In Appreciation of Jared Leto

November 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

Let’s be honest: I love me some Jared Leto. I’m too young for My So-Called Life (I know, I know), so my first encounter with Jared involves his role as Angel Face in Fight Club, or as I thought of him, the hot guy that wasn’t Edward Norton or Brad Pitt.

I was probably around 14 when I first watched Fight Club, at the end of the very brief period in which I was attracted to blonde guys. Notable about this period is the fact that I was particularly into the bleached-out surfer blonde (or as was more accurate to my hometown, water polo blonde) type, and that I managed to watch Paul Walker in She’s All That (a pretty hilarious movie, if not so much intentionally – check out the scene of Freddie Prinze Junior hacky-sack-ing) and find him vaguely attractive in addition to thinking him a massive douche. This attraction is remarkable due to my current intense hatred of Paul Walker, which did not take long to kick in and which includes a feeling of visceral revulsion when I think of him and/or see a trailer for Fast and the Furious 13: Fasterer and Furioserer. I find his speaking voice particularly infuriating/nauseating.

But back to Jared: I watched Fight Club.  I was pretty enthused, the way teenagers are required (probably by law) to be upon first viewing Fight Club, and considering my current penchant for chlorine-headed water polo players, I got over his bleached hair and creepy matching eyebrows that made his under-eye circles look like Dante’s circles of hell. I may have even found these vaguely appealing (I know, horrors).

For a year or so, then, to me, Jared Leto was simply the third hottest guy in Fight Club (and in case you’re wondering, Edward Norton is #1 and Brad Pitt is #2. While Brad is obviously prettier from a purely physical standpoint, Edward Norton is like catnip for brainy girls. Really sexy catnip. Except in The Italian Job, where he kills Charlize Theron’s adorable father and has that disgusting mustache. Mostly the problem is the mustache. But other than that, Edward Norton = yes. For remedial Edward Norton Studies, watch The Illusionist.)

My sophomore year of high school, however, I became aware of Jared’s defining role: lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars. At 15, I still liked the Ataris and other fairly heinous bands, though I was growing out of it, thank god/dess, so 30 Seconds to Mars did not repel me musically. Also, as someone who has had “anger issues,” as I think my parents referred to them when I was in junior high, 30 Seconds to Mars is ideal music for kickboxing/running until you may literally die/whatever else I did to channel my aggression as a teenager so that I could graduate from high school without murdering one of my more moronic classmates.

Even as I progressed emotionally and musically, realizing that Radiohead exists and other such important discoveries, I retained a soft spot in my heart for 30StM, specifically the song “The Kill” from their 2005 album A Beautiful Lie (the title song is also excellent treadmill music). “The Kill” is a masterpiece of angst, anger, and aggressive lyrics that don’t actually make that much sense.

The music video to “The Kill,” additionally, is its own piece of genius, featuring an homage to The Shining, a man inexplicably wearing a bear costume, and two Jared Letos sing-fighting.

 I place it up there with other cheese-tastic music videos, like the Backstreet Boys’ “Incomplete” (he’s playing a piano in the middle of the forest, for no reason) and New Kids on the Block’s “Summertime.” Basically, it’s impressively cheese-tastic considering 30 Seconds to Mars is not a boy band (at least in the traditional sense, though Jared Leto does seem unable to grasp that he is no longer a stringy 19-year-old and is in fact almost 40, and thus should begin comporting himself as an actual adult. You can be a rock star without seeming like a man-child perma-douche.)

“The Kill” truly dominates these other videos, however, in being light years more sincere. 30StM has no idea what a hilarious parody of a band they are. My favorite thing about Jared is that he seems to take himself so seriously.

Jared Leto wants to change the world. And Jared Leto seems to think that Jared Leto is changing the world.

“I just wish there was no such thing as fighting, that the world could just be like, perfect, and everyone could get along. But obviously, that can’t happen.”- Little girl whom the video highlights as if she is bestowing a nugget of wisdom coming from her childlike innocence, rather than obnoxiously stating the blatantly obvious

My favorite things about this video include 1) the rather unimaginative comments of the people featured, 2) Jared Leto’s portrayal of himself as a messianic figure, and 3) Jared Leto’s pink mohawk. This music video, which Jared himself directed (!), came out in 2010, at which point Jared was 38 years old. 38. Years. Old.

And he still thinks it is acceptable to dress like this:

And this:

His “I am an adult and wear scarves and such and do not have a pink mohawk” look unfortunately/fortunately looks like this:

The girls at GoFugYourself.com, one of my personal favorite blogs, referred to this look as the “doucheffant.”

Honestly, though, Jared’s “I’ll never grow up” Peter Douche Pan attitude is actually one of my favorite things about him. It’d be incredibly disappointing if he started wearing suits and stopped making music that makes my run awesome and the angry 13-year-old inside me mosh with glee.

However, this picture from the MTV Europe Awards from earlier this week reassures me that won’t be happening any time soon.

Are he and his bandmate in the middle both wearing skirts? Oh Jared, I love you; don’t ever change. Except your hair, and your clothes – into even more ridiculous ones.

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