A Drunk, Bitter Unromantic (Me) Played ‘The Notebook’ Drinking Game

Matt Staff
(Photo: obsev / nypost)

Society’s stuffy parlors of puppy-eyed romantics that preach the merits and the meanings of Nicholas Spark’s The Notebook from behind glasses of Pinot Whatever irritate me more than that frizzy-haired WoW gamer dude who thinks it’d be chill to raid in a quiet café on a Monday morning. Every click of his mouse, which looks like an unevolved Transformer action figure, is as disruptive to the peace as a thunderclap on a f*cking Midwestern plain.

 So here I am, a full-time boozehound. I haven’t found the one, or she hasn’t found me. Granted, maybe she hasn’t taken the time to look underneath all the barstools. Maybe I’m a lonesome, beer-soaked, stumbling traveler because I wasn’t born with the sparkling eyes and suave, combed-over, grizzled looks of Ryan Gosling. I mean, that’s probably it. In an act of outrage—nay, defiance—I took the typical Notebook Drinking Game, bent it out of shape, re-worked the alcohol limit rules, and settled on a case of the richest, most full-bodied winter warmers available at my local liquor store—Pyramid Snow Cap—before hitting play.

Here’s a quick rundown from College Humor about the game:

What You'll Need:

1. One DVD of The Notebook 

2. One case of your favorite beer

How It's Played:

For this game, all you need to do is open your beer, pop the DVD in the player, and watch the movie with the following rules:

1. Take one sip every time every time Ryan Gosling kisses Rachel McAdams.

2. Take one sip every time the movie cuts between past and present.

3. Take two sips every time the old lady does not know where she is.

4. Take one sip every time Ryan Gosling appears on screen shirtless.

5. Take two sips every time Ryan Gosling causes you to question your own sexuality. 

6. Finish your beer every time you wonder if the reason you're still single is because you're actually a repressed homosexual. 

7. Take one sip every time the movie causes you to cry. 

8. Take two sips every time you start crying for reasons unrelated to the movie. 

9. Take one sip every time you wonder why you can't find love like this.

10. Take two sips every time you wonder aloud why you can't find love like this. 

11. Finish the case every time you decide the movie is too much for you to handle and snap the DVD in half. 


And now, my booze-soaked tale:

It’s Friday night. I’m fresh out the artificially-lit, air-conditioned office. The rain falls sideways in volatile sheets, whipped by the wind. It’s December, and it’s freezing. The air’s cold enough to hint at the potential for snow, but too warm to let it f*cking happen. My face is numb. This is Seattle. This is home. Dammit. 

I share a horrific close quarters bus ride home with a Sharpie-sniffing homeless madcap who breaks three pencils in half on a notepad from writing too hard. Like, wait, what? He mutters on about the government. He’s probably voting for Trump. He’s an urban ogre, and I’m pretty sure he takes showers in McDonald’s grease. He lights up a cig halfway along the nonstop express ride home, forces my hand in secondhand smoking, and shortly thereafter he’s voted off the island. 

Anyway, getting off the bus, I grab a case of Snow Caps from the local liquor store because my tolerance for booze has exceeded my budget, and living in Seattle, Pyramid beer comes cheap. Pyramid Snow Cap clocks in at 7% ABV per bottle, and there’s never going to be anything wrong with that. 

I’m playing The Notebook drinking game tonight, documenting the experience for you, and fueling my ride with a case of Snow Caps. This is rock bottom, and I don’t give a f*ck. I’m hitting my stride. My liver’s screwed.

I’m home. I toss my coat, bag, whatever, on the couch like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, crank up the heat, turn on the TV, crack open my first winter warmer of the night, and pretty much dive in. I make plans in the back of my head to order an Italian Night Club sandwich from Jimmy John’s at the six-beer mark, because I’m a monstrous example of what happens when you’re 6’5”, generally out of shape, and get the drunchies.


A Drunk/Sober Key for the Reader:

Drunk chicken scratch (notes I took while watching): Bold italics

Sober scribbles: Normal

Over the course of the first hour I consumed six Snow Caps, thought about wine for my saddened beer-soaked soul at one point, and caught myself with a case of repressed hot tears halfway through the sixth Snow Cap. It was a bit aggressive.

