As students, we go out and we feel invincible. We drink under the misconception that somewhere between our first few pre-lash pints and the taxi, we’ve become more attractive, funnier and generally more awesome versions of ourselves. In fact, we’re just falling over a lot and talking about uninteresting things, exhibiting about as much sex appeal as Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction during the overdose scene. When we were fifteen we liked to drink vodka and pretend we were in Skins, but surely we owe it to ourselves now to have better drunken role models. The question is not, ‘Who inspires me to not drink?’ but ‘Who inspires me to be the best drunk I can be?’ Film has produced some of the most memorable drunkards of all time, and we’ve divided them into four categories – see if you can identify which best fits your drunken personality.
1. The Rascal
Where better to start on a film lover’s guide to drunkenness than with a children’s film? Pirates of the Caribbean 4 stumbled wildly into our cinemas this year, manned by the unforgettable Captain Jack Sparrow. Without his rum, Jack would as boring as… well, Orlando Bloom. Fortunately, Johnny Depp twitches and slurs his way through the franchise’s many zombie pirate attacks, giving Disney it’s most inebriated character since someone knocked champagne into Dumbo’s bucket.
Notable characteristics of ‘The Rascal’: dancing like you’re possessed by John Travolta, marauding from group to group and sporadically, without warning, becoming the nearest person’s best friend. See also Arthur, Withnail and I.
2. The Party Animal
We all know that excessive drinking can lead to memory loss. Evidently, the writers of The Hangover: Part 2 got so merry they forgot to come up with a new plot line (if you haven’t seen the trailer yet, here it is: THE EXACT SAME EVENTS, but in Thailand.) This brings me onto our next drunken role model: ‘The Party Animal’, for whom the measure of a good night is how little of it you recall and how terrifying the resulting photos on Facebook are. The idea that you can go so far as to wake up with a tiger in the bathroom has been inspiring the nights out of teenage boys ever since. Just remember that in film, the pursuit of a wild time can result in waking up in a warehouse in Slovakia.
Notable characteristics of ‘The Party Animal’: displaying disappointment to the point of aggression when no one will come out with you; applying for an extension on your overdraft just to spend it on cocktails. See also Animal House.
3. The Bad-Ass
Here I present Jeff Bridges’ reincarnation of Rooster Cogburn in True Grit – a man for whom alcohol does what spinach does for Popeye. After falling asleep in the back rooms of random saloons and blaming his inability to shoot on cheap bullets, he emerges majestically riding a horse with the reins clenched between his teeth. It doesn’t matter if he is seeing double – he’ll fire enough bullets to hit both of you.
Notable characteristics of ‘The Bad-Ass’: starting fights with Trent students; waking up the following morning with innumerable bruises in strange places. See also Quint from Jaws, The Drunken Master.
4. The Professional
These guys know how to drink. Think Paul Giamatti’s wine-tasting connoisseur in Sideways, a man so dedicated to the stuff that in one memorable scene he actually presents Pinot Noir as an overriding metaphor for his tortured, misunderstood existence. Personally, I’ve never witnessed someone at the bar smelling their Jaeger bomb and detecting ‘just a soupcon of vanilla,’ but we can all learn from his ‘don’t drink-and-dial’ moment.
Notable characteristics of ‘The Professional’: Pre-lash begins at lunchtime; likely to make important life decisions whilst under the influence. See also the entire cast of Mad Men.
As Peter O’Toole said in My Favourite Year, “You can watch me drink, or you can join me. One of them is more fun.” Watch these films, then go forth and get wasted in style.