Willis’ Razor

If Bruce Shaves His Head, the Movie Sucks: a BFG Investigation

Hypothesis: The quality of any movie starring Bruce Willis is directly related to whether or not he has shaved his head.

Methodology: Watch his movies. Note whether or not his head is shaved. Chart accordingly. Be sure to be on the lookout for obvious wigs. Note that Obvious Wigs is a great name for a band.

Results: Fucking true. Completely true. This is a fact. Actually, it is so sound a hypothesis that it has yielded a theory in my mind that this may be a long-con game being played by Willis himself, demonstrating that he is not just some shallow asshole but actually a genius with the brass required to go all the way with what Joaquin Phoenix just flirted with that whole faked “rap career” thing.

Discussion: Think of any movie with Bruce Willis that is great. Got it? Is his head shaved? No, it fucking isn’t.

If Bruce Willis has a shaved head, the movie is a piece of shit. If he has hair, any hair, even a faint, sweet, baby like fuzz, the movie is probably good and maybe even great. Maybe even incredible. Let’s look at the facts. These are all movies wherein Bruce put down the razor and picked up just a pair of clippers.

Looper–Time-travel Bruce Willis is always good. This movie rules. If you don’t like this movie, you are almost certainly a jerk. He HAS hair in this movie. Not much. But it’s there.

Conclusive proof based on hard research

Sin City–Alright. This movie has aged pretty badly. But you liked it when it came out and you pretended to be into graphic novels for a couple months afterward.

Moonrise Kingdom–I haven’t actually seen this but I have to pretend I have so I don’t lose any friends. They all seem to like it but they also really love Serge Gainsbourg and that dude is creepy as fuck. He sang a duet about fucking with his daughter.

Planet Terror–You can tell me you don’t like this movie and I will tell you that you don’t get invited to many parties. This movie is a blast.

Armageddon–The dumbest goddamned movie that has ever made me cry.

The Fifth Element–Everyone pretends to love this movie more than they really do. Worth watching if only to see how annoyed Willis becomes with Chris Tucker’s voice the longer filming progressed. That Chris Tucker wasn’t strangled to death during this movie is a tribute to Willis’ patience and restraint.

Pulp Fiction–The film that inspired a million incels to start smoking and casually use the n-word. This movie has not aged well. But you fucking loved it when it came out.

Come on! Those are all at least not terrible movies and some of them are even great!

But the real excitement begins when he puts down the clippers and lets those wispy little fuckers grow out.

Die Hard–Motherfucking Die Hard. I refuse to explain this to you. Also Die Hard 2. And Die Hard 3.

The Last Boy Scout–Don’t you dare tell me you don’t love The Last Boy Scout. He shoots a dude in the face with a gun hidden up the ass of a toy. And he does it in slow motion.

Blind Date–I don’t remember this movie. Have I seen it? Maybe not.

The PlayerA cameo at the end. I don’t get why people love Robert Altman. But they do. So it goes on my list.

The Sixth SensePeople went CRAZY for this movie. Even your mom saw this movie and your mom never sees movies. She was all pumped for that kid to win an Oscar and then he didn’t win an Oscar and your mom went back to not giving a shit about movies.

Death Becomes Her–Yeah, that’s right. Do you remember Death Becomes Her? That movie rules.It kicks all other movies in the balls. Watch that movie again. It’s even better now. Why don’t people talk about that movie more? It’s the best thing Robert Zemeckis ever did. I can hear you right now: Am I saying it is better than Forrest Gump? It is ten times better than that piece of Baby Boomer jerk-off fodder. Am I saying it is better than Back to the Future? I AM. Because there is no nightmarishly terrible Death Becomes Her 2 and 3.

 

The Whole Nine YardsListen, I’m not a total jerk. I can enjoy something that just wants to make me laugh and have a good time. Even when it has Matthew Perry in it. And Bruce Willis is so good in this dumb movie that he makes up for Matthew Perry being in it. Think about that for a second and then tell me there is no such thing as miracles.

