Listen, I can respect the actor’s trade. Not everyone respects it. How hard is it to make believe, after all? But not me, I get it. It can be hard to channel the right emotion at the right time. Arguing with a tennis ball on a stick for a CGI movie is probably not only a little difficult, it’s also mighty embarrassing. But there are a few things I can’t ignore when it comes to the craft. Number one is that no actor ever insists on having something actually in their cup. I ranted against empty cups before. No actor can sell drinking out of an empty cup. It fights physics and loses. My second major gripe comes right back to cups, but this time, what’s in them – alcohol. Liquor, specifically. Every character in every show and movie ever, unless they’re comically nerdy, can handle the hard stuff without so much as a squint.
I consider myself a rather manly man. I shoot guns, fight people, smoke the occasional cigar, and drink my whiskey or scotch either neat or with a single ice cube. Yet, even I, when most liquor hits my lips, react. It’s not like swallowing ice tea, which is what all our friends on the screen are doing. Liquor bites you. It stings. Only the finest of liquors doesn’t show on your face when you sip it. Most everything else will show on your face as you drink it. Yet the entire cast of Mad Men can drink a literal cup of whiskey without so much as an after thought. From the manliest of them to the wussiest to even the women, down a cup of Canadian Club is like sipping on a water. I have Canadian Club on the shelf right now and it’s not the smoothest of draws.
Sure, maybe your hardened cowboys and super villains or ultra-men can handle this feat as a character trait, but everyone? Hell, cowboys should have it even worse – western whiskey wasn’t exactly a quality beverage and moonshine will put the sourpuss on your face in an instant. But no, in movies, everyone drinks liquor like its a refreshing summer beverage.
Obviously you can’t have your actors downing real drinks on set or else you’ll end up with a DeVito situation and you don’t want that. But actors can act and just give a little squint. Ya know, pretend. Act. Or maybe the prop master should squirt a healthy dose of lemon into the drink. Pucker up, suckers. Movies and acting are all about getting involved. You want to be immersed in the story. The strangest things can take us out of it. For me, seeing someone trying to drink coffee out of an empty cup is one, and so is people drinking hard liquor without the slightest reaction. Maybe it’s not that big a deal to you, but for me, every time I see a smooth operator cleanly down a cup of whiskey, I take a shot and squint past my boiling point.
Does the ease of drinking liquor in Hollywoodland bother you at all?