With a devilish glint in his eye and an angelic smile, Gosling catches McAdams’ eye and pretty much exclaims, “Imma throw myself off this Ferris wheel if you don’t go on a date with me.”

Uh, wait, what? Times have changed. Those people are locked up now somewhere on Shutter Island, sharing a quadrant with Leo DiCaprio, who finally went insane after not winning an Oscar. 

This whole first date business: the two blossoming lovebirds dance, then cuddle in the middle of the road, silently hoping no cars or cops come rolling through. This Gosling’s got some stones, man.

Pretty absurd. That’s the general gist of this move. His (Gosling’s) first impression centered on the most extreme of circumstances—jokes or no jokes, the guy was going to jump f*cking ship. Would you let Gosling jump ship? No. You’d jump into a piranha-infested, disease-addled lake with him.

Ugh, I’ve never had sex that looked like that.

Oh, that’s right, no one does. I still agree with this Snow Cap-addled thought.

How hard could it be, McAdams? This is motherf*cking Ryan Gosling. Look at him. He’s the king of cavemen. An ode to the success of the heartbroken young man who stopped caring about personal hygiene, but looks better than anyone that does.

Yeah, it’s not going to be easy…unless you’re Ryan Gosling.

Booze update: About nine in, and it’s going to my head. Oh, f*ck. That’s right: I forgot the whole order up a Jimmy John’s for dinner game plan. 

Shaggy locks and an unkempt beard are generally signs that someone’s speeding downhill for the “no f*cks” zone, but Gosling as Noah just looks like any dude who can grow a kick-ass beard after 10 successful New Year’s Resolutions. 

God, it seems like I was very fixated on this whole part of the movie, and as my own personal therapist, I’ll diagnose this as a manifestation of my glaring unrest with not being able to grow a beard at 22 years old. Shout out to my gingers.

“Do you think in another life I could be a bird? Like reincarnation.”

“If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.”

That took an unexpected turn, and that’s all she (I) wrote. Do you think, in another life, I could be this guy? Honestly, it’s a bizarre conversation that’d make most anyone not pretending to be in some sort of real-life rom-com squirm.

I want to take _______ out in a rowboat and rediscover our extinguished love for one another.

I was clearly referencing the rainy rowboat scene; you know, when McAdams is pissed about Gosling not writing her back, but he actually did, for 365 days straight. Uh *mic drop*.

Real talk, this is how that scenario would unravel nowadays:

“Why didn’t you text me back?” 

“My phone died.”

Romance is dead.

Further, reading this now, I’m sad-laughing that I managed to cross out the name I wrote in some sort of hasty display of trying to, but not actually, forgetting about her: you know, the one that got away. And of course they’re on a non-motorized boat, paddling across the windswept surface of some lake that could be on the front cover of Sunset magazine’s Winter issue.

This breakup scene takes a massive, steaming sh*t on anything remotely close to a dramatic breakup that occurs in this universe.

Someone this beautiful, this sad, makes a breakup impossible. McAdams’ tear-soaked lashes are like puppy eyes on steroids. I definitely cried alongside her at this point as my roommate walked into our living room. The lights were off, I was sucking on my tenth Snow Cap like a baby with his bottle, and I had the Jimmy John’s online order form open but I was torn between the Italian Night Club with peppers and mayo or with peppers and EZ Mayo. Yes, that’s what my life had come to. Let’s just say my roommate had a goddamn hoot.

My god, I can’t handle this. This couple and their love is literally strong enough to power through Alzheimer’s! Alzheimer’s, dude! 

From there, it’s a bunch of tear-stained empty space. At this point I’d finished the case of Snow Caps, was a general trainwreck, and in no capacity to be viewed by anyone on this planet. As a general rule of thumb, no one with anything vaguely close to an emotional sensor should watch this flick as they get themselves lit. This one was an emotional rollercoaster to put a damn amusement park out of business.


Some final notes:

Allie’s (McAdams’) mother is an epic b*tch. Dude, she kept all those letters, but she also dated the guy who plays Dan Scott on the acclaimed TV show One Tree Hill, which pretty much guarantees that horrible people are meant to be with one another. 

On every page I have written that Lon (James Marsden) is lurking. I mean, think about it. The handsome, very-much-so strapping young lad has a face that’d send DaVinci’s blood racing to all his intimate places, but yet, we really don’t give a sh*t about him. The truth hurts, Lon.

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