Monday, December 10, 2012

"Getting" SMASHED And Loving It! Until You Don't...

English: Mary Elizabeth Winstead at the 2010 C...
English: Mary Elizabeth Winstead at the 2010 Comic Con in San Diego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Movie alcoholics over the decades...

On December 5, 1933, the 21st amendment was passed and prohibition was repealed. On December 5, 2008, (the 75th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition) AMC published a post on their blog: The 21 Best Movie Alcoholics of All Time. It is an interesting list, you might enjoy reviewing it. See how many of these movies you've seen. Would any of them make your list? For sure many of these movies "starred" recognizable celebrities like Jack Lemmon, Peter O'Toole, Ray Milland, Paul Newman, Dudley Moore, Paul Giamatti, Nicolas Cage, and Susan Hayward. One of our favorites is The Upside of Anger starring Joan Allen and Kevin Costner (2005). In fact, it was the song "One Safe Place" written by Marc Cohn and Phil Galdston and performed by Marc Cohn for the soundtrack of The Upside of Anger that we use to express the mission for Passport to Recovery.

Since 2008 there have been a number of movies that tell the story of an alcoholic finding recovery. One is Crazy Heart starring Jeff Bridges (2009) for which he was honored with the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2010. And this year is no exception as Denzel Washington portrayed an alcoholic in Flight.

"Getting" SMASHED and loving it...

But this year also brought us SMASHED. This film actually premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing. SMASHED has been in what could be called a "slow" release nationwide since October 12, 2012. If you have not had a chance to see it yet, don't miss it. If you are a recovering alcoholic or are the spouse, parent, or sibling of a recovering alcoholic you will find yourself being pulled into this remarkably everyday story of "getting" SMASHED and loving it.

The story of Kate and Charlie is set in the backdrop of Los Angeles. They both have careers, she as a grade school teacher and he as a freelance writer. But it seems that most evenings they find themselves riding their bicycles (yes, you can still do this in Los Angeles) to the local bars to meet up with friends having more than a few "shots" singing karaoke style or shooting pool. When morning rolls around Kate pulls herself out of bed and drives off to teach her 3rd grade students...all the while suffering from severe hangovers.

When one spouse gets sober...

One theme that SMASHED painfully covers is what happens when one spouse decides they need to get sober and the other one doesn't need to or want to take that first step in recovery. This first step can be difficult enough for the alcoholic, but even perhaps more stressful for the spouse who has grown accustom to the alcoholic's behavior patterns and now suddenly find themselves alone as their recovering spouse finds Alcoholics Anonymous, the support of new friends and a sponsor. Now the non-recovering spouse is on his or her own, searching for a new comfort zone.

Getting honest and dealing with the consequences...

Every alcoholic new to recovery learns that they need to get honest. But being totally honest is difficult in the best of times. Even Whip Whitaker in FLIGHT honestly admits: "I had reached my lifelong limit of lies." And like Captain Whitaker, Kate soon learns that she needs to get honest, even though it can bring heartache and consequences that may take months or years to deal with...sober.

No more "spoilers"~ here is the official trailer for SMASHED



If you are having trouble viewing the trailer, you can see it here.

Some final thoughts...

For sure many people will see SMASHED over the holiday period. Perhaps Mary Elizabeth Winstead will  receive an Oscar nod for her portrayal of Kate. Hopefully of those who will see SMASHED many will use it as a jumping off point to better understand the disease of addiction and will find their way to Alcoholics Anonymous and/or treatment. And in a perfect world spouses, parents, siblings, children and co-workers of alcoholics will better understand recovery and sobriety.

As Roger Ebert so eloquently offers in his review of SMASHED: "The movies have a way of presenting alcoholism and drug addiction as titanic struggles. So indeed they can be. But for Kate, who no doubt classified herself as a "functioning alcoholic," sobering up can be easy and even kinda fun. That's until she figures out that "being dry" and "being sober" are not the same thing."
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