|by Laura Kyle, Carina Hoskisson & Natasha Theobald
If you’re like us, the female of the species, you’re tired of entertainment sites salivating over just the hot girls of the year. Where’s the equal love? Where are the men? So with the help of five hot HBS honeys, we decided to strike one back for the man-loving crowd. We have determined that these are the 25 Hottest Men of Hollywood, give or take a few. Each appeared in at least one movie in the year 2004 and, more importantly, looked good doing it. Our criteria ascertained that the gentlemen didn’t have to look just kind of good, but they had to look damn good. Personality, of course, plays some secondary role, for we are women, and thus we are not without some culture and refinement. So, according to our panel of five learned and luscious ladies (special thanks to Lindy and Lurk), these are the cream of the crop. Let the beefcake begin!
HIGH SCHOOL CRUSHES
Remember your first high school crush? The kid you’d follow from Spanish class to his locker, maybe even drive past his house eight thousand times a week? 2004 was chock full of alma mater goodness, and here are the four boys that had us brimming with school spirit and an overwhelming desire to shake a pom-pom, or something.
Jake had us at "Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?" It was his bold performance as the title character in the cult hit Donnie Darko that got us digging Jake Gyllenhaal. While The Day After Tomorrow was no Donnie Darko (or Good Girl or Moonlight Mile for that matter,) Jake still managed to come off as believable in the otherwise laughable disaster flick. He oozes confidence and sensitivity. Jake’s got seriously good looks along with serious acting chops. Rumor has it he's a pretty good brother as well (just ask sister Maggie, with whom he made a movie; we can't spend five minutes with our brothers without arguing about what color something is.) All that makes Jake our number one high school crush of 2004.
Off the wild success of the first acting job he ever had, "That 70's Show," it seemed as though Topher Grace kept dipping his feet into the waters of Hollywood, but never quite jumped. He started out with a tiny but memorable role in Traffic, moved on to a slightly bigger role in the forgettable Mona Lisa Smile, and then finally nabbed a starring role in Win a Date With Tad Hamilton, one of the more intelligent romantic comedies of the year. But, still, Topher seemed content to share screen space with more than one actor for most of the time. He's squeezed out everything he can from the sensitive, witty, adorable, word-fumbling Eric Forman he created on "That 70's Show." With his latest grownup movie In Good Company, we have a feeling we may be seeing more of the guy for decades to come. And that's just fine with us.
Harold got the girl at the end of the movie, but Kumar won hearts and minds across the land, as well. Never mind his less than supportable pastime, Penn brought us an overtly honest guys’ guy, one we couldn't help but notice. Consider his admissions interview from the beginning of the film. You’ve got to love that kind of candor, especially coming from those lips. We could watch Kal talk, or not talk, all day.
Ladies! Raise your hand if you watched You Can Count On Me and didn’t immediately fall head over heels for Mark Ruffalo. Okay, you there, with your hand up – please tell us you just have to go the restroom. Ruffalo’s charming, playful, and heartrending performance in that film was a breakthrough role like no other. He then tried to ditch the Independent Film World in a polite way, but finally had to throw the napkin down, flip the table over and say “I’m gonna co-star with Jennifer Garner in a rip-off of Big!” And what do you know? It was a smart move and not a half-bad movie either. Despite his best efforts at selling out, Mark appeared in the totally legit Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Collateral. Ruffalo is one of the most original actors around with a natural gift for his craft that cannot be denied. Furthermore, that tussled hair and those soft, soulful brown eyes don’t hurt one bit.
Shut up. We feel bad enough already for thinking these men are hot. Then again, why do we feel guilty about these three guys when most of you are responsible for Pamela Anderson still having a career? You can take our guilty pleasures and stick ‘em.
We know, we know. Not only did Colin help Oliver Stone crash Alexander hard into the ground, but he’s also an unapologetic, arrogant playboy whose vocabulary is often obscured by the F-word. (And he missed the delivery of his firstborn!) A girl can’t help it: an Irish accent, relentless confidence, dry wit, gorgeous eyes, humungous sex appeal, a potential to not suck and maybe even be great in a movie... what can we say? Sometimes a bad-boy does a body good.
Yes, Kelso is the man responsible for inching Frankie Muniz out of the running (okay, that’s not true). We can hear you, “Why put Ashton on the list when you could have put anyone else on?” We know, Ashton wore that God-awful trucker hat, and then so did every other 14-year-old on the planet. He’s shagging Demi Moore and is only five minutes older than her kids. Kutcher spends more time putting whoopee cushions on the chairs of his fellow celebs, than, you know, “acting”. Nevertheless, there were two things Ashton did that were not Demi in 2004: one, he produced and starred in The Butterfly Effect, two, he was hot in The Butterfly Effect. 'Nuff said.
