Pretty sure I posted this very early on in the blog because it was so relevant, and it had stuck with me since my first viewing…which is why I’m posting it again if I did, because it has continued to do just that. It pops into my head from time to time not only because of how scarily relatable the content is, but also because it’s really truly great writing/directing/acting.
T.J. Miller is a comic writer (as well as producer/featured actor here) and does his own stand-up, so that’s where the “funny” comes in…except when it doesn’t. Lizzy Caplan, who looked vaguely familiar when I first saw this, also totally nails her role (prior known as one of the “outcasts” in ‘Mean Girls’ as well as a few other minor roles; now a commanding female lead in HBO’s ‘Masters of Sex’).
Premiered at Sundance 2010 and several film festivals following that, ‘Successful Alcoholics’ is a heartfelt, raw short about a boozy, bingey couple who manage to avoid consequences for their indecencies almost entirely, all the way up to the top of the professional, working world. Now, I remember very vividly where I was when I first watched this: it was early May of 2011, and myself and my roommates had just finished the final bit of moving out of our senior year college housing. That alone put me in a weird enough mood, which was only compounded by the fact that I would be returning the following autumn to make up a couple of classes I had missed for my major. A bittersweet symphony welled inside of me; my peers, classmates, brothers were “done” with their four years and so too was I with that particular chapter…next semester just would not be the same. “College” had pretty much ended for me at that point. All I had left was to stick around to flesh out the credit hours my diploma necessitated.
Even more twisted was the feeling in my gut because after packing and moving all day we had nowhere to sleep but on a friend’s apartment floor down the road. It was late into the night at this point, and most of the “graduation partying” was done, most of the seniors having left campus or posting up their parents. This was a point when alcohol was certainly a dependency, but also as much a sedative if I intended to get any sleep. With our house cleaned out and with no sane person looking to tie one on before last call, I had little to do but lay in a sleeping bag on the floor of a warm, cramped apartment, fretting about what in the hell I was to do with my life.
I turned to my laptop to browse the Internet aimlessly, sober and in need of distraction from my thoughts. I wish I could remember the exact sequence that lead me to this video, but I guess the point is that I found it. I wasn’t really prepared for the feels trip it took me on, but I liked it. Probably in no small part because I connected so deeply with it. Back in those days, it was a lot of “me battling myself.” I had known for some time, at least in some small way, that my behaviors around and feelings toward alcohol were not “normal.” But I was deathly afraid of what it would mean to tackle those monsters — because that would mean I would have to stop. Completely. And I was neither mentally prepared for nor physically capable of taking that step, at that time.
In any case, ‘Successful Alcoholics’ really stuck with me. If you didn’t catch this the first time I posted it (which would have been over a year ago at this point so even if you did, it certainly merits a re-watch), I urge you to find 25 minutes somewhere in your day and give it a shot (pun intended).
I will say that despite the comedic timing and witty banter, this is a very powerful and raw piece. And it features some sequences of aggressive, excessive drinking, so if you’re an individual who might find such scenes to be triggers I would not recommend you view this one.
Otherwise, observe & reflect. Bonus for watching is a small role here for Tony Hale, aka “Buster Bluth.”