The March issue of Maxim magazine has a piece about Hollywood’s Great Movie Drunks (or words to that effect). W.C. Fields, Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa, Paul Giamatti in Sideways, etc. Maxim doesn’t even mention Lee Marvin‘s Oscar-winning performance as the lushy gunfighter in Cat Ballou. Hilarious shit, except for the fact that Marvin was affected by alcohol in real life and died on the young side (63, I think) partly because of this, which makes his Cat Ballou shenanigans seem a little less amusing. Harry Nilsson‘s not-fully-conscious decision to drink himself to death for the last 20 or 25 years of his life (which is depicted in John Scheinfeld’s Who Is Harry Nilsson?) was a massive downer for all concerned. Dudley Moore‘s drunken playboy was funny in 1981’s Arthur, but less so in 1988’s Arthur 2: On The Rocks. Arthur was a fresher film, of course, with a kind of champagne-fizz attitude. The sequel was boozier and more “real.” Moore was obviously older in ’88, his career wasn’t going quite as well, the performance felt desperate and the mood wasn’t the same. Drunks aren’t funny in real life unless you’re 19 and hanging with your drunken friends and as drunk as they are. You have to be fairly young and unsullied, which sort of describes the Maxim readership, and why the editors are running this piece. A true story: I was staying with some friends at a beach house on the Jersey coast when we were all 17 or thereabouts, and there was this big guy named Richard Harris who was half-sitting and half-lying on the living-room couch and about to throw up from too much vodka. I was coming down the stairs and Harris was suddenly on his feet and making for the bathroom (or at least the kitchen sink), but he wasn’t fast enough. He put his hand in front of his mouth in an obviously futile, almost touching attempt to prevent the inevitable, and I can still see that torrent of chicken-rice puke spewing out of his mouth and cascading off the palm of his right hand and splattering on the floor and into a black grated-iron floor heater. A loud hissss sound resulted as the vomit dripped into the coal-burning furnace and the smell of it filled the house. We all and moaned and groaned at the aroma and ran outside to escape it, going “aahh!” and “oh, God!” I’ll remember that moment for the rest of my life, but…I don’t know what my point is except that now that I’m no longer 17 and not much of a drinker, the Maxim piece kinda left me cold.