Here's what I relate to when I drink (um, not that I've done these things, but they seem most authentic):
Vince Vaughn at the end of Swingers. In a diner standing up on the table booth, swinging his sportcoat around, and saying, "So I'm the asshole?! I'm the asshole!" We've all been the asshole at one time or another.
Adam Davies's character "Harry" in the book The Frog King. Harry has only three or four dollars left, to his name -- money he won from a bet on the dictionary meaning of words with one of his mentors -- and the female bartender has to pry it out of his hands as payment for the PBRs that he owes her.
Paul Giamatti in Sideways. The scene where he drinks and stares at the pay phone and drinks more and goes to the "dark side" and calls his ex. In my opinion, this is the best representation of real-life drinking and dialing and desperation...ever.
Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. Screaming nonsense (or non-nonsense?) -- "I am his father!" -- in a bar. I hear that Nic Cage was actually drunk when he did this scene.
Augusten Burroughs in the book Dry. Aside from myriad other serious problems, in one of the first scenes of the book, he somehow ends up in a karaoke bar in Manhattan in the wee morning hours, belting out tunes he never would have sung in "real" life. Been there, done that. Sometimes without the alcohol.
I think that the women in pop culture who are portrayed as drunks are also portrayed as sluts -- and I don't feel that's the case in real life. Here's why I don't relate to the women drunks in pop culture:
Sandra Bullock in the movie 28 Days. I'm not going to lie -- I've watched this movie at least five times. My favorite line is "I'm a journalist. I drink." Nice. But there are too many come-to-Jesus, sincere moments, and not enough resistance on her part. There's no way a hard-boiled journalist would have taken this program seriously, especially after only 28 days.
Judith Light in some horrible Oxygen movie that I can't remember. She played a physically abusive wife to Peter Sellers or some similar actor, and she'd drink white wine (seriously? just white wine?) and begin to beat him as he slept, beginning with the phrase, "You were never theeere for meeee!" Um, yeah, no.
Marcia Cross in Desperate Housewives. Does anyone honestly believe Bree is an alcoholic? Even her blackouts look fake. And off of white wine? Thank you. Case closed.
Tara Reid in Taradise. I'd slam her, but I'm a little afraid I'll end up like her, tanked off my ass at Sea World. Okay, maybe I wouldn't do that, exactly but she's a minor tragic figure no one wants to be compared to.
Helen Hunt in Pay It Forward. I don't think anyone would believe Helen Hunt as a drunk.
But here are the women drunks I can get behind:
Meg Ryan in When a Man Loves a Woman. I like the honest smoking. I like the honest drinking. I like the, "I'm worried I'm not going to be fun anymore." Good line. Also: Love Meg yelling out the window, three sheets to the wind, at her neighbors, "Some people are trying to have sex in here!" And also, to her rakish costar, Andy Garcia, "Ask me how much I want to drink right now."
Parker Posey in Broken English, a performance that I'd mandate win an Oscar if I were two-thirds of the academy. She's a single New York woman -- thin, drinking bottles of wine alone, smoking (God, I miss smoking), and hoping for someone who will see her good heart.
Please add your own thoughts in the comments, if you feel so inclined.