Saturday, March 13, 2010

Irish Movie Craic

If y’are a holiday and movie hound, such as meself, you may be wantin’ to catch up on some Irish films this weekend (I’m done trying to sound Irish now – you’re welcome). Kevin Cullen of The Boston Globe offers his choices, and here are my favorites. Oddly, they are all from the 90s.
The Secret of Roan Inish (1994) – Beautifully filmed story of a little girl who explores her connection to a Celtic fairy tale (could be a little disconcerting and magically confusing to children).  I enjoyed the movie for the independence and strength exhibited by the little girl and the observations on and scenes regarding a life so dependent on the ocean.  One of my favorites, John Lynch, plays a small role.
Into the West (1992) – More children taking control of their own destinies. The movie is part American boys’ adventure, part Irish fairy tale, and part life triumphs over tragedy love story.  The youngest boy is particularly engaging while Gabriel Byrne plays the drunken father horribly well. I really like this movie.
The Snapper (1993) – I may have to watch this one again, because I am shocked to recall how much I could enjoy a movie about an unwanted pregnancy due to a drunken sexual/forced(?) encounter. Yet, somehow, it manages to be downright hilarious (or at least to be remembered that way).  Note well:  you either need your ears tuned to an Irish dialect, or English subtitles to catch most of this one.
The Commitments  (1991) - This movie is an excellent way to get your Irish ears on.  Shortly after it came out (and was wildly popular), I attended a wedding in Ireland during which we danced no fewer than three times to the live band’s never-ending rendition of Mustang Sally.  What good craic that was!  Later we walked around the area in Northern Dublin where the movie was filmed and where the brother and sister-in-law of the groom both taught school.
Waking Ned Devine (1998) - Funny story about death, fraud, and the adage “it takes a village.”  I can scarcely believe it myself, but it was funny and good. I remember liking the fight left in the old guys and the plot twist.  David Kelly, also in Into the West, is a terrific old guy in this one too.
About Adam (2000) – If you can’t stand Kate Hudson, this is not the movie for you.  It’s not so much about being Irish, or having anything to do with Ireland, but it’s an entertaining movie about a philandering man and three very different Irish sisters.  Frances O’Connor is terrific as a steam pot of sexual repression.


HaynesBE said...

To your list I'd add the movie Once.
From Netflix:
(2006) R
In this charming contemporary musical helmed by John Carney, a street musician (Glen Hansard) in Dublin, Ireland, strikes up a friendship with a migrant street hawker (Markéta Irglová), and the duo ends up composing and recording a series of songs over the course of a week. The tunes mirror their burgeoning romance and help the young busker release his musical passions. The actors wrote the tunes they perform, winning an Oscar for their efforts.

Lynne said...

I didn't include that one because despite the fact that it's only 86 minutes long, and we started watching it last weekend, we're only half way through it!

Thanks for the addition.

Cheryl said...

Love all of these movies. The music in "Once" is haunting and beautiful. Check out youtube for great video of their Oscar acceptance speech.

The Players is also fantastic.

Lynne said...

Could you possibly mean The Playboys with Robin Wright Penn, Albert Finney, and Aidan Quinn? I had that on my list because I remembered really liking it, but when I looked at it on the imdb website, I realized I hadn't remembered much except that I liked it. It is also from the 90s (1992).

Cheryl said...

Yes, The Playboys! Duh.

Lynne said...

I finished watching Once last night and I didn't love it. It was gentle and benevolent and even interesting in parts, but it wasn't as simply beautiful as I expected it to be. I was totally engaged by the young woman's character (I think it was her dragging her vacuum cleaner around like a dog that did it - either that or her piano playing) but the man and their story not nearly as much.

I really enjoyed watching their time inside the music store and recording studio. I'd give it a 6/10.