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By Jim Agnew | February 9, 2004

Plato was a great philosopher, but could he make a dirty martini?

For those of you that have never witnessed the late ‘80s Tom Cruise classic “Cocktail,” let’s quickly recap. In “Cocktail,” Cruise plays a smartass bartender with a heart of gold named Flanagan. It’s the same movie as “Top Gun” and “Days Of Thunder,” but instead of playing with cool things like jets and race cars, this time Cruise gets to do exciting stuff like make mixed drinks and go to community college.

But what makes “Cocktail” deeper and more thought provoking than the previously mentioned flicks is the presence of a surly drunk bartender named Coughlin (Bryan Brown).

Now Coughlin isn’t your run of the mill drunken Irish guy with a rock hard liver and a button red nose. Coughlin is a bartender / philosopher that’s learned a few things about life and the universe between mixing screwdrivers. Coughlin’s kind of like a drunk Obi-Wan Kenobi, but instead of showing Luke how to use a lightsaber, he instructs Flanagan on the ways of the intoxicated and how to spin vodka bottles.

The cocksure Coughlin even has a name for his whiskey infused philosophy. It’s entitled: Coughlin’s Law.

Now Coughlin’s law isn’t for everyone. It should be followed with caution (and completely avoided if you’re a member of AA). Look at what happens to Flanagan as he leads his life according to Coughlin’s Law.

Young Flanagan drops out of college, becomes a full time bartender, loses his girlfriend (to that tricky old Coughlin), gets a new girl pregnant, punches several people in the face and learns to twirl gin bottles with the best of them. BUT, he also marries the pregnant girl who turns out to be rich, he takes her money and opens, what else, but a bar. A bar named Cocktails and Dreams.

If you follow Coughlin’s Law, your dreams may not come true, but the cocktails will keep a coming, and coming and coming. Cheers.


Anything else is always something better.
When you see the color of their panties, you know you’ve got talent.
Beer is for breakfast around here, drink or be gone.
Never show surprise, never lose your cool.
When you’ve given them crabs. Then you’ll really know hatred.
Coughlin’s diet: “Cocktails and dreams”.

Socrates, Sun Zu, Descartes. At one time they were great philosophers. But to the Red Bull drinking, Internet dating, X-box playing generation they’re just a bunch of dead guys. When was the last time you heard someone quote Plato? When was the last time you heard someone quote Jeff Spicoli? Point made. The true philosopher-warrior-poets of our generation are Obi Wan Kenobi, Tyler Durden and Travis Bickle.

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