Brow Beat

Bonding Over Brewskies in the Movies

President Obama will meet with Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at the White House on Thursday for what’s being called the ” Suds Summit .” The three men plan to gather ‘round a picnic table , share a few beers, and, in this relaxed atmosphere, work out their differences. No one can say whether Obama’s gambit will work, but to celebrate the great tradition of bonding over brewskies, Slate presents the top five beer-sharing moments from movie history.

5) In The Sure Thing , a classic ‘80s romantic comedy, John Cusack decides to drink his holiday blues away at a bar. After chatting up two strangers, he buys one a spritzer, the other a beer, and the three break into a drunken, but sweet, rendition of  “The Christmas Song,” commonly known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.”

4) In the 2007 bromance Superbad , two bumbling cops (played expertly by Seth Rogen and Bill Hader) invite a nerdy but charming teenager who calls himself “McLovin” (real name: Fogel) to knock back a couple at a bar. Before McLovin can take a sip, he first has to capture a bum that the cops couldn’t quite catch—of course, he’s rewarded with a couple extra brewskis for his efforts.

3) A group of British ambulance workers separated from their unit must trek across Africa in Ice Cold in Alex . Their leader, Captain Anson (John Mills), keeps up morale by describing the cold lagers they’ll be able to drink when they reach Alexandria. In the climactic scene, a bartender lovingly pours bottles of Carlsberg into chilled glasses for the parched travelers. Rumor has it they used real lager and that Mills was pretty tipsy by the end of the shoot.

2) National Lampoon’s Vacation takes the prize for the most disturbing-yet-adorable beer-sharing scene. Chevy Chase, through broken glasses and tears, tells his son, metal-mouthed ‘tween Anthony Michael Hall, how much he loved sitting down for a beer with his dad when he was younger. Then he pulls a can out from his pocket and initiates young Hall to the secrets of lager drinking: “Don’t let Mom smell it on your breath.”

1) In The Shawshank Redemption , Tim Robbins barters tax advice for beer. He gets three for himself, and three for each of his buddies. “A man,” he says, “working in the outdoors, feels more like a man if he can have a bottle of suds.” Morgan Freeman’s narration chimes in once they’re perched on a roof, swilling away: After drinking that “Bohemia-style” brew, they all “felt like free men.”