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Irish films a pleasure to watch – and that’s no blarney

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, March 17, 2013, at 7:17 a.m.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In celebration of all things Irish and in the spirit of the holiday, here are some of my favorite films that are set in Ireland or have Irish people in them:

“Once” (2006) – A beautifully moving and sweetly romantic modern-day musical about a busker, an immigrant and their eventful week in Dublin as they write, rehearse and record songs that tell their love story.

“In America” (2003) – Wonderful performances (especially from Samantha Morton, who received an Oscar nomination) mark this excellent tale of an Irish family that moves to New York City, where they encounter promise and hardship.

“The Commitments” (1991) – Riotous, energetic and very funny tale of a band that wants to bring soul music to the people of Dublin. Director Alan Parker at his best.

“The Crying Game” (1992) – Captivating exploration of politics and gender in the tale of a British soldier who is kidnapped by IRA terrorists. One of his captors becomes his friend and vows to contact the soldier’s lover, with surprising consequences.

“My Left Foot” (1989) – Daniel Day-Lewis’ astonishing, Oscar-winning performance is the highlight of this biography of Christy Brown, who was born with cerebral palsy and learned to paint and write with only his left foot.

“Rory O’Shea Was Here” (2004) – Breezy tale of a man with cerebral palsy in Dublin who is befriended by a free-spirited man that encourages him to live life to the fullest, despite his handicaps.

“Hunger” (2008) – Director Steve McQueen’s haunting portrait of an Irish republican (Michael Fassbender) who leads his fellow inmates at a Northern Irish prison on a hunger strike. The film has an excellently executed 17-minute-long take with no cuts (that’s forever in screen time).

“Waking Ned Divine” (1998) – Charming comedy set in a small Irish village about elderly community members who try to claim the lottery ticket of a resident who was so excited by winning that he died from shock. OK, that doesn’t sound very funny, but it is.

10 films with ‘green’ in the title

“How Green Was My Valley” (1941) – Classic drama following the trials and tribulations of a struggling family in a Welsh mining town.

“The Green Berets” (1968) – Gruff hero John Wayne leads gruff Green Berets on a mission in South Vietnam.

“Soylent Green” (1973) – Charlton Heston discovers that tasty snack could be his left hand.

“Green Card” (1990) – Renowned French actor Gerard Depardieu marries tolerated American actress Andie MacDowell to stay in the U.S.

“Fried Green Tomatoes” (1991) – Amiable chick-flick about an unhappy housewife (Kathy Bates) who befriends an old lady (Jessica Tandy) in a nursing home and is enthralled by the tales she tells.

“The Green Mile” (1999) – Moving adaptation of a Stephen King story about a very large man on Death Row who possesses healing powers.

“Green Zone” (2010) – Matt Damon re-teams with his “Bourne” director in what was basically a Bourne movie.

“The Green Hornet” (2011) – Seth Rogen goes the superhero route as a masked vigilante newspaper publisher with a penchant for Asian sidekicks.

“Green Lantern” (2011) – Ryan Reynolds goes the superhero route as a test pilot who is granted an alien ring that gives him otherworldly powers – such as being overly photogenic.

“The Odd Life of Timothy Green” (2012) – A couple (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) are suddenly parents to a, well, odd boy.

Reach Rod Pocowatchit at rpocowatchit@wichitaeagle.com.

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