MOST IMPORTANT CINEMA QUESTION EVER: CAN YOU WATCH MOVIES WHEN YOU’RE DRUNK?

October 18, 2011

BECAUSE HULK SURE AS HELL CAN’T.

HULK TOOK THE QUESTION TO TWITTER AND TONS OF PEOPLE RESPONDED. BASICALLY THE VAST MAJORITY OF ANSWERS WERE SHAPED AROUND THE IDEA THAT DRINKING SOMEHOW MAKES BAD MOVIES MORE FUN. TO WIT (FORGIVE THE SPACING ISSUES BUT TWITTER FORMATTING IS EGREGIOUS):

toddbert Todd Elliott

Shitty horror films, maybe. I had a good time watching Jason X while sozzled as fuck; it did not do so well sober.

danielwcarlsonDaniel Carlson

“Watch,” no; “experience,” yes. Usually something bad, viewed in MST3K-like group. Like “The Story of Ricky.”
Invalido9Stefán Hilmarsson
It all depends on the movie i guess. I saw Dead Snow drunk with friends and it was a hit.
TapaidhNaomhBrian J. Roan
G.I. JOE drunk was one of the best nights of my life. Also I blacked out during SHREK 3, so I take that as a win.
mcastimoviesMonica C
as a critic, it’s sometimes the only way I can look forward to a movie like REAL STEEL. But I don’t get smashed, just buzzed.
DeusExCinemaDavid Neary
I first discovered Princess Mononoke while drunk; loved it then and now. Big Lebowski is wonderful after a few white Russians!

YOU GET THE IDEA, BUT THERE WERE TONS AND TONS MORE… ONLY A FEW LOOKED LIKE THIS

aprilswartzApril Swartz
I’m enough of a daydreamer as it is, so I must watch sober – all hands on deck.
TheJeffReportJeff Herr
completely agree, if theater serves alc people always ask me why I don’t order, it’s cause I enjoy movies more sober
litrockMatthew Marko
I don’t even like being drunk that much, but when I am movies are the last thing I am capable of focusing on.

AND THEN ONE LOOKED LIKE THIS…

natelechnerNate Lechner
I usually end up falling asleep.

LOOK, HULK LIKES GETTING DRUNK AND ALL, IN FACT HULK REALLY LIKES IT. HULK PROBABLY ONE OF THE MORE GENIAL DRUNKS YOU WILL EVER SEE. HULK MORPHS INTO A BIG BALL OF GAMMA-IRRADIATED AFFECTION AND SLURRED-COMPLEMENTS.

BUT THE PROBLEM IS THAT HULK CANNOT WATCH MOVIES DRUNK. GOOD MOVIE, BAD MOVIE. DOESN’T MATTER. HULK CAN’T GET A SENSE OF THE TONE OR FOCUS OR DO ANY OF THE THINGS ONE NEEDS TO DO IN ORDER TO DECIDE IF A MOVIE IS GOOD OR BAD. ALL MOVIES REQUIRE A LEVEL OF CONCENTRATION.

AND IF GETTING DRUNK IS JUST GOING TO MAKE YOU ENJOY SOMETHING YOU WOULDN’T LIKE OTHERWISE… WELL THEN HULK NOT SURE WHY WE WOULD DO THAT… HULK GET THE IDEA OF NOT WANTING TO WASTE ONE’S MONEY ON A BAD EXPERIENCE, BUT AT THE SAME TIME WHAT THE FUCK WOULD IT SAY ABOUT HOW WE REGARD CINEMA? ARE WE JUST LOOKING FOR IMAGES TO GO BY AS WE’RE A BLUR? DO WE REALLY NOT WANT TO SEE A MOVIE FOR WHAT IT ACTUALLY IS?

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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14 Responses to “MOST IMPORTANT CINEMA QUESTION EVER: CAN YOU WATCH MOVIES WHEN YOU’RE DRUNK?”

