Stealing shamelessly from a Guns & Ammo filler piece that I skimmed at the doctor’s office (no, he wasn’t a trauma surgeon), I thought that it would be cool to do a feature on the five greatest beer movies of all time. The problem is that I couldn’t decide whether to order them chronologically, in order of quality or in order of beer-relatedness. Worse, all that I could think of were Animal House and Strange Brew.
Animal House shouldn’t need much of an introduction. Any college movie pitting a bunch of sloppy renegades against a crotchety dean out to bring them down is trying to recapture Animal House’s insane magic. Usually you want to pull the lead aside and tell him that he’s not John Belushi and no, drugs won’t help. Enjoy it with a six-pack of Budweiser Budvar, brewed in the same Czech town from which the similar American brew gets its name (contrary to popular myth the American brew began production 19 years earlier). The light-drinking Czech pilsner, similar to American Budweiser like wedding silver resembles a spork, will give you a vague connection with the film without actually tasting like watered-down cat piss. Look for it in the States as Czechvar.
Strange Brew is awesome in ways that nothing whose synopsis containst the words ‘Rick Moranis vehicle’ has any right to be. People who have a problem with cultural strereotypes mightl skip this and rent that weeper where Meryl Streep teaches violin to Harlem because this movie will blow gaskets (Ok, cultural stereotypes are immoral and wrong. Except when they’re funny and then they’re mostly ok. When are they funny? I have no idea what the rules are for that sort of thing but Canada is cool, eh). Moranis and Dave Thomas stretch an endless series of Canada jokes over a demented plot that riffs on Star Wars, B movie tropes and Shakespeare. I never counted but it feels like beer comes up every thirty seconds.
Enjoy it with a 22 oz Maudite from Unibroue in Quebec because cultural stereotypes are wrong, eh. Canada makes hooch that shames grocery-store staples like Molson and Labatt’s along with practically everything else on the North American continent.
Beer has a history as the drink of the common man. When filmmakers want us to think of a character as “one of us,” that character often drinks beer. And if one of the film’s central themes is class conflict, you can be sure there’s a snooty wine drinker on the horizon, and worlds are about to collide.
Consider “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938), wherein the evil Prince John (Claude Rains) drinks wine from golden goblets in a Norman castle and plots murder. Meanwhile, his good-hearted brother, King Richard the Lion Hearted (Ian Hunter), drinks English ale from a pewter mug in a Saxon inn.
Cocktail probably counts but I don’t remember it that well and Tom Cruise vehicles aren’t my thing. Share your own fave beer movies and movie beers in the comments.