Master and Commander, and other seafaring films to watch drunk
It gets lonely at Best For Film Towers. Lonely, cold and a little bit menacing. So when I was invited to take a jaunt to the Isle of Wight courtesy of Scotch distillery Talisker, I obviously said “Thank you, that’d be marvellous” rather than “But… this site has nothing whatsoever to do with whisky” or “I daren’t go there, it’s full of inbreds!”. AND, not that I needed my arm twisted, I got sent a little hamper of nice things. Sold. Anyway, the event wasn’t all about wee drams – for reasons of their own, Talisker had decided to build the WORLD’S FIRST EVER SAIL-IN CINEMA on the esplanade at Cowes. Screw fireworks, that’s how you end a regatta – novelty film screenings only accessible to boat-owners!
I was due to spend the afternoon drinking (which I duly did to the detriment of my half of last week’s Face/Off, clumsily written on my phone) and then board a saucy catamaran; hey, it beats the seats in the Finchley Road Vue. The only snag was the film, which I’d never seen and knew nothing about. The nautical flick in question was called Gladiator 2: All At Sea A Beautiful Mast Robin Hood and the Battle of Trafalgar Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and if you haven’t seen it then I’m not the person to talk to. I have quite a soft spot for Russell Crowe – he’s played that one character of his so many times I feel he’s part of the family – but if there’s one way not to be introduced to a new film it’s definitely ‘from 300m away, on a boat, listening to the soundtrack through a radio earpiece whilst you squint round other boats and curse your lack of spectacles’.
To be honest, the Talisker was flowing very freely and my commitment to keeping up with Russell’s bewigged antics was not all it could have been, so I’m not sure how the film ends (apparently it’s rather good, so I might return to it once the thought of Crowe’s English accent stops making me feel seasick). However, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of semi-watching Master and Commander whilst getting steadily more trolleyed; in fact, I enjoyed it so much that I intend to build my own sail-in cinema (possibly at the end of the bath) and work my way through some other seafaring classics whilst destroying my health, relationship and once-bright future with whiskey and cursing. Avast! Who’s with me?
Top 5 seafaring films to watch whilst horribly pissed
#5 – Pirates of the Caribbean (all)
I don’t think there’s any call for excluding the generally rather good first instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise from this – swashbuckling films are always more fun when you’re one over the eight, and it gives you one more chance to try out our themed drinking game! For Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End and On Stranger Tides, of course, a gradual descent into catatonia is the only way you’ll cope with the increasingly loose plots, clunky scripts and hackneyed performances. Penélope Cruz? Give me strength.
Suggested drink: Rum. Obviously.
#4 – Waterworld
Have you seen Waterworld? It’s insane. Kevin Costner stars as a mutant fishy tramp fellow who cruises around a post-apocalyptic earth which has been mostly submerged by the melting ice caps, stopping off on islands made of scrap so their primitive inhabitants can mock him for having gills (fair play, primitive inhabitants). No way are you getting all the way through it without a few drinks. Just make sure you’ve got enough hydro (that’s fresh water to you) and you keep away from the toxic yellow sludge pool! No, really.
Suggested drink: Deep Blue Sea (Schnapps, Blue Curaçao, lime cordial and bitter lemon)
#3 – Titanic
No matter where you are in Titanic’s eighteen hour running time, you definitely need a drink. Drink your way through the interminable set-up, framing and presentation from the Department of Backstory, then enjoy celebratory bevvies and/or ‘bloody Cal’ swigs throughout Rose and Jack’s courtship. Steady your nerves when shit starts to go down, have a big swig of brandy to keep yourself warm in the water and then bury your face in a tankard so nobody can see you weeping at the end. She’s going to let go.
Suggested drink: Iceberg (vodka and Pernod)
#2 – Battleship Potemkin
Alright, it’s the most influential propaganda film of all time. Alright, the Odessa Steps sequence is pretty much the most important lie you’re ever going to watch. Alright, it’s only 75 minutes long. But my dear sweet baby Jesus, is Battleship Potemkin depressing. If Eisenstein didn’t have the decency to slip in some dancing Cossacks in between that bit with the rotten meat and the schoolmarm with the broken glasses, the least you can do is hallucinate them – it’s that or get to the end and immediately start planning a revolution.
Suggested drink: White Russian. Also obviously.
#1 – The Little Mermaid
Well, something has to distract you from the niggling suspicion that you fancy Ariel…
Suggested drink: Sex on the Beach? Make it stop…