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Successful Alcoholics
May 22, 2011 10:16 AM   Subscribe

After making the rounds on the film festival circuit, the short comedy "Successful Alcoholics," starring T.J. Miller ("Cloverfield," "Yogi Bear") and Lizzy Caplan ("Party Down," "True Blood") is available to watch in full on Funny or Die.
posted by amro (43 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
FINALLY
posted by nathancaswell at 10:29 AM on May 22, 2011


Afore a I commence to watching this here short film, I just want to say that Party Down was flippin' hilarious. It's also available for streaming on Netflix if you're into that kind of thing.
posted by NoMich at 10:29 AM on May 22, 2011


I'm about a quarter of the way into this, and while I don't really quite know where it's going yet, it seems to be an artifact from the same era which thought Dudley Moore as Arthur was charming and funny.

I'll see how I feel when it's over.
posted by hippybear at 10:37 AM on May 22, 2011


The original version of this gag was the "fish Story" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, where Dr. Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap's reflexes improved during an on-air binge.
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:47 AM on May 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


If I'm not mistaken, both of them were in Cloverfield together.
posted by JauntyFedora at 10:52 AM on May 22, 2011


Hrm. Okay. Well, it wasn't funny. Does that mean they died?
posted by hippybear at 10:54 AM on May 22, 2011


I guess Hud wound up with the young woman who explodes after all.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:00 AM on May 22, 2011


That was fun just like real alcoholics are fun!

Just like!
posted by From Bklyn at 11:07 AM on May 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Caplan is finally getting an ounce of recognition, but T.J. Miller is fantastic and needs to be put on the map. I thoroughly enjoyed that.
posted by Roman Graves at 11:09 AM on May 22, 2011


This is not (original) Arthur at all, for me. It is funny without being lighthearted. It's an uncomfortable movie.
posted by zippy at 11:10 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this would be the "Die" part of "Funny or Die."
posted by Muddler at 11:16 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess everyone was expecting HILARIOUS HIJINKS?
posted by Roman Graves at 11:22 AM on May 22, 2011


Lizzy Caplan is a 21st century pretty lady comedy goddess and needs to be given her own show already. preferably based on the Party Down episode where she's on X. So maybe the show could be like "Successful Rolling".

just my 2 cents.
posted by Bwithh at 11:29 AM on May 22, 2011


LOVED the coincident Keystone Light ad on the Funny or Die page. It made the detox parts funnier.
posted by hanoixan at 11:34 AM on May 22, 2011


Gah. I hated that, but also enjoyed it. It's like someone spilled some Raymond Carver into my sorta humorous internet shorts. I honestly have no idea how to react.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:34 AM on May 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


the short comedy "Successful Alcoholics,"

Not to be a jerk or whatever, but this is kind of misleading. I mean, maybe the first 10 minutes are a little funny, but the last 10 minutes are incredibly depressing.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:39 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well acted, depressing.... not much more to say about that...
posted by tomswift at 11:41 AM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think this was actually very good.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 11:43 AM on May 22, 2011


Tony Hale bonus! YIPPEEEEEEEEEE! Everything is better with Tony Hale!
posted by Elsa at 11:47 AM on May 22, 2011


that was great!
posted by Bwithh at 12:07 PM on May 22, 2011


I thought this was really, really good. The last scene was excellent.
posted by neuromodulator at 12:15 PM on May 22, 2011


Is True Blood worth watching for Lizzy Kaplan's character alone - is there enough of her in there and is it good? I watched the first episode of TB and had a tough time getting through it, but if there is a Lizzy Kaplan story arc, I might just watch those episodes.
posted by Bwithh at 12:17 PM on May 22, 2011


I should elaborate...

As someone who comes from a family of very "well to do" alcoholics, I can understand certain people's dismay at the injection of humor into something that is a very depressing topic. Speaking as someone from one of many fucked up families, I can see the need for humor. I know that alcoholics drink when they're happy, and they drink even more when they're depressed. If this was going to serve a purpose and perhaps offer some sort of lesson, the title and the initial humor was going to be the lure for "those types." Do you think those in denial are going to watch something on DailyMotion called "Rich Couple fuck up everything with Booze"?

One relative of mine sticks out when I see this stuff: My Uncle "Deuce." He's been divorced twice, he's got the permanent rosacea and red nose deal, and I cannot count how many times I've tried to hold a conversation with him while he's swaying from side to side mumbling "You know? You're so right... Jesus, I knew you'd turn out to be a great kid."