Oh, and also, he likes long walks in the park, piña coladas, the color blue, and pizza.
Jesus has never been sexier. We tell you, Jim Caviezel almost made us believers. He is one of those rare male specimens you don't hesitate to label "beautiful." Plus, Jim can act; he certainly redeemed himself for many a flop with Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. Whatever controversy he died on the cross for in Passion, you girls can't sit there and say to us you wouldn't get up and follow his ass in a second if he told you he was God?
All veterans of the Ocean’s 11-12 projects, these men are pedigreed Hollywood Hotties. Do we feel a touch bad that we’ve reduced obviously talented men into sex objects? No.
Either Mr. Pitt makes reservations for top ten hot lists, or he is, indeed, hot. We're going with the latter. It seems like the mirror gets steamier and steamier with each passing year. Brad is miles away from those early 1990’s long golden locks, (Troy notwithstanding) and he’s all the hotter for it. Pitt continues to bust out quality flick after quality flick. With Ocean’s 12 officially crowning him one of the coolest cats in town, his “fleshed out” character in Troy, and his new, on-the-market status (Jennifer Aniston better watch her back, because we're pretty sure Ben Affleck will get tired of Jen#2 in approximately two minutes)-- women are salivating again. Is he prettier than us? Does it matter in the dark?
Matt Damon is always at the top of our list. This year he was a punk rock god in Eurotrip, rubbing in just what “Scotty Doesn’t Know,” a kick-ass and hilarious song. He returned as Jason Bourne, sexy for his skill and cunning. Personally, we would know within a couple of minutes of meeting the guy that we could put ourselves in his ever-so capable hands. Ahem. Lastly, he came of age with the Ocean crew. Damon seems the epitome of smart, sexy, sensitive, and successful – the four best “s” words around.
George Clooney (see picture above)
There’s something about Clooney: intelligent, suave, funny. We're not sure what the five of us would do if he and those dark brown eyes walked into the room—swoon en masse? George worked in the business for years, putting in the hours in TV bit roles and low rent sit-coms. Once he hit it big, he paid us all back by choosing quality roles and backing solid projects. George is the guy who’d rather make a good movie than a swill full of cash. He’s also the guy who makes you weak in the knees. And, that his heart is as big as his talent, all the better.
THE CLASS CLOWNS
It’s not a line, we promise. The funny guy will win our hearts every time. Alright, it helps to be funny and hot.
For those who haven’t taken a closer look, when Jim Carrey isn’t contorting his features for laughs, he is actually quite captivating. There is something in the depths of his eyes that belies a secret or two, and most women can’t help but wish to be the one to whom such a man will finally divulge all. Watching him play heartbroken in Eternal Sunshine this year made us realize that, while we may be in the minority, we like serious Jim Carrey. We think there are depths of a soul there to plumb, and we're willing to watch along the way.
From comedic perfection headlining the TV show “Scrubs,” to writing, directing, and starring in one of the year's most romantic, funny, and original films, Garden State, Zach Braff is the new kid on the block, in case you haven't noticed, and a triple threat indeed. It takes an especially strong leading man to hold his own next to the likes of Natalie Portman, but Braff pulled it off beautifully. Playing an overmedicated 20-something straight man, to the quirky, entertaining characters he scripted out himself, Braff revealed himself as a dramatic actor who has the witty sense of humor and the heart to hammer out one of the most engaging screenplays in years—and the smarts to get behind the camera, too. Moreover, not to downplay his mind or anything, he's not so bad on the eyes. Escalator scene in Garden State anyone?
Vince is the smooth talker who can turn any combination of words into laugh-out-loud comedy gold and pretend he doesn't know he’s doing it. Sure, maybe sometimes he looks like he needs to get some sleep. But, in the end, Vince Vaughn is tall, dark, and funny (not to mention, he was one of the most entertaining players in this year’s cameo-ridden Anchorman). Heck, if it weren’t for Dodgeball and the like, he’d be the second coming of Marlon Brando. With those deep-set eyes and pillow lips, he’s like a big, wisecracking puppy. And what girl can resist a puppy?
