St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, and once again everything is coming up shamrocks, leprechauns and dyeing various beverages green.
I don’t have anything against these things (I even did a fun post on leprechauns for GeekMom a couple of years ago), but there is so much more to Ireland than that. Take unmarked bomb packages for instance. I’m kidding, of course. As a pasty blend of Irish, Welsh and British (keep out of direct sunlight), I get a pass. That’s how it works, right?
Anyway, there are plenty of Irish-focused movies that have nothing to do with leprechauns that would be fun watches during the week when people of all faiths and cultures celebrate the “Apostle of Ireland,” even when they have no idea why.
The Secret of Kells
This first film is suitable for the entire family, and it is a beautifully animated story from Cartoon Saloon about the creation of the Book of Kells (the 9th-century, elaborately illustrated version of the Gospels). It focuses on the Irish mythology element of the book, and was nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Animated Picture.” This is the first film in director Tomm Moore’s “Irish Folklore Trilogy.” The latest installment, Wolfwalkers, came out out last year and is also currently nominated for an Oscar in the same category.
The Boondock Saints
Okay, I didn’t say these would all be family films or award winners. As a matter of fact, this action film about good Irish Catholic boys in Boston on a vigilante bender has some scorchingly bad reviews…as well as an avid and huge cult following. It has over-the-top violence, an absurd plot, and a couple of gratingly annoying supporting characters, but, man oh man, is it loads of fun. Thanks to Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery who bring this pair of gun crazy vigilantes to life, this film has inspired cosplay, fanart, tattoo designs and more by legions of faithful fans.
Waking Ned Devine
Known across the pond as Waking Ned this comedy is about an pair of elderly best buds in a tiny village of Tulaigh Mhór trying to discover the identity of the winner of the Irish National Lottery (who was revealed to be from the village). As it turns out, the winner is the reclusive, and now deceased, Ned Devine. Soon the industrious pair work on a plot to somehow claim the money for themselves and the village. This entire movie is fun, but is worth it for David Kelly’s performance alone that includes one of the funniest nude scenes in movie history.
The setting of this film also shows off the beauty of the Emerald Isle (although it was actually shot on the Isle of Man, which did a great job standing in for Ireland).
A nutty comedy with an ensemble cast that includes Peter O’Toole, Steve Guttenberg, Daryl Hannah, and Beverly D’Angelo, as well as Liam Neeson as a farting ghost (he has a particular set of skills). Part ghost story, part rom-com, part Fawlty Towers, a failing hotel owner decides to market the establishment as being “haunted” until a couple of real ghosts show up and complicate the whole thing. This is the epitome of 1980s dorky comedy mixed with British style humor in an Irish setting. It might not have been the most memorable movie of the decade, but it’s good for some lighthearted laughs.
This week, I invite everyone to be Irish (even in spirit), and enjoy a little Irish humor (or action).