TOP 7 Drinking (Beer/Wine/Alcohol) Movies

We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.

the-hangoverIn honor of The Hangover, we present the Top 7 Drinking (Beer/Wine/Alcohol) Movies.

As always, there is certain criteria to get on this list:
1. Alcohol must play a prominent role.
2. The movie makes you want to reach for a drink.

Based on this, we’ve got some cuts to make before we start. Leaving Las Vegas you’re out. The destructive, slow death of alcoholic Ben (Nic Cage) is a sad, well-done film. Plus, adding Elisabeth Shue as hooker is brilliant casting. But this movie is about pain, and while everyone should realize drinking has a dark side, let’s not talk about that here, OK?

Also, Cocktail we’re leaving you off as well. This Tom Cruise movie is supposed to be a drama. But after my 15th viewing, there’s just too much unintentional comedy. And it doesn’t follow rule #2, I don’t want a blue drink with a pineapple sticking out of it no matter how many times I sit through it. Not only that, the song “Kokomo” has aged about as well as Shue. Yes, she’s in this one as well.

And finally, Arthur … I don’t like you. Dudley Moore is revered for playing a spoiled alcoholic, but I never liked this movie and punching Moore always sounds better to me than tying one on with the man.

Now, on to the list.

7. Strange Brew (1983)
Recap: Bob and Doug McKenzie, played by Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis, are unemployed until they weasel their way into a job at Elsinore brewery. Meanwhile, Brewmeister Smith (Max Von Sydow) plans on taking over the world with a beer additive that allows him to control those who drink it. It’s up to the boys to save the world, and the beer.
Reason: It’s funny, but not fall-out-of-my-chair and laugh until I hurt funny. The boys get to work at a brewery, what’s better than that? Oh wait, I know, Bob drinking a whole vat of beer.

6. Sideways (2004)
Recap: Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti) is a struggling writer, divorced, and a wine snob, what’s not to love? He takes Jack (Thomas Hayden Church) on a week-long road trip through Santa Ynez Valley wine country. Miles wants to drink wine, Jack wants to have one last fling before marriage.
Reason: Sideways finds that balance between celebrating wine and making fun of the people who do. It’s a great buddy flick that proves Church can be more than Lowell from “Wings.” Most important, watching this movie without pouring a glass of wine for yourself is just impossible. Don’t do it. Even if you disagree with Miles’s Merlot opinion. Sidenote … the ladies in the film have taken an odd twist. Virginia Madsen is back to being forgotten. Sandra Oh can’t be separated from her character on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Sideways put them on the map, but they’ve gone off since then.

5. The Big Lebowski (1998)
Recap: “The Dude” Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), is mistaken for a millionaire also named Lebowski. After his rug is ruined, he just wants to get some cash for his rug and relax with a White Russian, while hanging out with his bowling buddies. Things get complicated.
Reason: When you go to a bowling alley and enter a name to bowl under, you’ve considered Jesus Quintana as a name, right? It’s the Coen brothers second funniest film after Raising Arizona. Heck, even my friend Schneck who doesn’t drink has discovered the White Russian. It’s as much of a character in this film as Brandt (Philip Seymour Hoffman). If a movie can inspire an underground nation to enjoy a vodka & cream drink, well then, it’s on the list.

4. Beerfest (2006)
Recap: Two brothers travel to Germany for Oktoberfest to spread their grandfather’s ashes. But then they stumble upon a secret, centuries-old competition described as a Fight Club with beer games. When they fail, they recruit some friends and go into full training mode.
Reason: Broken Lizard didn’t win me over with Super Troopers, but they sure did with Beerfest. There are so many great one-liners, all with beer at the apex of it all. Where Bob succeeded in Strange Brew, Landfill fails. But thankfully that just leads to one of the best twin/comebacks of all time when Gil’s brother shows up who taught Landfill everything he knew about drinking, and as a tribute to his brother, would also like to be called Landfill.

3. National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)
Recap: No frat house has ever partied harder than Delta Tau Chi at Faber College. The fun starts with Bluto (John Belushi) urinated outside, and another frat tries to kick Delta Tau Chi off campus. It doesn’t end until we get an update on the future of each character.
Reason: Even though big names like Chevy Chase could have been a part of this film, the cast seems perfect. The freshmen, Larry (Thomas Hulce) and Kent (Stephen Furst) actually look like freshmen, and every one else … OK, they look old, but when you’re having this much fun who cares? Do we ever have toga parties in college if it wasn’t for this film? The beer is flowing and this film feels like nostalgia for even me, even though I was two when it came out.

2. Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
Recap: Lewis Skolnick (Robert Carradine) and Gilbert Lowe (Anthony Edwards) head to college and are immediately picked on, mainly by the guys at Alpha Beta. But then the boys form Lambda Lambda Lambdas (Tri-Lambs), and bring along a group of outcasts including Booger (Curtis Armstrong).
Reason: “We are the Champions” fit for the film, but not more than the Japanese version of “A Bicycle Built for Two.” The Greek competition at the homecoming that includes Booger with the loudest belch (thanks to beer), and Toshiro on that tricycle (thanks to his anti-beer mad science) … it’s comic gold. Plus you throw in a young, slim John Goodman and Ted McGinley … well, it’s almost the perfect movie to watch at 2 a.m. with a beer in hand.

1. Old School (2003)
Recap: Three Men attempt to relive their college days by starting a fraternity on campus. They bring together a rag-tag (is there any other kind) group of misfits and the elderly to form a frat that the Dean wants out.
Reason: Frank the Tank, Frank the Tank, Frank the Tank … Did you just make the machine gun noises? I did. We don’t have Old School without Revenge of the Nerds and Animal House. And there is no better movie to watch as a tribute to the stupid lengths men will go to simply to have a beer with friends. Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell knock their side characters out of the ball park with Luke Wilson doing just enough to keep up. Todd Phillips keeps this movie just close enough to reality that most men actually think about a return trip to college while watching. Either that or how they have to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond this weekend. Ahhh screw it … We’re going streaking!

There’s the Top 7, now what should be in the Top 10?

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