There is something tremendously attractive about the "so laid back you could hit me with a baseball bat and I wouldn’t care or notice" cool that Owen Wilson embodies. He is the California surfer dude, but, unlike Paul Walker, he’s from, well, Texas. Owen is funny as hell and has been in every one of Wes Anderson’s films, in addition to helping to write them. He has a brilliant knack for comedy, and seems to be the common denominator in all of Ben Stiller’s best work. Now, you may be wondering about bro Luke. Owen isn’t a name out of the Bible, and Luke is far better looking. Short answer: the chosen Wilson simply Owened 2004 and really deserves to be here. We're not sure what he's always squinting at, and we'd wager that whenever he argues with someone, they tell him to wipe that silly grin off his face... but come on, is there anything sexier than his I’ve-been-broken-before nose?
FRESH OUT OF THE OVEN
So you want some freshies? A list of new kids so that you can brag “I knew him first”? Here is your get it while it’s hot list:
Gael Garcia Bernal
¡Ai Papi! We hate to use the word smolder, but dammit, the boy just does! We noticed him first in Amores Perros and Y Tu Mamá Tambien. If you didn’t notice him then, what, are you blind or something? Tan skin, dark brown hair, and the finest set of green eyes this side of the Antarctic. It’s not just that Bernal is good looking; he is also unbelievably talented. His turn as revolutionary-in-training Che in The Motorcycle Diaries is worth your two hours and then some. What other man could render Jimmy Kimmel speechless simply by hinting that kissing his best friend in Y Tu Mama wasn't too bad?
Everyone who just thought “who?” goes home with one demerit. Olyphant hit the big screen as a baddie in The Girl Next Door this year, but it was really as Seth Bullock in “Deadwood” that his star gained most of its new shine. For some reason, the period fits him, as does the character. Whether he is standing strong against men with evil agendas or sending smoldering looks at the newly widowed Alma Garret, he always makes his intentions perfectly clear. If you weren’t attracted to his sinister drug dealer in Go, maybe you won’t get it. But, if you knew full well Katie Holmes couldn't resist kissing him for the whole movie, “Deadwood” is out on DVD in February.
Mos Def was in The Woodsman last year, a film that has yet to come to a theater near us. It was more for his Emmy Nomination for “Something the Lord Made,” however, that he gained some well-deserved notice. It’s all just foreplay, though, for the year that Mos Def will be having in 2005. With a couple of high profile roles on the horizon and a critically acclaimed new CD release, this artist/poet/beautiful individual has nowhere to go but up. Mos definitely.
If this Tad Hamilton didn’t make you want to win a date, we don’t know who would. As much as we love good guy Topher Grace, it was hard not to see a little something in Duhamel’s Tad, as well. Combine that with all he gets to do in “Las Vegas,” and you have yourself a star on the rise. The best part, however, is that watching him as interviewed by Ellen Degeneres, for example, you get a sense of what a down-to-earth guy from North Dakota he is. That much more beautiful for eschewing beauty, we look forward to all the future has to offer this hot guy.
We're sneaking him onto the movie list by virtue of the fact that he seems to have joined the Ben Stiller/ Vince Vaughn stable of cast mates, appearing in both Starsky & Hutch and Dodgeball. It’s on “Arrested Development,” however, where Bateman is allowed to truly shine. Of course, for us, this is returning to a crush built long ago on the foundations of “Silver Spoons” and “It’s Your Move,” if you can remember and believe it. Bateman has lost none of the kid actor charisma, has only added to it with a great sense of timing and an amazing way around a funny line. We laugh, only pausing to think about how hot smart, funny guys are.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. If you want hot guys, we’ve got hot guys. When your DVD player starts smoking, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The first notice we took of Phifer was in Soul Food, where all his character did was get down. That seemed pretty okay to us. We continued to watch as he did high school Othello, supported Eminem, and joined the able doctors to provide quality healthcare at “ER.” Of all of the varying roles he has played, though, the one which got us more than most was that of himself. Maybe you didn’t see the episode where Phifer was “Punk’d,” but it’s not something we will soon forget. He exudes strength and confidence, and that is just sexy.
Stop it Clive Owen, Stop it. You, with your tall, dark, handsome looks and troubled soul. We even saw Beyond Borders because you were in it, now that’s dedication to a guy! To see Owen doing only what Owen can, check out Closer. However, if you need a Clive primer, we would suggest: Croupier, Gosford Park and “Second Sight.”
Diggs was in a couple of smaller films this year, but it was in bringing his movie star wattage to television that he made a mark. Taking the ‘hot guy holding a baby’ ideal to a whole new level, “Kevin Hill” is actually putting UPN on the map with the stellar style of this hot star. The same man who helped Stella with her groove, Diggs becomes richer and fuller an acting presence as time goes on. Plus, Taye has one of the best smiles in primetime, or anytime for that matter.
