Happy St. Patrick’s Day, fellow lovers of lists. If there’s one thing we Americans love to do it’s adopt a holiday and turn it into a reason for drinking. Actually the Japanese really like to do that, too, but that’s beside the point. According to my completely reliable and not at all anecdotal sources, St Patrick’s Day is one of the more successful of these holidays due to the other thing we really love: Blatant stereotyping! There’s simply no better holiday for celebrating how little you know of Not-America by getting drunk on green beer, wearing obnoxious green clothing and speaking in an accent that would make the Lucky Charms leprechaun ask you to dial it down a bit.
Certainly all of those things are awesome, but what if you just want to hang out at home and enjoy all the Irish-y stuff without the puking drunks? Well, it just so happens that I have a handy list of films (and one TV show) to watch.
This one’s a cute, cheesy thing to watch if you’re looking for something family friendly to go along with all those St. Patrick’s Day-themed art project the kids will be bringing home for a week. It’s a Disney classic from back in the day when adorable people got themselves into whimsical predicaments every day. “Wee” people run about causing mischief, a banshees hovers around and wails, and Sean Connery sings. For as many times as I’ve seen it, those things are all I can recall about the film. It must be because this happens:
And after that I just zone out.
Leprechaun holds a place of honor on most lists as one of the stupidest things to ever happen. It’s a horror/comedy about a homicidal leprechaun. The leprechaun rides a tricycle, can be distracted by throwing shoes at his way (which he has to stop and polish), and is only defeated by rubbing a four-leafed clover on him. If you’re looking for something so terrible it’s awful, this is the movie for you. Oh, and please be sure to check out some of its exquisite sequels, like Back 2 Tha Hood or Leprechaun 4: In Space.
This one hits that cheesy, sentimental spot just right. John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, lots of sweeping green scenery and melodrama, and sprinklings of Irish music in the soundtrack. The Quiet Man is a love story set in Innisfree in an idealized version of Irish society. Mr. Wayne plays an Irish-born American boxer who returns to his homeland and falls in love with Ms. O’Hara’s character. There are troubles that stand in their way of happiness,but in the end all is well. It’s a classic film version of comfort food, appropriate for family viewing or just winding down alone.
No, it’s not a movie. What? I never said this list was only movies, so hush up and enjoy! Begorrah, you guys are a picky lot. Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers was one of my favorite cartoons, and this was one of my favorite episodes. The Rescue Rangers get in trouble when they crash-land in Ireland and Darby, The King of the Leprechauns, tricks them into helping him defeat a banshee who has enslaved all of his kinfolk. What with all the shamrocks and magic and gold and leprechauns (faith and begorrah, just try and count how many times Darby says “begorrah”!) it’s another great choice to watch with children. Or you could just watch it for a sweet rush of nostalgia, like I do. My only real beef with this one is how they drew Darby as if he were the lovechild or Mr. Yunioshi and Carrot Top.
Those of you who’ve read my review of this movie know I’m in love with it. It’s an Irish movie based on Irish folklore with an Irish voice cast. Beautifully written, wonderfully acted, gorgeously scored and with stunning animation that will make you say “Wow” out loud, The Secret of Kells came out of left field to give Up a run for its Oscar. This is an absolute must in my household any time of the year, and especially on St. Patrick’s Day.
And here’s where you go if you want to some kickass in your St. Patrick’s Day that involves no one actually getting an ass kicked. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s great to watch alone, it’s great with a group of people, it’s great at being great. I’ve yet to run across someone who doesn’t like this movie, and it’s no wonder why. Its characters, the music, the cinematography, the story, the writing are all amazing. It’s constant action and just the right amount of humor, with fantastic actors and endlessly quotable lines. It’s the perfect party film for the holiday, meeting pretty much every stereotype on the list without making you feel like kind of a dork for watching it. There are Irish accents, an Irish pub, Irish music, the stereotype about Irish people loving potatoes, the film opens on St. Patricks Day aaaaannnnd Willam Dafoe does a friggin’ jig. In a room full of dead people.
That’s kind of Irish, right?
This is just my silly little list of favorite St. Paddy’s Day fare. If I left off your favorite, let me know in the comments. You might open me up to some things to write about next year.