Saturday, September 1, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Alcohol-Themed Films

For this weekend's edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we decided to let "Lawless" guide us to our latest theme, and similarly base our lists around some of the best alcohol-related films around. "Lawless" opens this weekend, and takes place during the depression era, where one family's bootlegging business is getting the whole town in a fit. Alcohol has been a notable issue in our country for a long time now, especially back when this latest film takes place, during Prohibition. Since then, various filmmakers throughout nearly every decade have documented tales revolving around the substance.


For this list, we tried to keep our selections more focused on general alcohol themes, where the main concept for the film revolved around the drink; but there are only so many films that have a theme of alcohol, so on many of these lists we delve into films where alcoholics or alcoholism might otherwise be a prominent feature. But one way or another, all of the films listed below are affected by alcohol, and drive the movie in some way.

Also, on a side note, now that this Alcohol list is completed, you can now pair it nicely with our Drug-Oriented List for a great substance abuse combo pack. It makes a great gift for the holidays!

Hit the jump for all of this week's selections!

Alex Schopp -

     1. Sideways (2004)
This felt like my favorite film of this bunch that centered the most around alcohol. Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church are both fantastic in this film. For a film about wine and sophistication, you don't expect these people to be as horrible as they are.
     2. The Big Lebowski (1998)
Has any other movie made another drink quite as popular as this film did the White Russian?
     3. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
We get to see one of Nicolas Cage's better performances, but otherwise, this film is just too bleak for me to enjoy it anymore than this. Cage really is good in this though, so it has to be mentioned.
     4.Strange Brew (1983)
This is generally a little too silly for my tastes, but I do enjoy a good Rick Moranis comedy every now and then. And the overly-Canadian themes of the film are quite entertaining too. If you haven't seen this one, it's worth a good late-night chuckle.
     5. True Grit (2010)
I just have this movie on my mind lately (I've probably watched it five times in the last month). Bridges' character is an alcoholic though, and they make good mention of it. It's not the focus of the film, but one of its main elements. And that's good enough for me.

Ben Foutch -

     1. Barfly (1987)
"This is a world where everybody's gotta do something. Y'know, somebody laid down this rule that everybody's gotta do something, they gotta be something."
     2. The Shining (1980)
"Here's to five miserable months on the wagon, and all the irreparable harm it has caused me."
     3. Sideways (2004)
"...its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet."
     4. Beerfest (2006)
"And here's something else you forgot to factor in - we're not that drunk."
     5. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
"I don't know if my wife left me because of my drinking or I started drinking 'cause my wife left me. "

Derek Clem -
This list starts out alcohol related (fitting in with the theme), but then after running out of movies that really interested me, I turned it into a list featuring movies with an alcoholic character (fitting a little more loosely with the theme).

     1. Smokey And The Bandit (1977)
Just watch ol' Bandit run!
     2. Sideways (2004)
These guys are terrible. It's like watching a sophisticated train wreck.
     3. Beerfest (2006)
The replacement of Landfill's character is one of the funniest things I've ever seen in a movie.
     4. Young Adult (2011)
Oddly enough, this is when I finally decided Charlize Theron was hot.
     5. The Lost Weekend (1945)
The Bat scene is accidentally hilarious.

Nathan Hinds -
No entry this week.

Andy Schopp -
No entry this week.

So that's what we're looking at. Unfortunately we're short two of the regular five lists, but nonetheless, of the three presented there's still a strong variety of featured films - still double-digit titles, so plenty to choose from. The first title worth mentioning appears to be "Sideways". The film hit on all three lists, and even grabbed one #1 vote. This dark and witty character dramedy definitely seems to be a staple of the alcohol-themed films out there, and one everyone should try to give a watch at least once.

Otherwise, only two other films had multiple selections this weekend: "Beerfest" and "Leaving Las Vegas". "Beerfest" fits the true description of the theme this week, while once we meander into the Alcoholics section, "Leaving Las Vegas" seems to be the title to start with there. Both quality films though, and great films to take in when appreciating this category.

All solo selections outside of those three titles this week though, so as always, we hope that each of these selections helps you to expand your knowledge and appreciation of some of the best films that this category has to offer, and guides you to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!