I think we can all agree that Netflix, as it’s currently constructed, is not really around for movies. It’s reason for being these days is to provide fixes for people deep in the thralls of an addiction to a television show. In a society currently being dominated by the notion/activity/religion of binge-watching, Netflix is the perfect best friend, confidant, priest and drug dealer all rolled up into one.
Oh and the movies that are on Netflix, those movies are mostly terrible.
Oh and searching for movies on Netflix, finding one that isn’t terrible, is also terrible.
For me personally, the end result of looking for a movie to watch on Netflix is usually watching old episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
This weekend though, I actually watched a movie on Netflix and more importantly, I finished a movie on Netflix. This wasn’t another attempt at watching Captain America (current attempts: 3.) It was really a momentous occasion.
The movie was Drinking Buddies and I can’t recommend it enough.
The Plot of Drinking Buddies in 87 words…
There’s Luke and Kate- best friends, living in Chicago and working at a brewery. You guessed it- there’s romantic tension between the two but wait a second- both are in relationships, one more serious than the other, which is where Jill and Chris come in to it. After a weekend spent up at Chris’ lake house (because, and this is important, Chris is the kind of dude with a lake house) one couple breaks up, throwing the delicate balance of Luke and Kate’s friendship off it’s axis.
Now I’m not going to say anymore other than that where most romantic comedies would zig, Drinking Buddies zags. And this zagging as opposed to zigging is what separates from Drinking Buddies from the pact- from the muddled masses of the thousands of other romantic comedies out there, stealing our women and muddying up what real life and real relationships really are like. But this isn’t about trashing romantic comedies, this is about celebrating Drinking Buddies. So we move on.
Drinking Buddies is the brainchild of a dude named Joe Swanberg and the movie is kind of scripted, kind of improvised- which is why it has such a fresh, occasionally uneasy, but ultimately awesome realistic feel to it. Where as watching most romantic comedies, you feel like you’re staring at a painting on a wall, with Drinking Buddies, you feel like you’re watching real life in a fish bowl. The camera moves with the actors, it pauses with the actors, it thinks with the actors. If an actor stops and is lost in thought- the camera is lost with it. If things get frantic, the camera gets frantic. We feel like active observers here. There’s nothing passive about the movie. And that includes the way it makes us feel. The feelings and memories it conjures aren’t always pretty or welcome, but they’re there and they’re alive.
Olivia Wilde plays Kate and is really good at playing Kate. Kate is the kind of gal that back in my single days, I called a Devil Woman. Kate seems perfect, she seems like exactly what you want, but she’s the exact opposite of what you need. She toys with you because of the demons instead her own head. Devil Women leave men in their wake and Kate seems destined to leave Luke, played by Jake Johnson, in her wake- if not for Jill, played by Anna Kendrick. Jill is the polar opposite of Kate- this is also important, just like how Chris (played by Ron Livingston) not only is the kind of guy who has a lake house, but also drives a Jeep Cherokee and drinks wine, not beer.
Some people are destined to be our friends, some people are destined to be our lovers, some people are destined to be our enemies, some people are destined to be forgettable memories. I think Drinking Buddies is a movie about people flirting with the inevitable destinies of the people around them.
For your consideration, I’d recommend you watch Drinking Buddies. I think it could stand right along side movies like Singles, Reality Bites and St. Elmo’s Fire as movies representative of a certain time and place in history and how lives are led during that time.
Yes, it’ll make you really want a beer. But it’ll make you really think as well.
Pictures: Magnolia Pictures