5 Characters You'd Want to Have a Drink With (Mania.com)

By:Kurt Amacker
Date: Thursday, March 17, 2011

As a self-appointed expert on both drinking and stalking celebrities, I've raised my glass with a few famous folks. Hell, some of them didn't even know I was sitting there--watching, waiting, collecting hair samples, and mumbling to myself. And, every Maniac worth his or her salt should enjoy the rare opportunity to talk to some of their genre idols--hopefully for longer than it takes to get an autograph at B-List Con 2011. That's half the reason I took this gig--and to tell women in bars that "I'm a writer." If you're lucky, the actor, artist, or musician turns out to be the kind of cool cat you'd want to hang out with anyway. But, the one thing that'll always strike you is that the person and their characters--or even their out-and-about public persona--are often remarkably different. What's a geek to do?

What if, though, you could have a drink with not the artist, but the character you love? What if it wasn't just Kurt Russell you were slamming shots with, but Snake-F'n-Plissken himself? Here are 5 Characters You'd Want to Have a Drink With.

 

5. Snake Plissken

John Carpenter's Escape From New York is a slice of cinematic cult gold. Snake Plissken has to go over the wall to rescue the President, who's just crashed inside Manhattan--now converted to a maximum security prison. If he doesn't get to the Commander-in-Chief in 24 hours, his freaking head will explode. Carpenter and Russell left us with an enduring movie badass that's made every geek try an eye patch at least once (admit it--you ran into things). Now, Snake's in good shape by the end of Escape From New York and well before his less beloved ordeal in Escape From L.A. Imagine hanging out in a bar in the post-apocalyptic military state that Plissken inhabits--one off the grid, and away from the prying eyes of the Man. Then, Snake himself walks in and sits down next to you.

What Are You Drinking?

Jack Daniels. It tastes like hateful brown fire, and you really have to be a mean son of a bitch to actually like the stuff. I mean to like it--not drink it to impress people or cut it with Coke. For Snake Plissken, things that actually taste good to regular people just don't cut it. And, you're not just having a drink with Snake--you're shooting like a seasoned alcoholic trying to "get right" before you can actually relax.

What the Hell Are You Talking About?

Snake was a special forces guy in WW III, so he's probably got a ton of great war stories. He's also robbed banks and otherwise lived on the wrong side of the law--but only because the Man pushed him to it. You understand. Or, you could just ask him about meeting the President.

 

4. Ash Williams

Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi gave us one of the most enduring cult icons in Ash--the man with a chainsaw for a hand who can't catch a break. After a night of killing his own girlfriend, getting possessed by demons, and losing his hand in Evil Dead (and it's remake/sequel), he gets sucked back to medieval times. The Deadites terrorize the locals, and only Ash can stop them--and get a little sugar along the way. But, all ends well and Ash is back to his job at S-Mart. Sure, there's that last Deadite that shows up, but the she-bitch doesn't stand a chance. Given that Ash probably lives in the 'burbs, it's safe to say that you're meeting up with him at everyone's favorite neighborhood bar and grill, Applebee's. You're probably interviewing him for your occult conspiracy theory website or something.

What Are You Drinking?

Budweiser--and you're buying. Ash is pretty much an everyman, which means that his taste in brew spans from "Bud" to "Light." That doesn't mean he's a bad guy--just that he hasn't learned about the wonders of beer snobbery. You're buying because, well, the guy's been through more than any human being should have to. He traveled to the past to save humanity and then lived to tell about it. Hell, you're buying all night, fanboy. You're lucky that both of you are alive.

What the Hell Are You Talking About?

The guy has fought the armies of darkness and traveled through time, so of course you'll be discussing needlepoint. What do you think!? The best you have to offer is a pat on the back if he gets all misty-eyed about killing his first girlfriend in the cabin on that fateful night.

 

3. Indiana Jones

There's not much more you can say about Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. that hasn't already been said. He's a whip-cracking, grave-robbing, ass-kicking mascot for the Greatest Generation who's fought the Nazis, the Commies, and the Thugee--even more if you look at The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and the tons of expanded universe stuff. Indiana Jones is pure badass. Liking Star Wars too much might make you a geek, but if you love Raiders of the Los Arc, it means you love America. It means you're a man, damn it. Indiana Jones has saved the world more times than you can count. He's equally comfortable in a classroom, a dark tomb, and a barroom. And that's where you meet him. But, this isn't some student hangout by Marshall College. No, you're back at Marion Ravenwood's old place in Nepal. God knows how you got there--probably a spring break trip gone horribly awry. The snow rages outside. Suspicious men with eye-patches play cards around you. The fucking payphone hasn't worked for years. But, in walks the man with the hat.

