With the temperatures dipping into the single digits, it’s the perfect time of year to spend your evenings curled up on the couch with a giant bowl of popcorn and a cold beer, while watching a movie or two.
But just what film should you choose? Well, here at Wanderlush, the best movies are those in which alcohol is the star. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of 13 drinking movies. With all of these choices—it’s like a liquor store for movie buffs—all you need to do is pick your poison and sit back and enjoy.
THE WORLD’S END (2013)
Forty-year-old Gary King (Simon Pegg) has one regret: not finishing an epic pub crawl 20 years ago. So he heads back to his hometown of Newton Haven, Herefordshire, England, and convinces his old buddies (including Nick Frost and Paddy Considine) to try one more time to reach that final pub—The World’s End. But not everything is as it seems in Jolly Old England, and soon the pals find themselves in a battle to save humankind.
DRINKING BUDDIES (2013)
Chicago brewery workers Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are perfect for each other. There’s only one problem: they’re both seeing someone else. Kate is with Chris (Ron Livingston), and Luke is with Jill (Anna Kendrick). During a trip group trip to Chris’s family cottage, though, things happen, leaving a messy aftermath to clean up upon return to the brewery. Will Luke and Jill’s relationship last? And will things ever be the same between Kate and Luke?
THE HANGOVER (2009)
Probably the best drinking movie that doesn’t involve any on-screen drinking. Four friends (Bradley Cooper as Phil, Ed Helms as Stu, Justin Bartha as Doug, and Zack Galifianakis as Alan) head to Las Vegas to celebrate Doug’s upcoming nuptuals. After a night of drinking, however, Phil, Stu, and Alan wake up with no memory of the night before and no Doug to be found (not to mention a baby in the room and a tiger in the bathroom). So the Wolf Pack sets out to not only find their missing friend but to try to piece together the events of the night before.
This movie did more to promote California wine country than any PR campaign could have. Two middle-aged men, English teacher Miles (Paul Giamatti) and actor Jack (Thomas Haden Church), embark on a road trip through wine country to celebrate Jack’s upcoming wedding. Along they way, they meet Maya (Virginia Madsen) and her friend Stephanie (Sandra Oh). The superb acting is matched by the luscious scenes of verdant vineyards and talk of fine wines.
THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998)
Okay, so it’s not really about drinking, but The Dude (Jeff Bridges) definitely put White Russians on the map. All he wants is a drink, but after being mistaken for a millionaire with the same last name by two thugs who proceed to urinate on his rug, he and his bowling partners Walter and Donny (John Goodman and Steve Buscemi, respectively) set out to meet the Big Lebowski and get compensation for the rug. But nothing is that simple, and soon everyone wants a piece of The Dude.
BOTTLE SHOCK (2008)
Based on a true story of the early days of California wine making. Alan Rickman portrays Steven Spurrier, a sommelier in Paris who heads to Napa Valley in 1976 to find the best California wines to take back to Paris for a blind taste test against French wines. He meets Jim Barret (Bill Pullman), owner of Chateau Montelena, and his son Bo (Chris Pine) and must convince them to include their chardonnay in what is now referred to as the “Judgment of Paris,” an event that changed the way the world views California wines.
THE ADVENTURES OF BOB & DOUG McKENZIE: STRANGE BREW (1983)
Ever wonder where Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis got their start? It was on SCTV, portraying two beer-loving Canadian “hosers.” In this flick, Bob and Doug get jobs at Elsinore brewery, where they take the opportunity to drink lots of free beer. But an evil brewmaster, played by Max von Sydow, has something else in mind for his malty beverage: he plans to take over the world by placing a mind-control drug in the beer. It’s up to the two dim-witted brothers to save the day (and the beer). Beauty, eh?
THE ANGEL’S SHARE (2012)
New dad Robbie (Paul Brannigan) turns to booze after narrowly escaping a prison sentence. But it’s not what you think. During a visit to a distillery, Robbie learns about a cask of priceless whisky that’s about to go on auction. Desperate to get his family out of Glasgow and away from his criminal past, Robbie plans to steal some of the whisky and sell it. Does he succeed?
LEAVING LAS VEGAS (1995)
There’s no happy drinking in this film about alcoholic screenwriter Ben Sanderson (Nicolas Cage), who arrives in Las Vegas with the plan to drink himself to death. While there, he meets and forms an odd yet doomed friendship with prostitute Sera (Elisabeth Shue), who’s battling her own demons. Although Sera agrees not to stop Ben from drinking, as time progresses, she becomes frustrated with his behavior and attempts to save him.
BLOOD INTO WINE (2010)
Good wine was never so bad. This documentary follows multiplatinum recording artist Maynard James Keenan, vocalist for the progressive metal band Tool, as he and his business partner Eric Glomski try their hand at winemaking in the desert of Arizona’s Verde Valley. The result is Stronghold Vineyards, and the movie also tells the tale of its decade-long success.
THE LOST WEEKEND (1945)
This Academy Award winner for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay is based on the 1944 novel of the same name. It tells the story of longtime alcoholic writer Don Birnam (Ray Milland) as he embarks on a four-day bender. Flashbacks show how Birnam has failed again and again due to his drinking. Will the love of his girlfriend Helen (Jane Wyman) save him?
This semi-autobiography is the story of poet/author Charles Bukowski (written by Bukowski himself). Poet Henry Chinasky (Mickey Rourke) spends his days and nights drinking, with some time in between to jot down a few lines of poetry or a short story. After being thrown out of his regular watering hole, he heads to a new bar when he meets barfly Wanda (Faye Dunaway). What follows is a tumultuous and volatile relationship.
Another Bukowski tale, based on the author’s book of the same name. Once again, the story centers around Bukowski’s fictional alter-ago Hank Chinaski (played this time by Matt Dillon) as he works at, and gets fired from, various jobs and meets up with assorted eccentric, and frequently alcoholic, characters (including Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei). In the end, Chinaski learns that he is most comfortable alone, with just his writing and his alcohol to keep him company.
Did I forget your favorite drinking movie? Drop me a comment and let me know what ones you recommend.