6 Reasons We’re All Embarrassingly Jealous Of Ryan Gosling

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Celebrity is annoying. It’s annoying because it’s a part of our culture that is all but unavoidable, and especially for those of us with an interest in movies and television and pop culture, the world of celebrity causes an abundance of mixed feelings. On one hand, it’s a substantively vacuous world of dull material excess, a shameless public display of personal spectacle that is as phony as it is pathetic. On the other, it’s a world of intriguing power, allowing freedoms that the select few in our society get to enjoy, and is at least partly desirable for all of us if we’re truly honest, even though each one of us knows if we ever got really famous we’d of course use that power in good and interesting ways. It’s why most people, if they thought long and hard about it, would change places in an instant with a person like Ryan Gosling.

The emotional attachments people and individuals develop with specific celebrities are complicated and vary greatly, and they’re always weird, because it’s like, they’re someone you don’t know. At all. Like not in real life. So what people are actually attaching themselves to when they have any kind of feelings towards a celebrity persona—whether it’s love, hate, purposeful indifference that actually reveals jealousy and inner insecurity—is not a real person but a character like any other character you’d have affection (or whatever) for in a movie or a novel. Like Katniss Everdeen. Or whoever. That’s the way I’ve come to rationalize and come to terms with the confusing and involuntarily opinions I have, as I’m sure most other people have, about various celebrities. Like Ryan Gosling.

That’s out of the way now. Let’s go over 6 of the reasons that, deep down, we wish we could be Ryan Gosling for a day or maybe forever.

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1) The obvious

GSD 07545 6 Reasons We’re All Embarrassingly Jealous Of Ryan Gosling

One thing I’m not terribly jealous of is this “Baby Goose” nickname people are using for Ryan Gosling lately, but that’s about the extent of everything Ryan Gosling has going for him that’s not pretty awesome. It goes without saying by now that he is one of the brightest young acting talents around today, able to control an entire movie with ease when he wants to, and in a manner unlike anyone since perhaps Marlon Brando, whom Gosling has idolized since an early age. He’s not one of those stars who attracts the shrieks of female fans while inviting resentment from others due to lack of talent. He has the genuine charisma and on-screen talent to make believers out of the biggest pop cultural skeptics.

Mostly, he’s just cool. And not just in the way that most stars seem cool, but he seems entirely unfazed by just about everything. It seems like he’s taken his stardom in stride, and instead of capitalizing on it by cashing in his fame for blockbuster roles, he uses his celebrity to publicize the relatively small and independent titles he appears in, making Nicolas Winding Refn and Derek Cianfrance household names. So he’s got the cool, the look, the talent, and everyone knows it, and he uses it almost entirely for good. The energy around him is all good as a result.

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2) And he’s obnoxiously young

The Notebook2 6 Reasons We’re All Embarrassingly Jealous Of Ryan Gosling

Seriously. The guy is 32 years old right now. That’s like…less than 10 years older than my current age. He received his first Oscar nomination for Half Nelson at the age of 26. That’s one of those things that people in their twenties look at and think, “Well, I guess I might as well give up now.” He won the affections of millions at age 24 when he starred in The Notebook. It’s all so unfair, but what are you gonna do? He’s one of many stars who flaunts their youth in your face and all we can do is sit here and take it and ask for more.

The thing about Gosling is that his career is shaping up to be a long and prosperous one if he continues to work the way he has been the past few years. Actors of his quality and his age are exciting because they have the energy to change the game and influence the styles of new generations by establishing a cool way to be present on screen. But they’re also exciting just because it’s interesting to see how they develop over the years and decades, for those who wish to commit to the craft for the greater part of their lives. What I’m saying is Ryan Gosling is one of those actors that I’m extremely curious about in terms of what he’ll be like as a more senior actor, that is, as an old man.

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3) And he’s Canadian

Lars and the Real Girl 6 Reasons We’re All Embarrassingly Jealous Of Ryan Gosling

Being Canadian is something you literally pretty much have to be born into, an obvious point to be sure, but one of those qualities that compounds a star’s cool factor without exception. It makes a star as familiar as possible while still remaining just slightly exotic. And getting back to the longevity point from the previous page, because of his Canadian citizenship you can be assured that he’ll have decent and morally sound healthcare coverage for the duration of his career. For those of us from Canada, he holds the dual factor of making it big in the American scene while still maintaining enough Canadianness for us to claim him as one of us. It’s the best of both worlds situation that many of us up here dream about: spending considerable time in the United States, benefitting from all the amazing things the country has to offer, and retreating back home to the north when things get a little crazy like Rick Santorum almost becoming the President. Gosling’s ability to now play on both sides of the border is enough for residents of either country to envy.