He retired in his thirties as a multi-millionaire. He spends his days "managing his investments' and his nights drinking heavily.

It's tough to watch. His father (my grandfather) was an alcoholic who totally lost his mind on several times in a very scary manner. All of my aunts and uncles on that side of the family have been divorced once, with the exception of one aunt who never got married, but had a child taken away by protective services only a few years before she died of a Nyquil OD. There's plenty of sadness to go around.

But the remaining siblings all have money, and my uncle has plenty of influence. He actually will leave the bar and call a police officer to follow him home (as he and his dad were the mayor for some time). He has a problem, and his second wife is dying of brain cancer, most likely exacerbated by years of pills and alcohol. But let's be honest, it's hard to tell a rich person they need something they can't buy. And it's harder when that rich man is so damn funny.

The eve of my wedding he took me out after the rehearsal dinner, something I knew I was going to regret. I got absolutely shit-faced and I hadn't laughed as hard as I did that night in a long time. Too bad I can't remember what is so funny.

Amidst the drunken haze, I remember him telling me something:

"Years from now, you'll find that nothing in life matters but your family. Don't nod like you know this. You'll screw up your head thinking your family needs other things, but they don't. Your family needs a home not a house. Your family needs support not money. Your family needs love not just attention. Your family needs you."

I've tried to abide by this, but I screw up sometimes. I still drink too much on certain occasions, but I'm not going to blame my genetics or upbringing or anything else. I blame my inability to enjoy routine, and the seemingly trivial moments in life. It's as if I'm hell bent on fucking up the monotony so I can realize how much I enjoy stability... once I've thrown it out the window.

Today I'm doing ok, as long as I ignore how many"todays" I still have to go.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 12:22 PM on May 22, 2011 [32 favorites]


Wow, this was really good. I came in expecting a lol-fest, and initially it was. But then it got uncomfortable and depressing when facts were confronted and a moment of reflection was had. Kinda like real life.

Even the deflection of blame was pretty realistic, as well as the reaction to those around the main characters. I've been around, and even been accused (rightfully) of some of this 'functional alcoholism'. This wasn't too far from the truth. Really, the only suspension of belief I had was when the cop let them go.

I did not expect to be sitting on my couch, thinking this much about FoD short today. Well done, amro.
posted by brownchickenbrowncow at 12:25 PM on May 22, 2011


Is True Blood worth watching for Lizzy Kaplan's character alone - is there enough of her in there and is it good?

Lizzy Caplan's character in True Blood is a typical True Blood character with just about everything that implies.
posted by furiousthought at 1:51 PM on May 22, 2011


It's interesting how the definition of "comedy" has expanded to include "movies that are kind of uncomfortable to watch and we're not quite sure how to react to". I've seen movies classified as "drama" (or heck, even "horror" or "action") that were a lot funnier than this...but by classifying it as a "comedy" we can reassure ourselves that it's harmless, because we're not intended to take it 'seriously'.

There really ought to be a new word for the subgenre that isn't about eliciting laughter as much as eliciting nervous, uncomfortable chuckles.

And don't say "dramedy", I hate that word. Tragicomedy is closer, maybe.
posted by mstokes650 at 1:51 PM on May 22, 2011


that was great. I hadn't properly seen Lizzie in anything since Mean Girls.
posted by sweetkid at 2:22 PM on May 22, 2011


I quite liked this also.

I've seen movies classified as "drama" (or heck, even "horror" or "action") that were a lot funnier than this...but by classifying it as a "comedy" we can reassure ourselves that it's harmless, because we're not intended to take it 'seriously'.

I don't think that's how it's supposed to work at all, at all, at all. The most fucked up things are the funniest. Maybe it's temperament, maybe it's philosophy, but there comes a point when you're on the knife edge, and you can either laugh or cry. Me, I'm with the laughers, because the laughter implies a recognition that the tragedies we confront though they wound us deeply are also tiny and absurd in the grand scheme of things.

Plus, melted blender. "Was this ever a phone?"
posted by Diablevert at 2:39 PM on May 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've seen movies classified as "drama" (or heck, even "horror" or "action") that were a lot funnier than this...but by classifying it as a "comedy" we can reassure ourselves that it's harmless, because we're not intended to take it 'seriously'.

That was not what I got from this. I thought the humour in it made it more poignant, and a more interesting and thoughtful and honest message.
posted by neuromodulator at 3:25 PM on May 22, 2011


That was not what I got from this. I thought the humour in it made it more poignant, and a more interesting and thoughtful and honest message.