What Are You Drinking?

Whiskey--the brand doesn't matter and the bottle's where you can reach it. You might have to hit some unruly mountain bandit over the head with it.

What the Hell Are You Talking About?

Jesus H. Christ--how about, "Hey Dr. Jones--what's it like to kill a Nazi?" Or, "How does it feel to drink from the Holy Grail?" This guy's a repository of great stories. This isn't a case of you two having a normal, give-and-take conversation. You just listen to him talk. What are you going to say, "Hey, I read a book about that once when they suspended my WoW account for a month." No, this isn't a chat over a drink--it's the coolest lecture you'll ever hear.

 

2. Han Solo

Yep, it's a Harrison Ford twofer--except it's not because it's not the actor again, it's Han-Freakin'-Solo. This is the man who, despite having been marked for death by Jabba the Hutt, returned to help Luke take out the Death Star in A New Hope. He's every American male's favorite kind of hero--badass incarnate with a good-as-gold streak buried underneath the bravado. Guys love a character that acts like a total SOB up until the moment it really counts--then the hero comes out guns blazing, because damn it, a man's gotta stand for something. That's why we like Han Solo. He's a smuggler, a bit of a womanizer, and an outlaw--but it's to the Empire, so it's all good. It's really only in A New Hope that we see Han in a bar, relaxing with his partner in crime who rips arms from sockets. But, all the good shit really happens after. Solo decides to nut up or shut up. He helps take out the Death Star and accepts a commission as a general with the Rebel Alliance. That means you have to call him "sir," fanboy. And that's what you'll call him when you meet him when pays a visit to his old watering hole--the Cantina at Mos Eisley.

What Are You Drinking?

Ne'tra gal--Mandalorian black ale (thanks Wikipedia!). It's probably not that easy to get on Tatooine, but the bartender breaks out the special stuff for the man that killed Greedo (assuming Solo covered the cost).

What the Hell Are You Talking About?

You probably use "sir" every other word just to be careful (sir), so it's more like you stammering while he regales you with stories about, I don't know, fighting Boba Fett and banging Princess Leia (assuming he has enough in him to kiss and tell). Old soldiers have the best stories, and so do career criminals. Solo has both under his belt, so there's plenty to talk about--even more if you count the expanded universe.

 

1. Rick Blaine

Everybody likes Casablanca.  It transcends genre categories to be one of the greatest films ever made. Nobody wants to have a drink with Charles Foster Kane, anyway. But, Rick Blaine is a bar-owner, a former gun-runner and mercenary, and an all around cold, cynical bastard. However, he's got that moral streak we talked about. He even cheats his own table so that a desperate young couple can win the money to leave Casablanca for America. And, when given the chance to walk away with everything, he gives it up to do the right damn thing. He hands off valuable letters of transit to escape Nazi-occupied Europe and denies himself Ilsa, the woman he loves, so that she can leave Casablanca with Victor Laszlo--her husband and a hero to the anti-Nazi underground. He could have her by his side in Casablanca forever, but he knows they belong together. Through it all, though, Rick handles everything with a cold heart and a steady hand that shows you that 99% of the time, he just doesn't give a fuck. Every guy wishes he could stand up like that, but most of the time, you just break down and cave in. All the while, you remember that Rick could've handled it better. You'll learn that when you pull up next to Rick at the Cafe American. And, you're lucky--he never drinks with customers.

What are You Drinking?

A French 75.  It's probably your first, but it sure isn't his--probably not even tonight.

What the Hell are You Talking About?

Rick's a stoic guy, so he probably isn't giving you much. Hell, he probably doesn't even want you there. But, buy him a couple of drinks to console him over the loss of Ilsa and get him talking. The man's seen more than most of us ever have or will. When someone's run guns in Ethiopia and seen the Nazis march into Paris, he has to have some good stories. Hell, just ask him how to be a man. He knows better than almost anyone, and you'll get the talk every son wants from his father.

 

Kurt Amacker is a freelance writer living in New Orleans. He writes web articles like this one, as well as comics for Seraphemera Books and the occasional print piece. You can find at more at his Facebook page.

 



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