Raging at the movies

How to be a cinema aficionado and still party like a horny teen or Ewok

Film is the ultimate escapist medium, allowing viewers to sample elements of danger and empathy without doing anything more dangerous or empathetic than eating a tub of buttered popcorn. Perhaps that’s why party scenes have been a staple of movies since the silent era: Movie parties allow us to indulge in high-spirited hedonism without the hangovers and hassles.

Classic party scenes range from the Ewok rager that closes Return of the Jedi (Go JubJub! Go JubJub!) to the masked orgy of Eyes Wide Shut. Entire films have been built around parties, from the acid-tongued cocktail banter of All About Eve to the high school all-nighters of Dazed and Confused and Superbad. In fact, the whole teen sex comedy genre is basically a nonstop kegger.

It’s well known that horny teens and Ewoks like to party hardy, but what about the rest of modern cinema? Can the box-office topping superheroes, award-winning auteurs and world cinema maestros of today rage with the greats? We went beyond The Hangover for this look inside some of the most memorable movie parties of the decade.

High p-art-y

Opening birthday party scene in The Great Beauty

Gatsby-esque overindulgence in the heart of Rome, but director Paolo Sorrentino’s protagonist preens at the center of the action rather than remaining in Gatsby-esque seclusion. Sure, it’s all a metaphor for moral and spiritual desiccation, but rarely has moral and spiritual desiccation looked so voluptuous.

Wedding orgy

The wedding reception in Wild Tales

You expect a bride to have sex on her wedding night, just not with one of the kitchen workers. In the closing chapter of the revenge anthology Wild Tales, a joyous wedding turns into a nightmare of exposed lies, public fornication, broken glass and more public fornication. When they’re done screwing on top of it, ask the bride and groom to return your gift.

Dennys style

Dwarf dinner party in The Hobbit–An Unexpected Journey

There’s no Hobbit sex here—none that made it into the theatrical cut, anyway—but there is something far more unsettling: dwarf songs. The food seems decent (“Denny’s built an entire themed menu around Hobbit cuisine, how bad could it be?” thought stomach cancer), but the party takes on an Exterminating Angel-esque interminableness, going on for on so long that I’m pretty sure it’s still happening.

The jaws of alien apocalypse?

The pub tour in The World’s End

A 12-pub beer crawl with your college buddies through your old stomping grounds, and Rosamund Pike tags along. On the surface, that sounds amazing. Unfortunately, you’re a self-destructive alcoholic in deep denial, all of your friends hate you and you just walked straight into the jaws of the alien apocalypse. Even worse: You’re stuck drinking bad British beer.

Coke-fueled everything

Almost any random scene from The Wolf of Wall Street

Ah, the American financial market: the ultimate celebration of excess and vice. Whether it’s a coke-fueled office bathroom bang sesh, or a coke-fueled beach-house party or a coke-fueled anything else, Jordan Belfort and company make those pissants from Entourage look like the Pennsylvania Amish.

Machu what-chu?

The ayahuasca ceremony in While We’re Young

Garden-variety hallucinogens won’t turn heads in trendy Williamsburg, so the hipsters played by Amanda Seyfried and Adam Driver hold a quasi-traditional ayahuasca ceremony, and invite their middle-aged friends to sample the Peruvian spiritual medicine. Pro tip: Maybe don’t flirt with the shaman.

American meltdown

Chris Kyle’s backyard barbecue in American Sniper

With meats cooking on the barbecue, the Southern California sun radiating warmth from above, and kids and animals running free in the backyard, this low-key child’s birthday party seems like the perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon. And then the PTSD-afflicted party host almost murders a dog for no reason. Good vibes: gone.

Scientology orgy

The boat party in The Master

You’re on a luxurious boat, Philip Seymour Hoffman is singing and dancing up a storm and all of the women are completely naked. What’s the catch? The women aren’t really naked, that’s just a metaphorical expression of your disturbed psyche and Hoffman is your domineering cult leader/father figure. At least no one asked Joaquin Phoenix to freestyle rap.

Matrimony a la Lars von Trier

The wedding reception in Melancholia

Free food, open bars, music and dancing, friends and family—weddings are always fun. Unless you’re unlucky enough to be in a Lars von Trier film, in which case you’re totally screwed. Of course, the entire affair is a harbinger of the apocalypse, but what do you expect when you hire Udo Kier as a wedding planner?

ScarJo fail

Superhero bro-down in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Yeah, ScarJo is tending bar at the party. But you have to go through a literal Hulk if you want to talk to her, and otherwise this is pretty much a complete sausage-fest. There’s hooch, but it’s some 1,000-year-old Asgardian swill, and all anyone can talk about is lifting each other’s hammer. An Avengers party is so douche-heavy that it makes 1 Oak look like a feminist collective.