  1. VyceVictus said

    I go to a fair amount of death metal shows. The tone and focus you are describing seems very similar to what I’ve experienced. Generally speaking, the appeal of metal “brutality” lies in the complexity, power, and intricacy of the artists ability to overwhelm you with a certain feeling (the similarities between the compositional and evocative properties of metal and symphony/classical music is well established.)

    I’ve experienced these shows sober and hammered, and I believe you can fully understand the depths of tones in both states. Ultimately, how well the artists convey that emotion will always come through. Just in the same way you can enjoy your favorite comedies or dramas under the influence, the connection will always resonate with you.

    To further the comparison, a comedy can have nuance and slyness or be an in your face gut buster. A drama can get you caught up in sappy melodrama or be taught with sharp suspense and writing.The various genres of metal (hardcore, black etc) offer these different kinds of flavors, but the effectiveness in execution always come through; drinking will never inhibit the connection (if it does, you’ve simply been drinking to heavily, and that can ruin any activity)

    Just the same, a shit band with weak skills or talent will always clearly be a shit band live, but I can at least get smashed and have fun with other concertgoers, just like you would a bad movie with other watchers.

  2. I do see your point. I feel similarly about writing, and I never ever write when I’m under any sort of influence, period. But I guess I don’t feel the same way about watching movies, or at least not about every single movie I watch. You seem to be setting up a dichotomy of stone-cold sober vs. “we’re a blur,” but I think there’s more of a nuanced spectrum. At one end are the films where drinking can actually enhance your enjoyment in a way that is not contrary to the artistic aims of the film (Bridesmaids); and then there are films where one beer won’t hurt, but you wouldn’t want to get too buzzed (Contagion, Moneyball); and then there are films that demand, and reward, your all, which you can only give when sober: Pan’s Labyrinth, Lord of the Rings, Children of Men, etc. And I’m sorry, but I just don’t think Bridesmaids deserves or requires my all.

    Besides which, I don’t know about you, Hulk, but I don’t go from sober to “blur” in two sips. (I would have thought a guy your size could handle his liquor! Maybe the gamma radiation has done a number on your liver …) I go from sober to slightly not-sober, and I go from slightly not-sober to slightly buzzed, and I go from slightly buzzed to buzzed, and then if I slow down then I go back toward sober again … it’s a spectrum. Different movies are appropriate for different points of the spectrum, because the movies are on a spectrum too.

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      UMMM. HULK MAY HAVE MISLED. IT TAKES A BUNCH FOR HULK TO GET ACTUAL DRUNK. BUT EVEN A MILD BUZZ TAKES AWAY HULK’S ABILITY TO PROCESS A MOVIE AS MUCH AS HULK WANTS TO. THAT THE PROBLEM.

      BUT AGAIN, PERHAPS THE DIFFERENCE THAT HULK NOT WATCHING A MOVIE SOLELY AS AN EXPERIENCE. HULK WATCHES MOVIES AS A DUAL PROCESS: AS EMOTIONALLY INVESTED, AND FROM AN ANALYTICAL TAKE. IN ANY GIVEN SHOT HULK “IN IT” BUT ALSO TAKING INTO ACCOUNT: LIGHTING, PERFORMANCE, EDITING, ETC AND ALL OF THESE THINGS MATTER IN TERMS OF DECIPHERING WHY SOMETHING WORK / NOT WORK. WHY HULK DO THIS? IT NOT JUST THE CRITIC THING BUT WANTING TO BE BETTER FILMMAKER/WRITER. AND IT IS CONSTANT. AND HULK CAN NO DO IT IF DRUNK.

      EVEN WITH BRIDESMAIDS FOR EXAMPLE, HULK NOT JUST WANT TO ENJOY IT BUT LEARN FROM IT. AND THERE A LOT HULK TOOK IN TERMS OF CONSTRUCTION. LIKE THE FACT THAT MOVIE’S CINEMATICS ARE ACTUALLY ACTUALLY AWFUL. SERIOUSLY THE MOVIE HAS ABSOLUTELY NO RHYTHM OR PACING. PLENTY OF SCENES SHOULD END BUT THEY JUST GO ON. BUT THE REASON IT WORKS IS THAT EMOTIONAL CONNECTIVE TISSUE IS SO STRONG THAT IT ALLOWS YOU TO GO FROM SCENE DESPITE A COMPLETE LACK OF PROPULSION, BOTH STYLISTICALLY AND NARRATIVE-LY. AND IF YOU WATCH CLOSELY YOU CAN SEE EXACTLY HOW THEY PULL OFF WHAT AMOUNTS TO A TERRIBLY EDITED MOVIE. THERE SO MUCH TO LEARN.

