RVOD066 Alcohol Trigger Films

(1979, Educational/Short, color)


Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

I guess it’s just booze that ties things together.

Rating: **1/2

In a Nutshell:

Um... something about underage drinking, I think? Maybe?


So, that one kid's gonna shoot the other kid with an alcohol trigger?Alcohol Trigger Films is a set of three short films with alcohol playing a role in each. Where does the “trigger” come in? Your guess is as good as mine.

Our first film is titled “The Party”. In it, three underage drinkers come over to a friend’s house to slurp down beer, listen to loud music and, uh, wear hats. The friend in question isn’t too happy about the direction the party has taken, but he doesn’t actually do anything about it.

Next up is “The Mother”, in which a drunken lush embarrasses the living daylights out of her middle school daughter in front of her friends, while weaving through rain-soaked traffic.

Finally, we have “The Ride”, so named because... I don’t know. “The Party” had a party in it and “The Mother” depicted an inebriated female parent, but “The Ride” is about young teens who interrupt softball practice to pass around a bottle of liquor while they argue about vomit. I guess it has cars in it, but no one rides in them.


The resemblance to my twelve-year-old self is uncanny.Alcohol Trigger Films depicts inappropriate drinking, usually underage. I think the “trigger” part of the title refers to situations that might trigger alcoholism, but that’s just a guess on my part. I’ve also supplied the first sentence of this paragraph with the descriptor “inappropriate”. This comes entirely out of my own background and experience as an adult; since no consequences beyond potential embarrassment have been supplied, I’m at a loss as to what the filmmakers think. “Bad”, I guess, but once again, that’s just an assumption based on the fact that it was made to be shown in schools. Would a kid, used to drinking in his social life, with no other guidance, come to this conclusion on his own? Just what do the seventies have against education, anyway? I know I get down on the fifties social guidance shorts sometimes, but at least they aren’t shy when the time comes to tell you what they’re about. Even the syphilis shorts eventually own up to the subject of venereal disease. I’m all for discussing the problem amongst ourselves, but that gets difficult when you refuse to tell us what you think the problem is.

The short’s aimless, freestyle vibe mostly leaves the riffers to their own devices. Teens emerge from the local deli with a large paper sack, then disappear around a corner when the cops drive past, promping Bill's secretive rasp, “You got the pastrami?” When the first film ends, we watch a blank screen for nearly half a minute while Kevin says, “Presumably they all died and entered a black eternal void. Us too.” While the drunken and slightly masculine mom grates out unsolicited hairdressing advice, Mike says, “So her mom is an enthusiastic gay man?” It’s a strange, wandering short that doesn’t give the riffing much of a place to stand, but the riffers plant their feet anyway and do their best. It’s funny enough, so long as you’re not frustrating yourself trying to extract a purpose from it.