Nothing Brings a Family Together like Daddy Issues
I've been experimenting with the structure of these games over the past few weeks, with middling results on average. In getting more creative with how the games are set up, it might make for a more interesting night in certain circumstances, but it doesn't necessarily fulfill the requirements for a good drinking game. A good drinking game should get you drunk. That's really the only criteria.
With the Little Miss Sunshine game, I went back to basics in a sense. I looked at this perfectly constructed movie, at what made it great, and at what defined it as a piece of film. The resulting game is proof that, when it comes to creating drinking games, it's best to follow one rule: keep it simple, stupid.
"Little Miss Moonshine": The Rules
Tequila, orange juice and grenadine will get you where you need to go. At least as well as the Hoover's ill-fated van.
1. Drink for Title Drops.
2. Drink for Daddy Issues.
3. Drink when they drink.
4. Drink when disaster strikes. This is kept vague on purpose.
5. Drink for a family bonding moment.
All of the above rules apply. Also...
1. Drink when someone mentions past wrongs.
2. Drink when someone swears.
All of the above rules apply. Also...
1. Daddy Issues: Drink for Grandaddy Issues
2. Drink for a shot of the whole family in the car
3. Drink during a scene in which the sun is not shining.
Some Guy: Road trip DJ (Easy)
Sandy B'Drinkin: Master of navigation (Easy)
Shirley Whiskas: Champion of the Liscense Plate Game (Medium)
Paul [Big Moose]: Brings snacks. If you ask him to (Medium)
Flux: Always calls shotgun (Hard)
This movie touched the hearts of many of us. But we didn't realize it until we all watched it together. Here's Little Miss Sunshine!
We Can Relate
"That's the whole point of the movie, is the car," Seb said. Seb has a point. The car was on every piece of promotional material for this movie, but for some reason it totally slipped my mind.
The strength of this movie is that every character in it is going through their own little personal battle, so there's somebody in there we can either relate to personally, or connect to somebody we know. For example, when Greg Kinnear's character made his entrance, Shirley Whiskas visibly winced.
"His character is who my dad wants to be," she explained, "and it's so painful for me."
Who puts the "Fun" in "Dysfunctional"?
Two rules made this possible: the swearing rule, and the daddy issues rule.
It's so simple. Drink whenever a person curses. It wouldn't work in every movie, but Alan Arkin's character lets fly with a good ol "fuck" almost every time he opens his mouth. So does Dwayne, once he starts speaking, but Arkin makes the game doubly difficult because of how much he clearly hates his son.
Yes, there are two generations of daddy issues in this movie. The fraught relationship between Arkin and Kinnear takes up most of the first third of the movie. "Combative" is putting it lightly; the sheer disdain that Arkin makes clear he feels for Kinnear makes for delicious tension.
Arkin, in fact, is the gift that keeps on giving, because even when he dies we kept on drinking. First of all, him dying in the first place is disastrous (drink). Then we drank again when the family pulled together to steal him from the morgue.
"There's a dead body in their trunk," Flux pointed out. "That's a serious disaster."
Then the Dwayne scene happens, and then they get to the pageant which brings its own set of problems with it...so with all of this, it's easy to see why we barely had a moment to breathe.
As an aside, it's worth noting that Steve Carrell's character is the main culprit for bringing up past wrongs. Which makes sense, since he attempted suicide before the film began. With that rule in place, we all got our daily dose of vitamin C.
Olive Broke the Game
I mentioned at one point during the movie that Olive is the only character with a soul. That comment spurred some dissent, but I'd like to unpack that statement. What I meant was that Olive was the character who has no smidgen of resignation or disillusionment in her. She is constantly looking towards the future, consistantly seeing the positive in every situation. She finds this hell of a roadtrip fun, and she is the one who brings everyone together. Which is why it's heartbreaking to see her torn down by Kinnear when he tries to talk her out of eating ice cream because it might make her fat.
In fact, most of the rules tended to crumble around Olive. She is an issue healer. It would be easy to consider her "Superfreak" routine a disaster, but she's obviously having such a good time, and it ends up bringing the family together, so really, where's the harm?
Coincidence? I think not.
The Swearing Rule
"I'd always just say, 'it's in the Bible'," said Sparkleknife.
She has a point. I'd argue that the Bible defense doesn't always hold water in other cases, so it shouldn't matter here. But drink at your own discretion.
This game went very well. As the medium player, I was feeling pretty good. Our easy players might have felt differently about the game, though, so if easy seems too easy for you, here's a couple more rules.
Drink when a fight breaks out.
This family wobbles between passive aggressive and over-aggressive, so fights can range from two people making sure not to stand next to eachother to all-out warfare.
Drink whenever the family has to push the car.
The first time it's a bonding moment, but each subsequent time they're just trying to get back on the highway.
Drink when Greg Kinnear talks about the difference between winners and losers.
One thing we can all agree on: in this movie, Greg Kinnear is a loser.
For Your Inebriation is written by Krissy Pappau (Hollis Beck). Video footage is taken by Pooh Daddy (Vincent Graham) and edited by Seb (Amy Yourd). All "Little Miss Sunshine" images are owned by Fox Searchlight Pictures.