Oh, I don't disagree with you about the execution; I'm not suggesting, in any way, that this movie shouldn't have been funny, or shouldn't have been made exactly the way it was. I think it was brilliantly made.

What I'm saying is that I think declaring this a "comedy" and lumping it into the same genre as The Hangover Part 2 is doing this movie a disservice; I think it's something more than a simple comedy.

I feel like genre in movies, at least for the stuff that isn't written on spec, is less some writers saying "Hey let's write a comedy," as it is some writers sitting down and saying "Hey, let's write this thing," and they write it, and it gets made, and then afterwards some guys in marketing are left trying to figure out what to call it. "It's got some laughs, right? So, uhh, it's totally a comedy!" It's a pretty shallow definition of a genre. Heck, the whole system of genres is pretty weak, and some things just don't fit well. Jennifer's Body was another example; whether you liked it or not, it's a movie which defies simple genre classification. Is it a played-straight monster movie? A spoof of monster movies? An odd sort of coming-of-age teen drama? A spoof of coming-of-age teen dramas?

A lot of really thought-provoking movies suffer from this shallow classification system (seriously, watch the box-office returns of any movie, literally any movie, that gets marketed as being a genre which it doesn't comfortably fit within); this short film would/could easily be one of them. We're MeFites, so we overthink things, but a lot of people, you tell them, "Hey let me show you this comedy," and they'll watch it, and go "Well, that wasn't very funny," (see the beginning of this thread) and that'll be the end of it, for them. Because that's what a "comedy" is supposed to be - a movie that's funny. We know that, and so that becomes the obvious criteria by which we judge it. Was it really funny? No? Then it's not a very good comedy. That's too simple for something like this.
posted by mstokes650 at 3:46 PM on May 22, 2011


So what you're saying it's that it's a bit like Punch-drunk love?
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 4:49 PM on May 22, 2011


Thoroughly enjoyed. Poignant, well written, and well acted.

Staying in the shallow end, though,... what song opens and closes this out? Sounds an awful lot like The Rachel's, but I can't put my finger on it. I can't find a track listing anywhere (did not notice one in the credits).
posted by Artichoke Dance Off!! at 5:16 PM on May 22, 2011


We're MeFites, so we overthink things, but a lot of people, you tell them, "Hey let me show you this comedy," and they'll watch it, and go "Well, that wasn't very funny," (see the beginning of this thread) and that'll be the end of it, for them.

Just because someone says "Well, that wasn't very funny" doesn't mean that's the end of it for them. It just means that they wanted to note that they were expecting humor when the word "comedy" was used. Whether they liked it or not is a completely different story.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:31 PM on May 22, 2011


Is True Blood worth watching for Lizzy Kaplan's character alone - is there enough of her in there and is it good?

There's no part of her that's not in there and it's ama-aaaa-azing. The show? It's okay.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:51 PM on May 22, 2011


I didn't like the comedy bits so much. When it got a little dramatic, i started really liking it.
posted by svenni at 6:25 PM on May 22, 2011


There really ought to be a new word for the subgenre that isn't about eliciting laughter as much as eliciting nervous, uncomfortable chuckles.

Cringe Comedy
posted by LogicalDash at 7:28 PM on May 22, 2011


Comedy? That looked pretty serious to me, very well done serious. Maybe it will even help someone live easy but think first.
posted by caddis at 8:51 PM on May 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was good, but if they'd toned down TJ Miller at work about 15% it'd would've gone from good to amazing. If his bullshitting seemed organic and functional instead of out-of-it drunk Lizzy's reaction at the end would've been more organic.
posted by theclaw at 9:09 PM on May 22, 2011


That was incredible and it was poignant and comedic. Thanks!
posted by phyrewerx at 9:14 PM on May 22, 2011


There really ought to be a new word for the subgenre that isn't about eliciting laughter as much as eliciting nervous, uncomfortable chuckles.

I also tend to put this type of thing under the heading of black comedy, but cringe comedy is a great category as well.

For more of this exact type of thing, see WTF with Mark Maron, where he interviews comics and the subject tends to turn towards the things in their lives that was causing them to self destruct.
posted by jonbro at 7:18 AM on May 23, 2011


If you think that eliciting laughter from revealing the uncomfortable absurdity of life is a new thing, then you, my friend, need to watch Dr. Strangelove.
posted by mikeh at 12:37 PM on May 23, 2011


That was quite well done. The end really made it. Quite good.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:07 PM on May 23, 2011


The song at the end is Bright Eye's Land Locked Blues
posted by jonclegg at 8:31 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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