Award-worthy films starring beer

Posted on March 5, 2010 by Mary Ellen Brewington

The Oscars are around the corner, and everyone’s picking their favorite blockbusters and underdogs to take home a golden statue or two.

One film that isn’t showing up on the nominations lists but that stole the show for many moviegoers this year is “The Hangover.” In this fast-paced irreverent comedy, a group of groomsmen travel to Vegas for a bachelor party and wake up the next morning to find that any memory of the booze-filled prior night is missing – along with the groom. In their search for their best friend – and answers as to what the heck happened last night – audiences nationwide laughed till they cried at the group’s outlandish adventures.

The film’s success rests squarely on the dynamic trio of buddies, whom each of us watching can easily identify with. It’s like watching friends – a seriously disturbed group of friends, perhaps – but friends nonetheless. We can relate with their squabbling, their antics, their camaraderie and their heartfelt concern. And, we can relate with the fourth member of the group as represented by its lingering effects and apparent cause of their woe: a night of drinking.

There are many movies planted firmly in America’s hearts and history in which alcohol plays a role. Alcohol – a stiff drink, a brew among friends, a dive bar where it all goes down – often has as much of leading role as any actor or actress with which it shares the screen.

Even before Ol’ Blue Eyes and the Rat Pack crooned “Mr. Booze” in “Robin and the 7 Hoods” (1964), to when we first met John Belushi’s memorable beer-swilling, troublemaking character in “National Lampoon’s Animal House” (1978), to “The Hangover,” many movie casts have been completed and many plots advanced by the silent star alcohol. Whether the drinks provided dramatic conflict or hilarious slapstick and whether they inspired a villain, a deviant or a lovable merrymaker, cinema is soaked in suds – beer suds.

What’s your favorite film in which the glass is always half full… well, at least until someone gets their hands on it?