Babel, Burn after Reading, Jesse James, Mr and Mrs Smith, A River Runs Through It, Seven and the first half of 12 Monkeys (when he has short hair and was Oscar nominated). Right there my case is made and inarguably so. You can even take the top three Pitt movies from there: the true cream of the crop, let’s say, Seven, Fight Club and Inglorious and argue that the shorter his hair, the better the performance.
Pitt’s worst movies then break down thusly: Counsellor, Troy, 7 Years in Tibet, Meet Joe Black, Legends of the Fall, WWZ, Interview with a Vampire (an okay movie, but, Pitt is awful. Dunst and Cruise save this one, all Pitt does is look pretty and mope around complaining about immortality), and the 2nd half of 12 Monkeys. Even the movie he won an Oscar for this year has been totally divisive and considered overrated, (12Years a Slave) even though, I have to point out Pitt showed up to the Oscars with short hair. At times it is almost laughable, Seven and 7 Years in Tibet are like bizarro world versions of the other, in one, Pitt is awful, in the other, transcedent.
How can we possibly explain this conundrum around one of our greatest actors? Perhaps it lies in the fact that short haired Pitt cannot coast on his long, luscious, blonde locks and actually has to work to earn his cheques. Troy, which is downright horrible and considered a war crime against Ancient Greece, features Pitt coasting through scenes with complete disinterest. Comparatively, Fight Club or Snatch crackle with crazy energy whenever Pitt is on screen. It is remarkable to see the difference a haircut can make. Short hair Pitt is intense, brooding and often twitching with an almost psychotic energy; long haired Pitt always seems vacuous or empty like a California blonde with nothing decent to say.
I should have known the Counsellor was going to be a bad movie because from the outset it was clear it was a long haired Brad Pitt movie – nothing but coasting on the hair was being offered. You could give me the most incredible sounding scenario (mob killer out for vengeance / written by Cormac McCarthy) but if I see one shot of long haired Brad, I am out. The movie will be bad. It was refreshing to see him at the Oscars with short hair, it ensures his next movie will be awesome. So keep it tight and trim Brad, and keep making edgy, freneticly energetic movies with a dark undertow. And for gods sake, employ a good barber.