In The Rum Diary, Johnny Depp takes another stab at playing a substance-abusing Hunter S. Thompson character. He's pretty damn good at it by this point — it seems Depp has mastered the art of the likable drunkard.
This time around, Depp plays Paul Kemp, a journalist who travels to Puerto Rico in hopes of doing some hard-hitting journalism. What he finds, however, is rampant corruption and a bunch of newspapermen who enjoy shots more than they enjoy scoops. Being a friend of Captain Morgan himself, Kemp joins in the merriment, but continues his reporting pursuits as well.
Needless to say, things go awry — the film is based on a novel by famously intoxicated gonzo journalist Thompson, after all. We won't spoil it, but suffice to say Kemp goes after his man (Sanderson, played by Aaron Eckhart) and almost gets more than he can handle (including the girl, played by Amber Heard).
What's amazing about watching Rum Diary, based on a script that director Bruce Robinson reportedly resumed drinking to write, isn't the shenanigans that ensue; it's that Depp has found yet another way to play a boozer. From his previous Thompson character — Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — to Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, he has portrayed a series of addled characters, each one wholly unique.
But Depp hasn't cornered the market on the loveable lushes of cinema. Actors from Tom Hanks to Mickey Rourke have tackled a boozy boss or a drinker-with-writing-problems character at some point in their lives. To get a handle on cinema's best drunkards, we've compiled a list of our favorites in the gallery above. (An honorable mention that didn't make the list: Giovanni Ribisi's turn as Moburg in The Rum Diary, for which he deserves major kudos, and probably a bottle of rum.)
The Rum Diary, rated R for language, brief drug use and sexuality, hits theaters Friday.
This Depp performance is just the latest sauced insouciant the actor has brought to life.