Thursday, March 17, 2011

Watchin’ of the Green!

Today is the day that despite actual nationality, everyone becomes Irish. I happen to be about a quarter Irish but every March the blarney kicks in and I become a full blooded Irish woman! When I was in high school they sold green bagels and cream cheese to mark the day. Later in my college years I moved on to green beer but now as a responsible librarian I turn to other ways to celebrate the day (okay…sometimes I do revert to green beer). These very Irish films can give you the Irish spirit but help you keep your St. Patrick’s Day safe and sane.

Intermission (DVD)
I saw this film years ago at the Toronto film festival. It has a definite dark edge to it but like Pulp Fiction, it has scenes that are inappropriately funny. I found myself laughing at things that were just wrong. The setting is working-class Dublin but it is hard to describe the plotline as there are a dozen major characters whose lives intersect in romance, crime and farce. John (Cillian Murphy), Lehiff (Colin Farrell) and Oscar (David Wilmot) are mates who continue to make bad decisions regarding love and life. Colm Meaney plays Jerry Lynch , who has watched too many cop reality shows and is convinced that he would make a much better reality star. Bring in a whole slew of brown sauce references and you have a dark, dark comedy that is often unsettling…but it's also touching and startlingly original.

Crying Game (DVD)
Alright…who doesn’t know “the secret” of the Crying Game?? I remember seeing this when it first came out and how keeping “the secret” was as important as not giving away the ending of the Sixth Sense (Bruce Willis is really dead….oops!). The always excellent Stephen Rea plays Fergus, an Irish Republican Army volunteer who develops an unlikely friendship with Jody (the also always amazing Forest Whitaker), a kidnapped British soldier lured into an IRA trap. When things go terribly wrong, Fergus heads to London to look up Jody’s girlfriend, Dil. Another unlikely friendship develops and….well I guess you are just going to have to watch it, won’t you! You won’t be disappointed; this is a clever film that keeps you guessing and makes you care about the journey of the characters. (Did I mention that Bruce Willis is really dead in the Sixth Sense?)

Waking Ned Devine (DVD)
In the remote Irish village of Tullymore, someone is holding a winning lottery ticket worth several million in the National Lottery. The good thing is that this is a life changing sum of money, the bad is that ticket holder, Ned Devine, dropped dead from shock when he learned of his good fortune. No, I am not giving the big surprise away (Bruce Willis….) as this happens in the beginning of the film. When his mates Jackie O'Shea (Ian Bannen) and Michael O'Sullivan (David Kelly) come to call on him, they find him dead, still clutching the winning ticket. They concoct a crazy scheme involving someone posing as Ned to fool a representative from the Lottery commission who comes to verify the winner. Laughs, madness and some nudity that you won’t soon forget ensues…it is a story of greed and conniving but somehow, when the Irish do it, it seems charming and quirky; a tale to be told by a fire with a pint in hand (preferably green beer).

Once (DVD)
Irish boy musician meets Czech girl musician in Dublin and they go on to win an Academy Award. Ahhhhh, ain’t love grand? Once is a modern day musical about the dreams of a Dublin street musician to become a success and the Czech girl that inspires him. Or I guess I should say they inspire each other as they sing their way around the mean streets of Dublin. After spending time with this romance of a film and its original music, it is easy to see why it was winner of the World Cinema Audience Award at Sundance (2007) and why its song, "Falling Slowly" went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song (2008).

So enjoy the day that makes it easy to be green or at least easy to be wearin’ the green! Instead of green beer or Irish whiskey, try these films to fill yourself with Irish spirit!

Erin Go Bragh!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

And the winner is....

....for anyone who is interested....although I didn't do as well on the technical awards at the Oscars this year, I did get all the majors awards. But even better...I beat my friend...who says there's no free lunch (well...dinner!)