My favorite alcohol-fueled moments in cinema
Published: December 14, 2011
From Pathés' anti-drinking documentary Les victimes de l'alcoolisme (1902) to Sideways (2004) and beyond, the devil's drink has been a frequent guest on the big screen with actors delivering some of the medium's most memorable lines (and gags) when a bottle was nearby.
BEST ALCOHOL GAG:' The Idle Class' (1921)
"I will occupy the other room until you stop drinking," reads the note signed by Edna (Edna Purviance), the tortured wife in Charlie Chaplin's classic short. After reading the note, Chaplin — playing the tramp as alcoholic husband — looks at a portrait of his wife, starts weeping, and turns his back to the camera as his crying apparently becomes inconsolable. But when he turns back to face the camera we meet the husband shaking not from grief but from mixing himself a drink.
BEST UNSOLVED VOMIT: 'This Is Spinal Tap' (1984)
On the death of former drummer Stumpy Joe:
Derek Smalls: "The official explanation is that he choked on vomit."
Nigel Tufnel: "It was actually someone else's vomit."
DS: "They can't prove whose vomit it was. They don't have facilities in Scotland Yard."
NT: "You can't really dust for vomit."
MOST ACCURATE E.T.A.: 'Leaving Las Vegas' (1995)
Ben: "I came here to drink myself to death."
Sera: "How long will it take you?"
Ben: "I'd say about three to four weeks."
BEST TOAST WHILE FALLING OFF THE WAGON: 'The Shining' (1980)
Jack Torrance: "Here's to five miserable months on the wagon and all the irreparable harm it has caused me."
BEST DISCRIMINATORY MOMENT: 'Sideways' (2004)
Miles Raymond: "If anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am not drinking any fucking Merlot!"
BEST ALCOHOL TOLERANCE: 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' (1966)
Martha: "Look, sweetheart, I can drink you under any goddamn table you want, so don't worry about me."
BEST INDICATION YOU SHOULD NOT DATE THAT GUY: 'The Lost Weekend' (1945)
Don Birnam: What kind of party did you say that was?
Helen St. James: A cocktail party.
DB: In that case, I'll join you.
BEST CASE FOR DRINKING: 'The Lost Weekend' (1945)
Don Birnam: "It shrinks my liver, doesn't it, Nat? It pickles my kidneys, yeah. But what it does to the mind? It tosses the sandbags overboard so the balloon can soar. Suddenly I'm above the ordinary. I'm competent. I'm walking a tightrope over Niagara Falls. I'm one of the great ones. I'm Michelangelo, molding the beard of Moses. I'm Van Gogh painting pure sunlight. I'm Horowitz, playing the Emperor Concerto. I'm John Barrymore before movies got him by the throat. I'm Jesse James and his two brothers, all three of them. I'm W. Shakespeare. And out there it's not Third Avenue any longer, it's the Nile. Nat, it's the Nile and down it moves the barge of Cleopatra."
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