This Year's Trauma:

 Broken noses

Injuries are never fun. Usually, surviving a car accident or bar fight, after enduring surgery, weeks of physical therapy, and months of haggling with the insurance carrier, one doesn't shrug it off with the phrase, "No pain, no gain." In these cases, there is little gain for all the pain. And while we dread trauma on any body part, the nose makes us particularly squeamish. Maybe we've sat through the "Chinatown" DVD too many times. Jack Nicholson's slit nostril can give even the most jaded dermatologist the heebie jeebies. This year, several major films featured a literal sock in the schnozz.


Thomas Haden Church in "Sideways"

 In the adult comedy "Sideways," Thomas Haden Church makes the mistakenly seduces moped-riding cutie Sandra Oh.

 Church's nose in happier days.
 When she learns he's engaged, she lets him have it, with her bike helmet, no less.

As a philandering washed up actor, Thomas Haden Church is both hilarious and pathetic in "Sideways." When a seduction goes astray, Church sustains tremendous nasal trauma. The visual humor of the injury increases when he proceeds with his wedding anyway.



 In the boxing flick "Million Dollar Baby," Hillary Swank also takes a blow to the nose. At least she realizes it's an occupational hazard. Some don't have that expectation.

 Hillary Swank gives as good as she gets.

 And she gets it, all right...

 ...right in the nose.

In "Meet the Fockers," demasculinated dude Ben Stiller gets whacked by an otherwise harmless infant. As blood gushes profusely, an unsympathetic Robert De Niro chastises him for swearing in front of the child. Nasal injuries are especially punishing because often multiple procedures are required to re-shape the nose. An initial break may be followed by sequential fractures to attain the final form. Bruising and swelling can be significant, and depression is not uncommon until full healing has occurred.

While most of us would go to lengths to avoid facial trauma, there exist certain cultures where tribe members voluntarily decide to have their noses broken. They start with a perfectly proficient proboscis, one that can stop and smell the roses, and submit that nose to elective smashing and re-shaping. This is considered a right of passage in these sects and survivors of this traumatic act can actually go on to greater prestige in their community.


This unpleasant ritual is known as rhinoplasty and is central to the traditions of a distant land known as Hollywood.

 Jennifer Aniston before she made "Friends." Was she too nosy?

 She's certainly less nosy here.

 Could anyone guess that this young musician...

 ...would, with surgery, become the Chris Isaak we know today?

 For comment.

Jennifer Aniston and Chris Isaak are but two of many celebrities who appear to have survived the rhinoplasty ritual to valiantly carry on their careers. For them, and any sufferers of facial injury, intended or otherwise, this Skinnies Award is for you.

Runner up, This Year's Trauma:

Peroxide assault




 Bad blondes: Colin Farrell in "Alexander,"

 Giovanni Ribisi in "The Flight of the Phoenix,"

 Gael Garcia Bernal in "Bad Education"

 Peroxide has long been used to bleach out natural hair color, replacing it with a golden sheen. Though not a physical danger, peroxide can make some brunettes look somewhat cheap and tawdry. Fortunately, Farrell, Ribisi, and Bernal can always return to dark locks for their next projects. For these bottle blondes, we suggest, just say no.


© 1996-2008 Vail Reese M.D.

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