Do you have some time off this week? We do! And nothing says family fun entertainment more (in our house) than watching movies and television. Sure, we have a six-year-old, but when he is asleep, we turn off Frosty the Snowman and watch the most dysfunctional themed entertainment, we can find.
Classic Movie Titles
The Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
An alcoholic marries a young woman, who doesn’t drink. She might be predisposed to addictive behavior, because she uses chocolate as a drug. In any case, he introduces her to booze and they go on to share his “passion for alcohol” together.
My name is Bill W. (1989 TV movie)
Based on the life of Bill W. a stockbroker, whose life falls apart due to alcoholism. He finds a solution, and together with a man called Dr. Bob, they go on to create a fellowship called Alcoholics Anonymous.
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship with a prostitute Sera.
28 Days (2000)
A big-city newspaper columnist is forced to enter a drug and alcohol rehab center after ruining her sister’s wedding and crashing a stolen limousine.
An airline pilot saves almost all his passengers on his malfunctioning airliner which eventually crashed, but an investigation into the accident reveals something troubling.
Newer movies I have not seen yet
The Worlds End (2013) This is about a group of friends who embark on a pub crawl. At the same time, the world is being attacked by aliens. Not to fear, because they can save the world, by making it to to the last bar.
The Angels Share (2012) A Scottish father, attempts to turn over a new leaf, after many arrest. Oddly, he does this by entering the world of whiskey tasting and collecting, in order to make enough money to start over.
Drinking Buddies (2013) Luke and Kate are coworkers at a brewery who spend their nights drinking and flirting heavily. One weekend away together with their significant others proves who really belongs together and who doesn’t.
In Heaven There is no Beer (2012) This is a documentary chronicling the underground world of polka bands and its fans. The title comes from a German song that encourages drinking all the beer you can while you are living because “in heaven there is no beer.” The film won awards at the 1985 Sundance Film Festival.
Smashed (2012) A married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of alcohol gets their relationship put to the test when the wife decides to get sober.
My Favorite Dysfunctional Television Characters:
1. Tommy Gavin in Rescue Me. Wow, alcoholism is a major focus for this character. Tommy is either binge drinking or trying to get sober. In one episode, he is sober for a year, but decides to start drinking again. In a classic move, he talks the entire AA meeting into giving up their sobriety – they all drink too. Unfortunately, this results in one death (from drunken driving).
2. Don Draper in Mad Men. I was in denial about his drinking problem for a long time. He was so high-functioning. But like so many of us, his drinking caught up with him. He turned into a pathetic shell of a man who shows up late, passes out at meetings, sleeps with anyone and makes some stupid decisions. He drinks marathon style – from the time he wakes up right up until he jumps into bed.
3. Frank Gallagher in Shameless. He is a boozed up father with a messed up family. By far the worst drunk ever. At one point his liver fails and he can’t keep liquor down. So, he has his young son funnel alcohol into his anus. It’s hard to believe, but that is not even the worst example of his drinking problems. Most of the people around him are glaringly flawed and developmentally challenged. Everyone’s behavior catches up to them, except for Frank. He seems to get away with everything.
4. Frank Moody in Californication. This guy is a drunk loser, yet he still manages to make “using” look fun and cool. He sleeps with every hot women in town, even though he wants to get back together with his ex. He does every drug, you have done, plus ones you have never heard of. And, he ends up at every cool party, you wished you were invited to. He is lovable, funny and pathetic.
5.The cast in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. This is an under appreciated little gem of a show. The characters are always drinking and coming up with the stupidest drunk ideas you can imagine. “The Gang” has no sense of shame when attempting to get what they want. They often engages in activities which others would find humiliating, disgusting, or even preposterous, such as smoking crack cocaine in order to qualify for welfare, seducing a priest, or hiding naked inside a leather couch in order to spy on someone. In one of my favorite episodes, they find a baby left in a basket. They decide they will try to make money by auditioning the child for baby commercials. The producer says they are looking for Hispanic babies, so they go to a tanning salon and try to talk the owner into letting the baby tan there. Sick, yet still funny.
6. Calamity Jane in Deadwood. This show was great. In was in an era when everyone drank and lawlessness was a way of life. Calamity Jane had a “wooden leg”. She could drink the men under the table. What is interesting is that Calamity Jane is based on real-life. In the end, it was alcohol that basically killed her.
New Show Mention
There is a new series called “Mom”. Don’t let the name fool you. It’s a really funny show, with an all star cast. Actually, I just found out the show started last year, and this is the second season. I have some catching up to do.Centers on Christy, a newly sober single mom who tries to pull her life together in Napa Valley.
If you just can’t get enough .. here is a compiled list of 116 alcoholism related films (on the left). I think it would be fun to print it out and try to check them off as you watch them. You have probably seen many of them, already. What have I missed?