I Think I Remember that Film
Truman Capote wrote the novella "Breakfast at Tiffany's" as a character study on one of the most memorable women in literature: Holly Golightly. A free spirit running away from an abuse-riddled past, Holly's name became synonymous with style, intrigue, and the elusive. Impossible to tame, she defied any idea of how women should behave, and personified the eternal struggle to find happiness that young people continue to face.
Most people, when presented with the name "Holly Golightly", probably think of Audrey Hepburn, as well as the film adaptation of the novella. There are so many things about this film that are now iconic: Holly's little black dress, Holly munching on a Danish in front of Tiffany's, Holly singing "Moon River", most things about Holly, really. Hepburn's performance captures so much of the original character, like her free spirit, her erratic behavior, her casual approach to life and relationships, and the darkness that lies within her.
It's a shame that the rest of the film pays so little attention to the source material. Like Holly, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" has not aged well. Cigarettes and champagne can only get you so far. And when put together with this drinking game, they can lead to a very depressing night.
"Drunch at Tiffany's": The Rules
1. Drink for Title Drops. That's the full title, "Breakfast at Tiffany's".
2. Drink when they drink.
3. Daddy Issues. We had some contention over this rule.
4. Drink when someone says the word "darling".
5. Drink when you see Holly's cat. His name is Cat. And he's one of the best things about this movie.
All the above rules apply. Also...
1. Title drops: Drink whenever someone says "Tiffany's".
2. Drink when you hear the "Moon River" theme.
All the above rules apply. Also...
1. Drink whenever Mr. Yunioshi appears. You'll need the alcohol in your system.
2. Drink when someone climbs up or down the fire escape.
Krissy Pappau: Too familiar with Holly (Hard Mode)
Bumble C: Not familiar enough (Easy Mode)
Big Moose: Too familiar with Paul (Medium Mode)
Velma Jinkies: Too familiar with guitar players (Hard Mode)
Dame Poppy Middleton: Too British for all of this nonsense (Hard Mode)
Dijan de Nero: Paul sympathizer (Medium Mode)
Shirley Whiskas: Cat sympathizer (Medium Mode)
Champjagne Austgin: True romantic (Hard Mode)
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" must have been a smash when it was released, but now its major appeal is as a very interesting period piece. You watch the film and look at what the director was interested in and you get an overwhelming sense of glamour. Not privilege; Holly and her friends aren't upstanding citizens, and most of their wealth is either temporary or ill-gotten. But GOD, everyone's living in these gorgeous apartments on the Upper West Side, and throwing expensive parties, and would you look at that dress that Audrey Hepburn is wearing?
It's easy to see young girls growing up in the 80's and 90's looking at this life and wanting it. That Holly, she's amazing. She left her past behind and built up a new identity out of the ground, and now she has important friends and a great apartment. She's terrible at saving money and she can STILL afford to live it up. I wish I were like her.
A telegraph to the young girls who saw this movie in their formative years: you do NOT want to be like Holly Golightly.
So Full of Hate
"Which one?" asked Velma.
"All of them!" Poppy replied.
The manic-pixie trope did not begin and die with Zoe Dechanel. No, Capote gave birth to that trope with Holly, dubbed by Moose as the "proto-manic-pixie". In the movie especially, the idealization of Holly as a character is a little unnerving. She's the girl girls want to be and boys want. She's charming and beautiful, but she does things like keep her phone in a suitcase and try to put her cat in the fridge. She has many manfriends, but none of them can get too close to her. She's always open and friendly enough to invite you into her world, but closed off whenever someone tries to ask for more from her. These traits make her loveable, but unattainable.
Holly Golightly is a great character because she so accurately presents the most positive and negative aspects of the pixie image. She's erratic. She changes objectives on a whim. She'll say or do anything to protect or advance herself, but has no problem hurting other people. And the most tragic thing about her is that she is so wonderfully, poetically vulnerable that you can't help wanting to know more about her. You can't get away until she decides she doesn't want you anymore, and even then you can't help hanging on.
We didn't like Holly all that much (aside from Bumble C, who was mentally taking notes). But we HATED Paul.
Our main character is introduced to us as a down-and-out writer living with a sugar momma who's paying him for certain "services". He and Holly bond over their dalliances with prostitution, and they form a friendship. The events in the first half of the movie almost perfectly mirror what happens in the novel. But then somewhere between seeing Holly play guitar on the fire escape and a day on the town straight out of a 90's romcom, Paul falls in love. That's when things get stupid.
Two things Paul says made our hair stand on end. The first being when he tells Holly, "you belong to me."
Okay. Movie. I understand where you're coming from. You're saying that when two people are in love, that love binds them to each other and they in effect "belong" to each other. But Paul doesn't reciprocate that belonging. He never says anything along the lines of "I'm yours". He claims Holly as his, like a pet, without having any kind of conversation about it with her. That makes him seem like a douche.
Secondly, when Paul breaks it off with his mistress, she takes offense, pointing out that Holly wouldn't be able to help his career or financial situation as much as she could. His response?
"She can't help me. She's the type that can't help anybody, even herself. But I can help her."
Here's where the movie goes wrong where the book did not: the movie romanticizes the relationship between Paul and Holly. The writers thought that Holly's problem was that she wouldn't let herself settle down with a nice guy who loved her. So they hitched her up with Paul at the end, and they kiss in the rain after finding Holly's cat. They settle for a happy ending at the expense of the characters they had been building up until this movie ended.
Relationships like Paul and Holly's happen all the time. They are toxic, and intensely painful to extract yourself from. We do NOT need another film telling young people that the power of love will heal everything that's wrong with a person. What makes the source material powerful is that it ends ambiguously. The narrator tells this story after not having seen Holly in years. She runs off one day without telling anybody. The narrator is sad, but ultimately never expected her to settle down and be a person because that's not who she is.
But the Hollywood writers had to have their happy ending, with a boy and a girl in love holding a cat in the rain.
Seriously. Screw you guys. Screw you for taking real human beings and turning them into tools to sell movie tickets. I hope you're proud of yourselves.
A minor character in the novel, he's been promoted from tenant to landlord in the film adaptation and is constantly getting on Holly's case for constantly forgetting her keys and making so much noise in the hallway. We learn a little bit more about Yunioshi throughout the film, like that he enjoys photography, hot steam baths, and...tea ceremonies and...other vaguely Japanese activities?
Yeah, Yunioshi is an awful stereotype. And I have no defense for him. Nor should there be one.
The main difference between Yunioshi and the Crows from "Dumbo" is this. While it could be possible that the Crows were put in their film for some purpose other than making fun of black people and black culture, such as advancing the plot or aiding the main character on his quest, Yunioshi serves no purpose in the film besides providing dumb, slapstick humor in an effort to make Japanese people look clownish.
The only way I'm even slightly okay with Yunioshi is if he's actually just a white guy from Brooklyn who enjoys dressing up as his idea of a Japanese man in his spare time. That's still gross and weird, but then I wouldn't have to feel icky when I look at the fake buck teeth that Mickey Rooney's wearing.
Drink when someone smokes
We've used this rule before. It's always a riot. To make it harder, drink whenever someone takes a drag.
Drink whenever Holly calls Paul "Fred".
Just another endearing thing about her. Try to avoid kissing girls who constantly compare you to their brother.
Drink when the movie dates itself
This can be fun. Things from the amount of money on Paul's checks (fifty whole dollars!), specific points in time that are mentioned...even the Dewy Decimal System. Anything that will make your parents feel ancient.
For Your Inebriation is written by Krissy Pappau (Hollis Beck). All "Breakfast at Tiffany's" images are owned by Paramount Pictures.