Hammer Swagger: The Five Coolest And Most Diverse Roles Of Ryan Gosling’s Career

Ryan Gosling is from that certain “cool” school of acting that not very many actors can claim they are a part of.  Those actors who are so “cool”, but don;t even look like they are trying. Like cool just oozes off of them. Steve McQueen had it. Clint Eastwood had it (and still does, for the most part). James Dean had it, for a very short amount of time, sadly. And young Brando had it.

Some people say James Franco has it (I would argue), and some people say Michael Pitt has it ( I won’t argue). But no one can argue that Gosling has it. The man just bleeds cool, and seem so confident and quietly certain in himself that he is a real enigma and joy to watch on screen. It seems right now, every woman wants to bed him, and every man wants to be him. So I figured what better time to shine some light on a few of his most memorable roles.  So strap on your Scorpion jacket you bought online, and draw a washboard on your stomach with a magic marker, because it’s time to go all Gosling on their asses.


After I saw this scene I tried to hammer a bullet into some guy’s head and blew my left hand off. He died, though, so it was pretty much a success.

After much thought and deliberation, I think that Ryan Gosling as just “driver” in Drive was one of the coolest characters I had seen on screen since Steve McQueen in the 1968 classic, The Thomas Crown Affair. He needed to say little to convey how cool and dangerous he was, and when he did speak, you just sat there, hanging on every word.  The movie itself was so unlike anything we had ever seen (minimal dialogue, long shots, retro electric-soundtrack) and had you put ANYONE else in fingerless leather gloves and a scorpion jacket, it could have been the silliest thing ever, but Gosling OWNED the part.  Well, maybe ONE other person could have played it, but I digress.

Conan O’ Brien showing Gosling that he has the swagger to be in the sequel: Drive, Too: GingerBurns.

Gosling just seemed dangerous in Drive, even before you knew he was. And he did that with very little dialogue. Yet, in the same breath, he played it soft, with his heart showing through in certain scenes (though I found the relationship between him and Carey Mulligan to be the weakest aspect of the film) and seeing Drive was the moment that most men just accepted the fact that their wives and girlfriends want to bang this guy. My thinking was: Can’t say I blame you, ladies. I look like a ball of uncooked dough next to that dude.

But the thing I really admire about Gosling is the fact that he is not above taking chancing, as seen in:

The Believer

He is royally pissed off at just how photobombed he got by that devious stop sign behind him.

I often wonder why no one has heard of this movie. The concept is brilliant, and per usual, Gosling delivers a surreal and empowered performance that few would be brave enough to give. So what is Believer about? Well, sit down for this one.

In The Believer, Gosling plays an Orthodox Jew turned Neo-Nazi skinhead. And the movie doesn’t rely in violence as a gimmick to sell that image. Instead, heavy conversations and exchanges  permeate most of the film, and the things they tread on in these discussions are issues we ALL sit down and talk about. From religion and sex, to politics and death, The Believer isn’t afraid to churn up the waters, but they do it in all the right ways. Seriously, why have you not seen this movie?

And playing brooding characters is one thing, but how about a fat, lonely, weirdo, as he showed us in…

Lars and the Real Girl

The man has no problem gaining weight and falling in love with a sex doll for the sake of art.

I place this movie into the: Mostly Vastly Misunderstood Movies Of All Time category, which is an article I will write down the road, but is far too ambitious of a piece for my current mindset. People think this is a movie about a fat Ryan Gosling ordering a real doll and treating her like a real girlfriend, much to the chagrin of the people around him. And while that is TECHNICALLY what the film is about, that is not TECHNICALLY what the film is about. You see, Lars just wants to connect with people, but has NO idea how to do that. So in turn, he connects with a fake person in order to bridge the gap to him connecting with real people. It plays out as both tragic and funny, and those who only know Gosling as “sexy” or “cool” NEED to see him this film to understand just how wonderfully nuanced he is as an actor.

And by the way, these people actually f*cking exist, so it wasn’t even like this movie was that far out of a concept. Props to Gosling for not being above fattening up and going to dark places. That has pretty much been the basis of my whole life.

And for further proof that Gosling has no problem going to dark places for his roles…

Half Nelson

I grew up with the common misconception that good looking people didn’t feel that hollow inside, but his eyes tell me otherwise.

How about Ryan Gosling playing a drug-addicted, inner-city schoolteacher? How is that for gritty?!

Truth is, props to my sis for telling me about this movie long before the Gosling train had taken off. Half Nelson’s movie is accentuated by an unlikely friendship he strikes up with one of his student’s who happens to find him in a rather questionable state on day. The thing about this film that makes it work is exactly what you think wouldn’t. Gosling.

I know that sounds mean, but you think to yourself Gosling as a drug addict in a shitty job in the hood, you don’t immediately think that will be believable or good casting, but he proves that thought wrong. Gosling plays it so freakishly well, that there are parts of me that seriously wonder if the man smoked crack in perpetration for his role. Yes, I know that seems insane, but so is the performance he gives here, which ALMOST won him an Academy Award in 2006. Atleast take comfort in knowing he lost to Forrest Whitaker for his role in Last King of Scotland, which was a once-in-a-lifetime performance.

Blue Valentine

” Hey Michelle, I am not trying to bug you out or anything, but is that your dead ex over there, dressed like a clown?”

Blue Valentine is one of those movies you only see once. Well, atleast it was for me. Too hard to bring myself to see it again, even though it floored me.

It is a movie that follows a couple from their courtship and their honeymoon period, to their dramatic and heart breaking end, much further down the line. What works so well about this movie is just how raw it is. Everything, from the sex (which earned it an unjustified NC-17 for an oral sex scene) to the soul-shattering ending, when Gosling just kind of walks away from it all, just feels real. Almost TOO real. The ride you take with them is a ride wrought with twists and turns, and you feel every single one like a blow to the gut.  It stops being a movie about THEIR relationship, and as you watch it, becomes a movie about all relationships, and that can be the hardest thing to swallow of all.

But it was another case where Gosling just kills it, as does Michelle Williams. When he is on top of the world in this film, you stand there with him. And then when it all topples over, and he just throws up his arms and walks away, you feel a part of yourself go with him, forever broken.

And now to address a question I know I will be asked in the comments:

 Why is The Notebook not on the list? 

” Hey, I find you quite attractive, and you should go out with me or I am going to kill myself in front of you and your date, right now.”

Listen, I am as much of a romantic as you all, but people seem to have an entirely different view of this movie than I do. While I do find love scenes in the rain between attractive people to be enjoyable to watch, the very fact that their whole relationship is built off him threatening suicide on the ferris wheel if she doesn’t go on a date with him has always sat wrong with me. That is like a love story that begins with a kidnapping, and eventually, as Stockholm syndrome sets in, it turns into a love story about a captor and his soulmate. Nah, not my thing. Sorry.

But I will give him props, because this movie is the movie that made half the female population on this planet desire his seed, and if nothing else, that gets a nod from me.

Right now, the man smells of Eva Mendes and cognac, the two scents that define being a man. 


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  1. I remember seeing the Believer and being blown away by his performance, that, I think it was the opening scene, when his is riding on the bus a just leaning in to that chubby jewish boy.. No words were said he just kinda invaded the kids personal space and dared him to say or do something… It didn’t even feel that overt, but you could feel the menace coming off of Gosling. Before that it was all Breaker High and Young Hercules… So I have to agree with Sara, the Believer made Gosling Legit…

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