Living in Beer Town, USA has its ups and downs. The culture of people who genuinely care about craft brew and the artisanal nature of beer is a fun and inclusive group, but the drunken shenanigans in downtown Bend on a Saturday night can be a little exhausting. I've hosed down enough vomit in Tin Pan Alley to last me a lifetime.
It's hard to know whether art imitates life when it comes to beer (and drunks!) in movies, or whether the reverse is true, but in any case, we're taking a quick look at some good-hearted cinematic drunks, in homage to this year's Beer Issue.
- Photo caption: Young Einstein, the McKenzies and Broken Lizard will teach you how to drink.
The comedy group Broken Lizard (responsible for "Super Troopers" and "Club Dread") tells the story of a group of Americans who inherit the recipe for "the greatest beer in all ze world" from their dead German grandfather. They put together an American team to head to Germany and compete in the Olympics of drinking: Beerfest.
They brew their mysterious recipe (known as Schnitzengiggle Beer) and it's so good that it literally makes them cry. I've been there.
The drunks in Beerfest are mostly good-natured and either pass out or get ridiculous when they hit the blackout marker. Someone does get murdered for a beer recipe, so the brewing is taken much more seriously than the drinking, which seems like a valid way to live.
Strange Brew (1983)
When you think of a Canadian masterpiece loosely based on Hamlet, "Strange Brew" should be the first and only movie that pops into your head. The film follows slow-witted and broke brothers Bob and Doug McKenzie as they get in way over their head at the Elsinore brewery. All they wanted was to blackmail a local beer store into giving them some free brews, eh.
The evil Brewmeister Smith is putting a mind-control drug in Elsinore beer so he can take over the world and only the McKenzies can halt his evil plans.
The McKenzies are those brain-damaged drunks you see piecing together their weekends on Monday morning. They mean well, but the beer comes first. It's the spinach to their drunken Canadian Popeyes. If Bob and Doug McKenzie are superheroes, then sobriety is their kryptonite.
Young Einstein (1988)
Remember when Yahoo Serious was a thing? Me, neither. But I do remember "Young Einstein," a comedy so ridiculous that it was my favorite thing ever when I saw it at eight years old. Serious plays the young genius, a youngster obsessed with physics.
When he finds the family shed full of brewing instruments, he learns his family is desperately trying to change the world by adding bubbles to beer.
Einstein drinks his face off throughout the day and comes up with the theory of Mass-energy equivalence (E=MC2) as a way to split beer atoms and create bubbles. After splitting the beer atom with a hammer and chisel (yeah, I know), the bubbles appear and he rejoices. By the end of the movie he also invents surfing and rock music, so take this one in stride.