For lucky 13, and in honor of Beer Wars opening on Thursday, I thought I’d take a look back at beer moves that have come before. I’m a bit of a film buff, and it’s slim pickings, even including documentaries. Most are horrible, quite frankly, and I had a hard time coming up with ten I might actually watch again. Let me know if I left out one of your favorites, and why you like it. Anyway, here’s List #13:
Top 10 Beer Movies
|Young Einstein (1989) Anyone else remember when Yahoo Serious was touted as the next big thing from Australia? In this farce, Einstein is portrayed “as a young Outback clod who splits beer atoms and invents rock and roll.”|
|In Heaven There Is No Beer? (1984) This won’t show up on most people’s list because it’s more about polkas — music I love — but also includes beer’s relationship to the polka. Watch the trailer, if you dare.|
|Rhapsody in Brew (1933) This was a short shown in theaters, depicting an amazing display of music made with a beer bottle. It was one of Hal Roach’s Musical Comedy Shorts and was directed by Billy Gilbert.|
|Beer Parade (1933) A Scrappy cartoon show in theaters before the film began, produced by Columbia Pictures. I can’t even imagine it being shown today. Uncle John’s Crazy Town has a write-up and more stills.
|Take This Job & Shove It (1981) Starring country singer Johnny Paycheck, who wrote the song the movie’s based on, the plot concerns a “hot-shot efficiency expert who returns to his hometown to streamline the local brewery.”|
|What! No Beer? (1933) Not one of Buster Keaton’s best, here’s the plot. “An idea-a-minute barber talks his dim-bulb taxidermist buddy into investing in a defunct brewery. They intend to become beer barons by cashing in on the repeal of prohibition, but instead they attract the attention of bootlegging gangsters and the cops.”|
|The Fatal Glass of Beer (1933) You knew there had to be a W.C. Fields movie on the list, and this one is chosen primarily for the title. The imdb summarizes it thusly: “Mr. Snavely, a Yukon prospector, lost his only son years ago to the temptations of the big city; now the prodigal Chester, released from prison, comes home to Ma and Pa. A parody of Yukon melodrama; includes the famous looking-out-the-door routine.” You can watch the whole thing on YouTube in two parts; here’s Part 1 and Part 2. But for more beer references, just watch anything he made.|
|Smokey and the Bandit (1977) I have to confess this movie is a guilty pleasure. When I was younger I had something of a crush on Sally Fields, from her days as Gidget on television and in films like Heroes and the Bandit movies. This is cheeseball 70s at its finest; Burt Reynolds in his prime and Jackie Gleason at his smarmiest. It’s almost secondary that they’re transporting a truckload of Coors.|
|The American Brew (2007) While flawed overall and badly so in a few places, it’s still one of the best looking documentaries on beer done so far, even with the A-B Here’s To Beer sponsorship.|
|Strange Brew (1983) It’s easy to dismiss this film by Doug & Bob MacKenzie, the Great White North duo. They do battle with a powerful, megalomaniacal brewmaster over a case of beer. It manages to seem really dumb, while at the same time channeling Shakespeare’s Hamlet with the McKenzie Brothers taking the roles of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Here’s a nice comparison between the two. I still occasionally use the phrase, “beauty, eh.”
I could not in good conscience include Beer (1985), Beer (2006), Beer League, Beerfest or Happy Hour (1987). And I really didn’t care for American Beer, the road movie that came out in 2003, despite a number of the brewery visits being enjoyable.
And though I’ve never been a big Three Stooes fan, Beer Barrel Polecats has a relatively funny sequence of them trying to make beer. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2 from YouTube. In Part 1, they try making Panther Pilsner.
If I included television shows, Michael Jackson’s Beer Hunter would top the list. It’s the still the best thing on beer put on film or video, though I have high hopes for Jay Shevek’s forthcoming Beer Pioneers.
Let me know your favorites, and if you see any you know of that are missing from the list, please post a comment and I’ll add it.
Also, if you have any ideas for future Top 10 lists you’d like to see, drop me a line.