Okay. Let’s look at the opposite: Shaved Head Willis, or SHW. SHW is pretty much always terrible. I mean, Jesus, look at this list.

Death WishWatch Bruce Willis phone it in so hard you’ll think that Charles Bronson was a master thespian instead of the most wooden piece of beef jerky in the world. Did I just use two mismatched metaphors to describe Bronson and contrast that to Willis? I did. Neither of them deserve better than that.

Once Upon a Time in Venice–I saw this advertised on a RedBox thing. I don’t use RedBox. Stream your embarrassing movies like a normal person and stop clogging up the exit at the grocery store. I guess it’s about him saving his dog or something. Watch John Wick instead.

ViceEven looking up this movie is a pain in the ass. It isn’t the interesting disaster Inherent Vice, it isn’t the new Dick Cheney movie Vice, it isn’t Miami Vice, and it isn’t the pseudo-news rag Vice. It’s a Westworld rip off with Tom Jane. Tom Jane has long hair in this movie. Relevant? Maybe. But that’s a different research project and I only have so much grant money to fund this thing.

REDOkay, this movie is actually kind of fun. John Malkovich as a crazy former assassin? Sign me up. Helen Mirren shoots dudes in this movie. Mary-Louise Parker snarking up all the snarky you can shake a snark at? Hell yes. But watching her kiss shave-headed Bruce Willis ruins the appeal. And it yielded RED 2, a movie that aims so hard to hit the middle road that it ends up being for absolutely no one. Does this sound like it messes up my theory? Here’s the thing: Bruce Willis is unbelievably bad in this movie. He sinks the whole thing. He is a bummer here. Was he newly divorced or something? He depresses me in this thing.

Live Free or Die Hard, Die Hard With a Vengeance, A Good Day to Die Hard–These fucking movies. I don’t want John McClane to be the Terminator! I want him to smile and shrug at his bad luck and just barely do anything right! He is supposed to be an Everyman! HOW DID THEY SCREW THIS UP SO MUCH? They are making a new one. It’s called McClane. I already hate it. I saw Live Free or Die Hard and actually felt sympathy for Justin Long.

The Expendables–Watch this movie and understand what it is to be existentially hollow. This movie is a gaping, sucking hole filled with horse steroids and “chopped” motorcycles. Mickey Rourke is supposed to sensitive and wise in this movie. Mickey Rourke is supposed to sensitive and wise in this movie. I had to type that twice and it still just looks like nonsense to me.

The Expendables 2–This movie convinced me that either a) there is no God or b) God is unceasingly cruel.

Cop OutCop Out should be used to torture people.

Lucky Number SlevinI had forgotten this was a movie.

Why continue? These movies are awful. There are so many SHW films you haven’t heard of. And you haven’t heard of them because they are TERRIBLE and they are terrible because his head is shaved. That’s all there is to it.

HERE IS THE ULTIMATE EVIDENCE.

The Whole Ten YardsThe first movie, as mentioned above, is really fun. The second movie is an endless dumpster fire. And Bruce Willis has a shaved head in it. I’m telling you, this is the Rosetta Stone of Bruce Willis. This knowledge carries a kind of power that makes me nervous. I’m probably on a watch list somewhere right now because of this.

Why is this the case?

I have a theory. Bruce Willis is smart. I actually think this despite his music career and he can tell, I believe, whether a movie will be shit or not. And when he has that realization he makes a decision: I am not willing to look like less than badass in this piece of shit. This movie may be garbage but at least I will not look like a sad grandpa. But if the movie is going to be good? He will look like an actual human being with flaws and vulnerabilities as opposed to a piece of grouchy granite. He might even try to act a little.

And I know he has a shaved head in 12 MonkeysI feel that the wig cancels things out. Shut up.

Rob Bowman

Rob Bowman is a teacher and writer as well as the cohost of the Reel Disagreement podcast. He is the former fiction editor of and regular contributor to The Donnybrook Writing Academy. He has been a guest and lecturer at a couple universities that didn't know any better. He is working on two new novels, one of which someone might actually like.

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