Wednesday, 14 July 2010

“Pour Me A Drink, Sugar”

Drunkards – we hate them in real life, but we love them on the screen. One of the many riddles that I cannot answer for you. It’s strange, whether the drunk is a bit of comedic relief, an affable protagonist or a dastardly villain it’s always nice seeing an actor ham it up for our entertainment on the big screen. Making this list was actually difficult, there were a number of notable drunks to sift through (I considered dividing it between males and females) – but in the end, I believe these five are the most notable.
#5 Johnny Cash (played by Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line)
This isn’t a biopic on overcoming drunkenness, but Joaquin does an excellent job of delving into that territory. I love that morning after where he and all the boys are drunk and Reese’s June turn up. He’s an incorrigible drunk, but he’s also an affable drunk – except when he’s fainting on stage and all. But, I suppose we must take the good with the bad.
#4 Blanche DuBois (played by Vivien Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire)
If Blanche depended on the kindness of any stranger, his name was Jack Daniels. Like many drunks she often tried to hide it, but after her horrid birthday party all bets are off. It’s not so much funny as it is frighteningly unnerving.
#3 Terry Ann Wolfeyer…along with Denny (played by Joan Allen and Kevin Costner in The Upside of Anger)
Oh how I love Joan Allen, how I loathe Kevin Costner (but not here). Terry is an ultimate drunk, she drinks alone – which is a bit unnerving, until she gets Denny as a drinking buddy. But she can drink him under the table, anywhere. It could be at dinner, at her daughter’s graduation, just after her husband has “deserted” her – she’ll keep drinking with that same pensive look on her face. That’s what we call dedication.
#2 Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
Sometimes I forget he’s a drunk and just presume he’s crazy. Perhaps, it’s a bit of both. He’s exaggerated, he’s histrionic and he’s a lot of fun to watch. For shame, Disney, what kind of licentiousness are you promoting? I love it.
#1 George and Martha (played by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf)
Who didn’t see this coming? It seems I may have to disqualify them; they’re topping too many lists (here, here). I can’t be the only one afraid to pick up a liquor glass after this watching these two having “fun and games”. Just look at the consequences of a nightcap. (Shudders)
Honourable Mention to Karen Walker, she’d suck the alcohol from a deodorant stick – if that’s not drunken dedication, I don’t know what is.
Which of these drunks would you be afraid to take on in a drinking match?


Dan said...

I'd probably go with two drunk Santa's - Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places and Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa. But, Steve Buscemi's Tommy would be top of my list from the film Trees Lounge.

MovieNut14 said...

Ray Milland's Don Birnam (The Lost Weekend) and Jack Lemmon's Joe Clay (Days of Wine and Roses). Those are two I don't want to get in a drinking game with.

Nicholas Prigge said...

You're list is pretty much spot on but I nominate Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." She WON a drinking contest.

rtm said...

LOVE Joaquin as Johnny Cash... completely agree with you though, I wouldn't want to live with people like these in real life. Meg Ryan played a self-destructive drunk quite well in When a Man Loves a Woman.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

You can't disqualify perfection!

Dan mentioning Buscemi in "Trees Lounge" just reminds me of another great drunk Buscemi role: The Best Man in "The Wedding Singer". Hilariously inappropriate toasts always win me over. And if we may turn the convo over to TV: Baranski on "Cybill" and the ladies of "AbFab"?

Twister said...

It's only fair that George and Martha get the top spots! It's to Taylor, Burton, and Dennis' credit that they don't simply rely on the character's drunkness to enhance their performance -- but find something more devestating beneath them.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

dan i used to hate trading places as a child, except for jamie lee.

movienut i considered the lost weekend but for some reason jack lemmon just slipped my mind.

rtm i never saw that movie, perhaps i should: meg ryan rarely impresses me.

nicholas duly noted.

walter never saw "cybil" but baranski as a drunk sounds excellent.

twister yeah, they really are just great like that