Stages of Film Intoxication
Published: December 19, 2012
The Legend Of The Drunken Master (1994)
It's Jackie Chan’s best film. Downing everything from wine to cognac to industrial alcohol, the more this martial arts master gets sloshed the stronger he gets. Chan was in his prime, and his firewater-fortified fisticuffs prove that sometimes there are some damn good reasons for getting wasted.
My Favorite Year (1982)
A lightweight comedy that stars the fantastically inebriated Peter O'Toole as a cognac-chugging, past-his-prime matinee idol named Alan Swann (a mashup of legendary lushes Errol Flynn and John Barrymore). The plot is disposable but, as an addition to the halls of soused cinema fame, O'Toole brings panache to the state of being plastered.
STONE: “Mr. Swann, I think I’m going to be unwell.”
SWANN: “Stone, ladies are unwell. Gentlemen vomit.”
STAGE 3: Confusion (a.k.a. “Trashed” or “shit-faced”)
Bad Santa: The Unrated Version (2003)
If you're unfamiliar with the exploits of perpetually sozzled safe-cracker Willie T. Soke (Billie Bob Thornton) and his vertically-challenged partner in crime Marcus, you're no drinking buddy o’ mine. This hardcore antidote to holiday cheer honors the birth of the savior with 170 instances of the word fuck, 74 utterances of shit, 31 vocalizations of ass, 10 uses of bitch, and one bastard ... in a pear tree.
WILLIE: “You can’t drink worth a shit. You know that?”
MARCUS: “I weigh 92 pounds, you dick.”
Withnail And I (1987)
Richard E. Grant’s film debut is hilariously brilliant, embodying every self-serving, craven instinct you've ever observed in your favorite alcoholic. When a movie features an argument over whether a shot of lighter fluid is worse than a shot of antifreeze, you know you’re witnessing a holiday black comedy done right.
Withnail: “Right here's the plan; we go in there, and get wrecked. We eat a pork pie, then lay down a couple of Surmontil 750s. It means we'll miss out on Monday but come out smiling Tuesday morning.”
STAGE 4: Stupor (a.k.a. “Gone, Baby, Gone”)
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)
If you've seen the movie, you know the scene: The bathroom stall, the toilet filled with vomit, the floating piece of chewing gum. Ari Graynor, you may be the perfect woman.
STAGE 5 & 6: Coma and Death round out the list but those films are just plain depressing (Leaving Las Vegas, Lost Weekend, Ironweed). Let's not go there, okay?
Dishonorable Mentions Space demands that we keep this list of giggle-juiced joints short but that shouldn't stop you from seeking out the drunken misconduct in films like Steve Buscemi's Trees Lounge (best double featured with Barfly), Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (featured in last year’s Drink issue), The Big Lebowski, Sideways, Crazy Heart, and Days Of Wine And Roses. But keep in mind — there is no best movie to watch when you're drunk. But: no self-respecting drinker wants to achieve sobriety in the company of Chris Farley or Adam Sandler.