22 user 14 critic

Drunks (1995)

R | | Drama | 14 March 1997 (USA)
At the beginning of a nightly Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, Jim seems particularly troubled. His sponsor encourages him to talk that night, the first time in seven months, so he does - and ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Liza Harris ...
Liam Ahern ...
Fanni Green ...
Billy Dove ...


At the beginning of a nightly Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, Jim seems particularly troubled. His sponsor encourages him to talk that night, the first time in seven months, so he does - and leaves the meeting right after. As Jim wanders the night, searching for some solace in his old stomping grounds, bars and parks where he bought drugs, the meeting goes on, and we hear the stories of survivors and addicts - some, like Louis, who claim to have wandered in looking for choir practice, who don't call themselves alcoholic, and others, like Joseph, whose drinking almost caused the death of his child - as they talk about their lives at the meeting. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive strong language, substance abuse and a sex scene | See all certifications »




Release Date:

14 March 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alcohòlics  »

Filming Locations:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Script began as a play, "Blackout", which ran Off-Broadway in 1990. See more »


Debbie: You want to talk about bad blackouts? I was married in one. I was married in a blackout, I'm serious. I was 19 years old. I was married for 6 weeks, yeah. I was married to this guy named Wild Bob. That was his full name, Wild Bob. So I guess I was Mrs. Wild Bob. Hi everyone, welcome to my life. Do you Debbie, take Wild Bob to be your lawfully wedded husband? I do.
See more »


References Father Knows Best (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

reality and acting on the dark side of inebriation
2 February 2009 | by See all my reviews

Richard Lewis is one of my all-time favorite comedians. Mel Brooks once called him the Franz Kafka of comedy, and it's not far from the truth. The guy crafts such agonizing and harrowing comedy out of neuroses and problems and just common familial and relationship and whatever dread that it's staggering to watch (seeing him recently it was even more free-form and stream-of-conscious than ever, like Kurt Vonnegut and Woody Allen in a Bowery bar telling penis jokes). But he also was, in his past, troubled and on drugs and alcohol and went to a therapist for years and so on, and finally kicked it for good in the early 90s (he even wrote a sprawling, scatter-shot tell-all book called The Other Great Depression). So, in 1995, he took the lead part in Drunks, and if it may seem like his performance as Jim is so spot on and incredible it's more than likely because he knows this character, maybe all too well.

I go on about Lewis so much just because he's the character most on the edge, the one falling off amongst all these other AA people meeting in a Manhattan Church, that it's impossible to take your eyes off him when he shows up. Jim, who speaks very reluctantly to the couple of dozen people at the AA meeting, lost his wife to a brain aneurysm two years after becoming sober from booze and junk. Then he slipped and went back and at the time of the meeting he hasn't had a drink in several months. Right after this long and heartfelt confession he leaves and wanders the streets, tempted at first and finally giving in to his insatiable craving to whiskey and beer. While he goes from either bar to his apartment or on the streets for drugs the film cuts back to the AA meeting where other people share their experiences, some fatally tragic like the blackout guy, or Dianne Wiest's doctor, or Faye Dunaway's upper-class mother, or Sam Rockwell's seemingly regular guy, or even Parker Posey as an ex-hippie chick.

Hell, even Calista Flockheart gives a showstopper of a performance, which is an indicator of how on top of things the actors are here. It is, if as a real liability, written and performed like a play, and it's broken up as a series of monologues inter-cut with Jim in his downward spiral mode. The good thing about director Peter Cohn's approach is that even if a monologue falls kind of flat- I actually didn't care much for Spalding Gray who sort of mumbled through his character's turn as the guy who just showed up not knowing it was an AA meeting in the basement of the church- it can cut back to Richard Lewis who, in particular in one later scene at a bar, lays it down to such a heartbreaking beat that you almost wish he was in a Bergman movie or something - or, for that matter, one of Woody Allen's serious films. He's that amazing here, whether it's just how he is or if it's a "performance" or whatever. It's an actor's movie, and for that it works well. Just don't watch it for anything fancy or flashy; it's slightly obscure for that reason, since it doesn't have a real "star" attached.

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