Monday, November 01, 2010

Movie Monday -- Boozing

Share movies that feature characters that not only imbibe, but get wasted. Please link back here to The Bumbles.

Arthur. When this movie came out in 1981, I was completely charmed. Dudley Moore played the world's most adorable drunk, a millionaire who never had to deal with the downside to his behavior (except, as his loyal and riotously funny butler liked to point out, his breath). Watch it now and it's more than a little shocking. His alcoholism is nothing more than an endearing character flaw, and his drunk driving is played for laughs. Today it's still funny, but it's also a powerful reminder of how much our attitude toward drinking has changed since the 1980s.

The Verdict. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Paul Newman is the coolest guy ever. Hip, funny and filled with effortless charm. Which is why his performance in The Verdict is so jarring and effective. His Frank Galvin is washed up, having drunk his career away, reduced to perpetually sweaty palms and ambulance chasing. There's still a majesty and romance to him when he remembers why he became a lawyer, and when he stumbles upon a medical malpractice case that touches something deep in him, he sees the courtroom as his venue for redemption.