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4) And he’s inspired amazing memes

Ryan Gosling 6 Reasons We’re All Embarrassingly Jealous Of Ryan Gosling

He’s young, handsome, and uniquely talented, but it’s very possible that the entirety of Ryan Gosling’s contributions to human culture during his time of earth hundreds, even thousands of years from now will ultimately be summed up by two simple words: “Hey girl.” It is the meme to end all memes. Or at least, it’s a meme that has spun off a million other memes in a million other memetic directions. What started as simply “F**k Yeah Ryan Gosling” turned into not only a celebration of the actor and an excuse to see countless candid and posed photos of him, but a way various interest groups could tack on their messages in a fun way to this meme and that face, creating juxtapositions that undoubtedly have come to define a generation’s humor and specialized academic knowledge. The winner of these memes, Feminist Ryan Gosling, was even shamelessly made into a book that people paid actual money for.

A close second to the myriad Gosling Tumblr pages are the incredible Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal videos on Vine. They take advantage of the many moments he has been featured in films saying nothing and looking generally distraught. Something about this guy inspires people do get creative and weird in the best ways. I can’t help but wonder what sort of memes Marlon Brando would have generated had the internet been around in the 1950s.

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5) And he doesn’t need to say a damn thing and is still a captivating performer

Drive 6 Reasons We’re All Embarrassingly Jealous Of Ryan Gosling

It has become a trademark of the Ryan Gosling acting style, almost to the point where it’s a cliché: the silence. He has a gaze that draws us in like no other. His face itself is not all that interesting on its own, not overly expressive, not weird or captivating, but he has earned our attention by using it so effectively, with the subtlest gestures and perhaps the most understated intensity the screen has ever seen. He doesn’t have the big dark eyes of someone like Johnny Depp that capture your glance immediately and make you wait to see what they’re going to do; eyes like his or Helena Bonham Carter seem to naturally (it’s probably the result of training and endless work, sure) give you the impression that there’s so much going on behind them.

Gosling has the unique ability to give off that sense of underlying complexity without seeming to even do anything, without even moving an eye muscle. Maybe it’s the way he fixes his eyes on something with such focus that tells us the thing he’s looking at is interesting; we trust his ocular reliability. There’s also something fascinating about the way he looks when he’s staring at something or somebody—as if he’s highly conscious of the fact that he’s being looked at. I don’t know what it is. It’s a mystery. He’s mysterious that way. We always want to know more. That’s all part of the allure. The bastard.

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6) And he’s developed an impressive body…of work

Crazy Stupid Love 6 Reasons We’re All Embarrassingly Jealous Of Ryan Gosling

For all the attention his triceps get, and it’s a disturbing amount of attention, it’s his work in really good movies that earns Ryan Gosling the majority of adoration he is currently receiving. Gaining a large amount of acclaim for The Believer back in 2001, he really took critical flight with Half Nelson in 2006, pretty much cementing his status as an actor of the highest level, and one of the most promising talents of his generation. And since then, he has far more hits than misses, going from Lars and the Real Girl, Blue Valentine, Crazy, Stupid, Love, Drive, and The Place Beyond the Pines. That’s an impressive track record over just 7 years of work. And those abs, am I right?

I would love it if I could simply watch the movies I watch, distinguish one performer from the next, but only invest in the characters they play and not conflate the characters with the performers themselves. Maybe some people are able to do this. I envy them. I’m perhaps more jealous of these hypothetical people than I am of Ryan Gosling. If you’re one of them please share your secrets with me. But movies work on the majority of us in powerful, involuntary ways, and so the connection people have with celebrities like Gosling is completely understandable and, within reason, perfectly healthy. It’s natural. It’s a vice we might as well embrace, or at least laugh about. Because if there’s one thing this generation could be defined by, it’s the ability to handle things with a healthy contradictory mix of irony and earnestness, hey? Girl?

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  • Alexander Lewis-White

    I really cannot stand this guy and his squinty face.

  • Henry

    Pointless article. Find some better material.

  • Papa_Cavedweller


  • WTF

    why did any of you jerks even stop and read this?

  • tevii

    I have nothing against Ryan Golsing, but I just dont see the appeal. its so weird how he tops all these different lists, but he really hasnt done much of worth at all