Drunkboat tells the story of a young teenager, Abe (Jacob Zachar) who manipulates the unsuspecting help of his alcoholic Uncle Mort (John Malkovich) to buy a boat (a Drunkboat) from a con man named Mr. Fletcher (John Goodman) when his mother Eileen (Dana Delaney) is out of town.
The story resonates with the struggle of Uncle Mort, making the story much deeper than a simple tale of a boy and his pursuit of a boat. Both Uncle Mort and Abe come of age in the film.
Based on Bob Meyer's original play.
Brought to you by PRODUCERS Left Bank Films and Magnificant Mile.
After twenty years of broken bottles and empty hallways, Mort Gleason (John Malkovich) witnesses his nephew Moo being beaten while in a drunken stupor. The short contact with family brings Mort back to what are left of his senses and he returns to the last home he remembers in Chicago.
His sister Eileen (Dana Delaney) lives in their family home now with her sixteen year old son, Abe (Jacob Zachar). Her older son Moo, the now missing nephew, helped spark Mort's return to his family. Three, four, five weeks pass as Mort waits outside his home and makes a tenuous re-entry into family life.
Abe dreams of a sailboat and distant horizons. He saves money and sees an advertisement for the Kathy II. He and his friend calculate a way to buy the vessel from two unscrupulous rogues Fletcher (John Goodman) & Morley (Jim Ortlieb) who make ends meet wholesaling liquor and operating a sometime boatyard.
Eileen, however, is unaware that her youngest son is planning his escape. Comfortable enough with Mort's presence to allow her a night away from home, Eileen's departure allows Abe to seize the opportunity that his mother's absence provides. He purchases a beaten-up wooden sailboat that he scheduled to be delivered to their house while Mort is in charge.
ROGER EBERT'S REVIEW (2010)
John Goodman plays a reseller of stolen booze, who transports it hidden in an old boat he tows. In a saloon, he encounters John Malkovich as a shell-shocked vet. Story follows the alcoholic vet home to the house of his estranged sister (Dana Delaney), who has had enough of his chaotic life. But her son (Jacob Zacher) dreams of sailing a boat out of Chicago, through the St. Lawrence Seaway, and--why not? Africa! China! Meanwhile, the vet pursues strange purposes in the back yard. Well-played Malkovich character is introverted and wounded. Whimsical, bittersweet and touching. Filmed in Chicago, directed and co-written by Bob Meyer.