We're not going to jump on the “Jude Law is the Sexiest Man Alive” bandwagon, but we most definitely will admit to wanting to jump on Jude Law. He’s more than earned his badge of complete and utter hotness. He stole scenes from Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley, carried all of A.I.’s baggage gracefully, and then helped Renee Zellweger rip Cold Mountain right out of Nicole Kidman’s pale, skinny fingers. He popped out SIX movies in 2004 alone, and the closest thing to even resemble a bomb was Alfie – and still, he was dripping wet with English charm in that one. Jude isn’t naked without a screenplay—just catch one of his many talk show appearances. Law is a witty, articulate, and captivating presence.
Dennis Quaid was in four films released in 2004, though some got less notice and box office than others. He also got married, toured with his band, and looked as good as he always has, if not better. Topher Grace tells a story about taking a first date to see Quaid’s band play and learning to regret the error. There is just no denying that Quaid is sexy, still sexy, and always sexy. If you need to remember why, rent The Big Easy and listen to him seduce Ellen Barkin. That is one cinematic memory that will live with us forever. And, he only has more and better ahead of him. Enjoy his renaissance.
Were you expecting Tom Cruise? We don't care how many times it's been said, Johnny Depp is the hottest male in Hollywood right now. Period. Most of us have had a thing for him since Edward “I’d like to winona his ryder” Scissorhands. You do the math. Before Pirates of the Caribbean, he was one of those actors who everybody kind of knew, but had left his teen heartthrob life behind. Leave it to Captain Jack Sparrow, the drunken pirate with serious eyeliner, to have girls running for the scotch-tape. If we didn’t have a thing for pirates before, Depp’s hippie swashbuckling ways would have sold us for sure. Johnny’s consistently awesome film projects (Finding Neverland) and flawless performances in them, is almost uncanny. However, Depp is most beautiful when he is describing, to whoever will listen, the happiness his life has gained from becoming a father. The man we first loved as Tom Hanson on “21 Jump Street,” who hugged the kid with AIDS as he wept, has come full circle. Depp is the man we all hoped he would one day be.
Awww. Just look at thse cuties. How could we leave them off of the list?
Look for this up and comer in the next couple of years. Butler first came to our attention in “The Jury” a great production that you can Netflix. Perhaps you noticed him in Reign of Fire opposite the habitually hot Christian Bale (pant-pant-pant.) Last year, Gerard played the titular role in The Phantom of the Opera. While the consensus was that Butler was too good looking to be the disfigured Phantom, perhaps he’ll break out this year in Beowulf. Next time you’re in the mood for something tall with green eyes, a little Gerry might do the trick.
Speaking of Mr. Bale, 2005 may just be his year. While Christian has been kicking around in independent and B-level movies, with the occasional foray into big time territory, you might finally catch Bale fever in the new Batman movie due out in June. While he was a little too skinny, scary, and tortured in The Machinist to be “hot,” the Welsh Bale’s entire catalogue of films merits at least a mention. Trust us and rent: ah, jeez, just rent all his movies. You’ll be amazed by Bale’s talent and range and, since we’re being shallow, did we mention how positively dreamy he is?
Bettany’s done naked (A Knight’s Tale), make believe (A Beautiful Mind), and champion tennis player (Wimbledon), with solid results each time. Our favorite hardworking Shakespearean actor turned Hollywood Hottie hails from England. While his white, white skin, and lanky body type is a dead giveaway of London roots, the roguish smile and those blue green eyes, topped with that oh-so-debonair charisma, make Paul a safe Bett for a hot list (get it? BetT?) Ay, that was bad.
He's got those eyes that make a girl wonder what he's thinking about, and, of all the young thespians, Fugit’s one of the more talented. We hope he doesn't cut that shaggy, rock star hair anytime soon. Patrick appeared in the indie Saved! opposite Jena Malone and not-on-this-list-anytime-soon-Macaulay Culkin.
An article and a noun: The Notebook. What can we say? We're a sucker for a good romance, and Ryan Gosling does the "I'm in love" facial expression darn well. Many a girl fell for Gosling as the guy-who-the-parents-don’t-approve-of in The Notebook. Even if you have to rent The Notebook on the down low, you’ve got to see Gosling go. Watch for him in Stay and Noise, due out later this year.
That's it for 2004, but rest assured that we will have our eyes and hearts open for the next big thing. Not only that, being intelligent women, we're always willing to see a familiar face in a new way. So, 2005 bring them on!
link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1332
originally posted: 02/05/05 06:20:18
last updated: 02/05/05 08:53:58