Monday, February 9, 2009
I must have some booze. I demand to have some booze.
Withnail & I was a glaring omission on my seen movie list that I finally indulged this week. I can see why it's such a druggie classic as it spawned a multitude of imitators in the 90's and 00's with its joint rolling scene alone. Apatow and co. obviously watched this one, as did Danny Boyle and the folks behind Harold & Kumar.
Withnail maintains relevance because it is much grittier than the aforementioned films (excluding Trainspotting, maybe). The drugs are not glorified, nor are they vilified. There are no silly woozy-wavy POV shots of getting high. The viewer is thrust into a real world situation with as much humor as pathos and grim dystopia. Richard E. Grant plays the best drunk I have ever ever seen. He's believable and hilarious. It was amusing to discover that he's a teetotaler.
The writing is super and exactly what I love about Brit humor. Quick, needle-sharp and totally hilarious. It absolutely invites repeat viewings and I can easily see why fans have watched it dozens of times. It's highly quotable (see post title)- the imdb "quotes page" is the longest I've yet to see.
In a strange way, this film reminded me of a period in my life when Ramsey and I would get into trouble. We were never into drugs like this movie, but our fix was seeking fulfillment and we got along in a love/hate, admiration/frustration way, much like Withnail and Marwood. The ending felt especially prescient of my life, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who felt so personally impressed by this film.