Talkback: Is Ryan Gosling Really the Coolest Man of the Year?
For generations, Time has taught you, your kids, and your step-grandkids what is "cool" in popular culture, and today they're dropping a bombshell on you: Ryan Gosling, who played the most alpha, well-jacketed dudes in cinema this year, is the magazine's "Coolest Man of 2011." Right, right, yawn, yawn. Does anyone else here object?
First things first, while I enjoyed Drive and The Ides of March like y'all, Gosling's "cool" is really just facial symmetry. Yes, it's a lot of facial symmetry, and I want to measure it with "a protractor" (code for "my trembling, loving hands"), but it just qualifies Gosling to be a cool actor, not a cool person. Those tumblr memes have to stuff words in his mouth to make him seem awesome, you know? Hey, girl, that makes him more of a cipher than a pillar of cool -- and I don't care what street brawls he broke up.
Here are the best alternative choices:
1. Ellen Barkin. You may have heard of her. You may have also heard that I spill little worlds of tears and LOLs when she tweets. She emerged from nowhere to become a 140-character phenomenon, and now when I watch Sea of Love, I feel connected to her "Bronx bitch" beginnings. She's dating Barry Levinson's chatty, amiable 25-year-old son Sam, too, which makes her especially cool -- because she definitely starred in Barry's Diner back in '82. WHAT.
2. Uggie the dog. He arrived unceremoniously, added a heart to the otherwise formulaic The Artist, and is the key to the film's lofty Best Picture chances. He also emotes on command. He's our Tatum O'Neal. Respect him.
3. Michael Fassbender. If Ryan Gosling snatched up the most archetypal "cool" roles since Sean Connery ruled, Fassbender acted as his sly, intellectual counterpart. Between Shame's manic protagonist and A Dangerous Method's conflicted experimentalist, Fassy sought for libidinous depth beneath his characters' severe exteriors. That? Is pretty cool. And still hot and overwhelmingly symmetrical. Which means all "cool" rubrics have been met.
Any other options, ladies and gents?