Hollywood Can’t Get Drinking Right And It’s Painfully Obvious

By Robert Scucci | Updated

Hollywood needs to reassess how drinking is depicted in movies because it’s incredibly misleading. I’m willing to suspend some disbelief when unlimited rounds of ammunition barely miss an action hero who’s running at full speed before jumping out of an exploding building, but nobody talks about how the consumption of alcohol falls into the equation.

Everyone Should Be Passed Out

Maybe I was just a lightweight during my partying days, but I find it hard to believe that anybody can even walk straight after a stiff drink or two, let alone hop on a motorcycle and kick it into high gear without incident.

Louis C.K. (… I know) has a bit in his 2011 special, Live at the Beacon Theater, that illustrates how Hollywood frequently fails to accurately portray drinking but in a different context.

He points out how everybody is holding a glass of liquor during their business meetings while making nefarious deals behind closed doors in their corner offices.

The punchline, which I think applies here, suggests that everybody in the next scene should be passed out on the floor wondering why they thought it was a good idea to start drinking whiskey at noon.

John Wick Chapter 4 A Good Example

You can see Hollywood mishandle drinking scenes time and time again. Since I just recently watched John Wick: Chapter 4, I figure that I might as well start there.

Throughout the film, John Wick travels from New York to the following places in a very short amount of time: Morocco, Osaka, New York (again), Berlin, and finally, Paris.

What Are They Drinking?

Not only is our hero getting mercilessly pummeled by countless henchmen, he’s often greeted by various members of the High Table with some sort of brown or clear liquid upon his arrival.

I don’t care how strong John Wick’s will is- he’s severely jet-lagged, injured, and possibly quite buzzed at times.

Too Much Adrenaline?

Hollywood drinking

I know we’re talking about Hollywood and we’re not supposed to pay much mind to how much everybody’s drinking, but nobody ever gets sloppy. In fact, John Wick is so relentless in his revenge arc that he never seems to get slowed down at all.

Maybe there’s so much adrenaline coursing through his veins that alcohol has no effect on him, but when the excitement wears off he still speaks without slurring despite the blood loss he experiences.

How to Get Away with Murder

Hollywood drinking

It’s not just big-budget Hollywood blockbusters that fail to point out how easily drinking can mess things up either. Every single character in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder can be found guzzling grain-based beverages like absolute liquor goblins, but they always keep their incredibly convoluted stories straight.

While Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) jumps back and forth from sobriety to her frightening vodka habit, all of her students are regularly blacking out and snapping back to reality whenever it’s convenient for the storytelling.

Keep It Realistic

Hollywood drinking

Where’s the Hollywood story where our hero has one beer too many and fumbles his weapon while swapping out a spent magazine for a loaded one?

I’m sure such a film exists, but my point is that this isn’t the norm when it comes to how drinking is depicted in movies or television.

Give me a stumbling drunk action hero who messes up his mission because he has to stop at a hotdog cart to get something in his stomach before chasing the bad guy.

I guess we have Rustin Cohle on our side, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen the likes of him.