What’s Your Favorite Beer-Themed Movie?
Most of the movies in my Netflix instant queue I’ll never actually get to because no way will the wife wanna watch ‘em. Such is the case with one simply called Beer. (It was hard enough to get her to sit through Smokey and the Bandit, the classic Burt Reynolds-Sally Field vehicle about bootlegging Coors before it was even distributed east of the Mississippi.)
Perhaps I added this movie as a result of searching for the word “beer” in the catalog; Lord knows I’ve done this in iTunes. Maybe I did it as a lark when I’d dreamed of receiving beer directly via Netflix-like service. This flick from 1985 wasn’t on Jay Brooks’s Top 10 Beer Movies list. In fact, a search of his blog revealed it was only mentioned once, buried around midway through a post on Fictional Beer Brands, Beer’s Norbecker Pilsner.
I watched it so you don’t have to. Beer stars Kenneth Mars as Adolph Norbecker, a third-generation brewery owner chagrined that his brand is rapidly losing market share. Here’s what he says to his advertising agents, in his notorious thick German accent (as fans of the movie The Producers will recall): “When my grandfather founded zis business in Germany 87 years ago, he knew ze secret of a successful beer! It’s not in ze hops, no! It was not in ze aging, no! Do you know ze secret of a successful beer? Ze secret of a successful beer,” muses Norbecker, taking a facetiously nonchalant pause, finishes by screaming, “IS ADVERTISING!”
He further explains to his inept admen (and one non-inept adwoman played by Hot Lips Houlihan, er, Loretta Swit, stating, “You see, all beer is essentially the same. It is all fermented piss-colored water, hmm!
The movie then proceeds to develop a successful campaign built Regular Joes with the line, “Are you tough enough?” but descends into standard chauvinism with the line, “Whip out your Norbecker.” It actually gets worse, save for a great role for Rip Torn who can do no wrong.
Luckily, there are dozens more movies with the word beer in the title, and hundreds of others that contain more than just a passing brew. From modern documentaries to slapstick comedies to arthouse dramas where a particular brand may feature prominently, what’s your favorite beer-theme movie?