Welcome to TV Guide’s 12 Days of Chris-Mas, a festive celebration of famous dudes named Chris. Every day leading up to Dec. 25, we will honor a single Chris, counting down to the best Chris of the year. Today, that honor goes to Chris Pine, the third best Chris.
Chris Pine is a different kind of Chris.
While his fellow Chrises are beloved for their off-the-cuff remarks, Chris Pine is studied and prepared. This is not to say that the others Chrises aren’t intellectual or that Pine isn’t game to get loose, but that Pine has, whether purposefully or not, built his brand on being the Cerebral Chris, the kind of actor who shows up to an interview with a thesis statement about the homogenization of masculinity in film and earnestly talks about living a “fully realized” life.
This can mean that Pine is also seen as the Pretentious Chris, but often lovingly so. One of the basic tenets of a true stan is taking your hero’s weaknesses, flaws or pain points and celebrating them with a healthy dose of self-deprecation. Britney stans are experts at this, and the same is true for the Pine-Nuts, who see Pine driving around in a sh–ty station wagon or using a flip phone and laugh at the over-the-top hipster-ness of it all, finding it endearing rather than exhausting.
WHO TAUGHT CHRIS PINE HOW TO TAKE PICS WITH HIS FLIP PHONE pic.twitter.com/FYSZA7vNuA
— catherine ⚡️ (@dianaprinceisbi) January 28, 2018
Pine’s self-awareness also makes some of his more eye roll-worthy behavior more palatable, and therefore more lovable. Because Pine doesn’t just have a flip phone, he charmingly talks about how he’s worried that people will think him having a flip phone will make him appear to be a self-righteous prick. He knows how he comes off, he hopes he doesn’t come off that way, but he still won’t change his behavior because of concerns over how he’s perceived. We stan a self-assured Chris.
While Pine describes himself as overly analytical, this hasn’t led to him becoming predictable or safe in his personal choices or his career. Instead, Pine seems fearless when it comes to taking risks. Of the four main Chrises, Pine’s credits are the most eccentric, and that’s because (no offense to the rest) Pine is the most versatile actor of the bunch. He can mold himself to whatever a role needs — gritty, suave, rakish, stern, arrogant, unhinged, campy, endearing — and he actually puts this versatility to use, slowly chasing that EGOT he may one day win.
But the fun thing about Pine is that he never really plays against type because that implies there is a type he embodies. While it’d be easy to say that Pine is your average heartthrob, first in rom-coms and later action films, he’s been actively fighting against that idea for years. We shouldn’t discount the work he’s done simply because he looks like an Adonis and hangs out with aliens and superheroes sometimes. Pine is, and has been for over a decade, a f—ing weirdo in the best possible way.
One could trace the origin of Weird Chris in acting to 2006, when he starred in Smokin’ Aces as a campy, disturbing spectacle of a neo-nazi punk. Not long after, Pine landed the role of James T. Kirk in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, but he continued to expand his repertoire into the unexpected with a bizarre, silent cameo in Celeste & Jesse Forever (where he’s credited as Kris Pino) and a memorable role in the forgotten Stretch, in which he plays a bearded, wack job millionaire who parachutes, with his butt out, onto Patrick Wilson’s car while smoking a pipe. But Weird Chris probably actually crystalized in 2015, when he took on the role of secret agent/acoustic crooner Eric in Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, a part he reprised in Ten Years Later that saw his character get cyborg arms that turned into swords at one point.
No role or show is too small for Pine, as evidenced by his guest arc on TBS’ Angie Tribeca and his recurring role in the Crackle’s stop-motion comedy SuperMansion, so you literally never know what Pine is going to do next. Film or TV. Comedy or drama. Blockbuster or indie. His choices are all over the place and it makes stanning him thrilling, especially because Pine takes this eccentricity in good stride. Pine seems like someone who simultaneously takes everything and nothing at all seriously. He’s always down for a good bit, particularly if it involves poking fun of himself (even his penis), and just seems like someone who’s game to try new things and push both what he can do and what people expect from him — even when it comes to fashion.
Over the past few years, Pine has become a low-key fashion icon, not because of his truly chic suits but because of his off-the-wall quirky looks, most often seen when he’s running errands or at the airport. And since Pine comes off as being so analytical about everything, we perceive every choice he makes as one that has been thoroughly thought out. This makes his more unexpected sartorial choices much more amusing, as we’re left in awe wondering, “He thought about his outfit and THIS is what he chose?!?” again and again (and again and again).
For example, some of the things we’ve learned about Pine’s style in recent years: Chris Pine loves a big hat. Chris Pine loves overalls in various styles and colors. Chris Pine likes any shoe, formal or casual, that you can wear without socks, including but not limited to flip flops. Chris Pine loves the color sherbet. Chris Pine also inexplicably loves these patchwork denim pants (pictured above), which he wore to the airport and on a trip to the Dead Sea with one of his BFFs, Patrick J. Adams of Suits and Troian Bellisario fame.
When Chris Pine was spotted wearing a caftan while vacationing earlier this summer, though, it was as if the whole world finally noticed Chris Pine isn’t your regular Chris, but a quirky Chris. The reactions were swift and strong. Some loved it and a new generation of Pine-Nuts were born. Others didn’t quite understand it. But pretty much everyone had an opinion on it.
sacred image of chris pine dabbing while wearing a caftan: pic.twitter.com/YsBxtaEtp8
— 🎄 where my background singers? 🎄 (@_marzipantz_) August 21, 2018
And that’s the thing about Pine: While the Chrisification of Hollywood represents the exact homogeneity of modern masculinity in film that Pine bemoaned in that aforementioned interview, he has made it his mission to fight against that sameness and keep the audience on our toes. Chris Pine is a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. And when it comes to a group of men who are literally famous for being indistinguishable, what’s more important than that?