      AND HULK CAN’T DO IT ALL WHEN HULK BUZZED.

  3. Quoc Lieu said

    I watched Black Swan for the first time drunk and it was an amazing and trippy movie. Then I had to watch it again sober on Blu-Ray just to be sure my thoughts on it were right. It was, but the movie was made extra memorable because I was buzz upon first viewing.

    BTW. Does Hulk have a Google Plus account? I would love to follow you there and have discussions.

  4. I should mention up front that I’ve never been drunk before (or experienced any levels of intoxication), but I need to have a completely clear head when watching a movie. Even being slightly tired can ruin my ability to enjoy something.

  5. I watched Judge Dredd while high once. It was a strange experience. The movie seemed about five minutes long, and at points in the story (particular those with visual effects) I felt drawn into the film world itself; felt part of the movie. I still didn’t laugh at Rob Schneider though.

    Apocalypse Now is a good movie to watch while drunk.

  6. I totally agree and I have seen a lot of movies in both states. The problem for me is the lack of focus – sure there are films that you don’t need to particularly focus on (I just watched Mallrats for the first time last night, I could have used a few more beers), but overall, if it’s worth watching, it’s worth watching sober. Or at least have your first drink w/the opening credits.

    The second problem I have is recollection. Even when I’m not super shitty, a film becomes instantly cloudy in my memory. It’s possible that the reason movies resonate so deeply with us when we’re kids is that we’re as consistently sober as most of us will ever be – and I probably like a drink easily as much as HULK.

    Speaking of Mallrats it occurred to me that one of the defining characteristics of 90s indie cinema was what I will call – “motormouth cinema.” Guys like Smith, Tarantino, Linklater (Joss Whedon to some extent) et. al. But after spending time inside HULK brain (metaphorically, to be sure) I realize now that what Smith misses, and what absolutely makes Tarantino work, is the story. Shit in Smith films just happens while characters talk. Shit in Tarantino films happen for a reason, and even though people still talk a hell of a lot the talk serves a purpose. I had this revelation mostly sober.

    I also have a question about the end of 127 Hours – but I’ll drop that in the comments section of HULK post about the ending is the conceit. See you there.

  7. QED said

    Richard Burton and Oliver Reed would probably approve of the concept! I wonder how many performances are the result of intoxication of one form or another.

  8. Movie drinking games are fun (take a drink every time Top Gun is gay, chug whenever a red line is being drawn across the globe in Indiana Jones, etc) but if I’m at all interested in actually evaluating the movie then I gotta be sober.

  9. Watched R. Kelly’s Trapped In The Closet drunk at a party with a bunch of other inebriated folks. Twas an amazing cinematic experience. In fact, I would go so far as to say that should be the only way that film is viewed.

  10. Video said

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  11. Real Steel is a great movie! I watched it online on watchrealsteelonline.co.cc and loved it! If you like boxing, its for u!

  12. Some movies are vastly improved by viewing while not sober. Avatar, for instance, gets about 10000% better with hallucinogens. (One thing that I want to do somehow is see Cave of Forgotten Dreams in a theater under such circumstances, but there are issues pertaining to driving home afterwards.)

    Most movies that are improved by alcohol tend to do so with a multiplier effect of community. I had a better time seeing Snakes on a Plane with a bunch of drunk friends than the movie could have possibly deserved, and I have no intention of ever watching it sober.

  13. [...] MOST IMPORTANT CINEMA QUESTION EVER: CAN YOU WATCH MOVIES WHILE DRUNK? [...]

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