Critical Kemp

Critical Kemp on Barfly

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“Drinks for all my frieeeeeennnds, all my frieeeennnddds.”.  A motto many of us live by, but etched into lovable loser pop-culture forever by Mickey Rourke.  Barfly is a cult classic, so those of you who know it, know it well, and for others – it is a gem waiting to be rediscovered.  Mickey Rourke has now resurrected himself from certain “has-been” movie oblivion with last year’s The Wrestler, and as playing the new bad guy Whiplash in Iron Man 2, but for almost a decade had fallen off the map in a Travolta-esque slumber, waiting for a role to bring him back into the limelight.  He’s done that now, but Barfly, interestingly enough was at the tail end of his very healthy and almost enviable 80s movie career, and was one of his last films before the long slumber.  At the same time, the movie ironically enough is about a bum who had the talent to really make it, but couldn’t get out of his own way.  I wouldn’t go so far as call Rourke a bum, but you can see the parallel’s of life mimicking art.

It’s funny how this movie puts an odd smile on your face from start to finish. You’d never think that looking at real, genuine losers could be entertaining.  But it is.  Barely any redeeming qualities, the characters in this are unemployed, mean spirited, kind of the island of misfit toys meets the Star Wars Cantina – but somehow, you can’t help but want a peep into that world.  An old man who shakes so bad he spills half his shot before it raises to his lips, and has to rig up a makeshift sling with his tie, a grandmother who blows guys in the bathroom for $20 bucks of booze money, and the mac-daddy cameo of all time, Frank Stallone as the meathead bartender (with a mullet and white corduroys to boot), who beats on the losers to impress the toothless chics in the bar.  I mean, who doesn’t want to watch that?  So, open a bottle of Carstairs Whiskey or Popov Vodka – or a 6 pack of Piel’s bar bottles, and enjoy the train wreck.  From here on in, every few years in a random bar, you’ll now be able to understand the movie reference from a drunk in the corner who spews out – “Drinks for all my frieeennnnds.  Yeeeaaahhh, my friennnnddds”.  Indeed, Mickey.  Drinks for all our friends.  Rollin Approved.

– Critical Kemp

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