Netflix’s Godless is an interesting and visually stunning new Western. There is a lot to be said about a lot of it. But we are not doing that today. Today, we are talking about mustaches. Like any good Western, Godless is lousy with them, some better than others. Someone should rank them. And someone did. And that someone is me. Here to help.
8. Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels)
See, the thing here is that we’re dealing with more than just a mustache. The mustache is part of a full beard, and not even a well-manicured one at that. It would be different if there was some trimming involved to reveal where one ends and the other begins. But no. This is just a mess of unkempt hair shooting out of Will McAvoy’s face almost willy-nilly. It makes it impossible to judge the mustache itself on its merits. It could be a very nice mustache. I honestly don’t know. This is like trying to judge a particular vodka by drinking it in a Long Island Iced Tea. I refuse to disrespect the process in this manner. Last place.
7. Elias Hobbs (Erik LaRay Harvey)
It’s not a good mustache and might have been ranked last if not for the thing where Erik LaRay Harvey has this very intense and intimidating stare that he does in every show/movie he’s in and I’m a little scared of it. I do not want to put him in last place and then run into him at, like, Chili’s someday and have him burn holes through me with his eyes because I disrespected the mustache his character sported on a Netflix Western that starred Jeff Daniels as an evil one-armed cowboy. Imagine explaining that to the other people at your table.
“Yo, why is Diamondback from Luke Cage staring at you like he wants to kill you?”
“I made fun of his mustache.”
“Uh, because I have principles.”
Yeah, no. Not worth it.
6. Whitey Winn (Thomas Brodie-Sangster)
I do not think we give enough people credit for effort. We spend so much time focusing on achievements and accomplishments (or a lack thereof) that we overlook people who honestly try their best, every day, often facing impossible odds, only to fall short. There’s something valiant about that. Inspirational, even. Give me the person who works his tail off for a B- over the lazy schlub who rolls out of bed and gets an A. That first person has character and dreams and the kind of backbone the second person will never have.
That’s why Whitey comes in ahead of Frank and Elias, even though his mustache is so sad that I actually had to zoom in to be sure it existed. Whitey will never have a Sam Elliott mustache. He knows that. But he’s not giving up. I admire that.
5. A.T. Grigg (Jeremy Bobb)
Should be docked points for the same beard-related calculus that dragged Frank Griffin into the cellar, but he’s so fancy and pompous that I have chosen to believe he sometimes waxes the corners of his mustache into little points, which is worth enough to offset the beard and land him in the middle of the pack.
4. Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell)
Roy’s whole facial hair situation is confusing to me. He has the scraggly stubble of a man who hasn’t shaved in two days but, like, all the time. How does he do that? It does the job and makes him look rugged and kind of like a guy who is on the run from an evil bearded one-armed cowboy, but if he never shaves his face clean, and time passes on the show the same way it does in real life, the whole thing should be getting longer as we move forward. Instead, it just stays about that length. Is that just as much as it grows? It’s very upsetting to me as I think about it more. I don’t want to talk about it.
3. Sheriff Bill McNue (Scoot McNairy)
It was a real treat to see Scoot McNairy back sporting the season three Halt and Catch Fire mustache. Although this isn’t a straightforward Gordon mustache. It’s a little cowboy’d up, especially on the edges. It’s a good mustache. A good, solid, Wild West lawman mustache.
Here’s a question: Do you think you could even be a sheriff in the Wild West if you didn’t have a mustache? I don’t mean like it was a written requirement or anything. More like a “Well, I like Frank’s stances on all the issues, but I don’t think I can vote for a clean-shaven sheriff” thing. I wonder if there was ever a scandal involving a fake mustache, where a potential sheriff who couldn’t grow facial hair glued a huge bushy one to his upper lip and was running away with the vote until it fell off into his whiskey at the saloon. Now we’ve gone the other way completely. Do you realize that our last mustachioed president was William Howard Taft over 100 years ago? It’s madness. I hope Joe Biden runs in 2020 with a mustache as thick and white as a bowl of New England clam chowder.
2. Ed Logan (Kim Coates)
I like it when bad guys own their evilness. We’ve had so many antiheroes on TV lately that I fear we’re losing that, with too many shades of gray messing up our color scheme. Sometimes it’s good to have a bad guy so obviously evil that you can look at him for one second and be like “Ooo, I hate that guy.” That’s why I like this mustache. There’s no doubt about it. It’s jet black and waxed to fine points like he plans on dipping it in ink and writing a ransom note with it. It’s the mustache of a man who has turned around two paces early during a duel and shot a man in the back. It’s the mustache of a man who has tied women to train tracks. It’s the mustache of a villain.
I love it dearly.
1. Marshal John Cook (Sam Waterston)
Ladies and gentleman, Jack McCoy has a mustache. And not just any mustache, either. A great mustache. A world-class mustache. A mustache that has snapped my brain in two like a stale pretzel rod. I gasped when I saw it. That’s not hyperbole or me taking artistic liberties to make a point. When Sam Waterston first showed up on my computer screen with that mustache, I literally, audibly gasped. If anyone had been in the room with me they would have thought I saw a headline like “Paul Giamatti Discovers The Lost City Of Atlantis At The Bottom Of Lake Huron” pop up in my Twitter feed.
The only problem with this mustache is that it has ruined reruns of Law & Order for me. Now I won’t be able to watch him thunder away at a witness or argue over whether he needs to make a deal without wishing he was doing all of those things with a glorious frontier mustache. Part of me wants to make a billion dollars tomorrow just to reunite the surviving members of the cast and reshoot every episode like that, shot for shot, but now Jack has a mustache. Just for me. I’ll put all the files in a vault like Prince used to do with unreleased songs and documentaries people made about him. People will come over and be like “Hey, do you still have all of those mustache Law & Order episodes in your vault? We should watch a few,” and then I will shout “NO” and have my servants throw them out of my mansion so I can watch them alone in peace.
It’s a good mustache. That’s what I’m trying to say.