Since we’re of the mind that any proper pre-game should include the screening of a flick or two, we’ve compiled some of our favorite Emerald Isle-themed movies. And – as with today’s holiday – you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy ‘em.
Check out our list past the jump!
“The Commitments” (1991)
This tale of a group of misfit musicians in Dublin who form a soul band manages loads of heartwarming laughs sans any cheesiness. The then-unknown actors were chosen for their musical talents, but many have gone on to achieve substantial fame – most notably, Colm Meaney (“Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Con Air,” “Layer Cake”) and Glen Hansard (vocalist/guitarist of “The Frames” and star of “Once”).
“Bloody Sunday” (2002)
U2 aren’t the only ones who’ve immortalized the infamous 1972 civil rights protest-turned massacre through art – director Paul Greengrass interpreted the events of January 30th in this moving documentary-style drama. The film is an especially powerful way to view the historically gruesome clash in that it’s shot almost entirely from the perspective of one person – Ivan Cooper (played by James Nesbitt), a member of the Parliament of Northern Ireland and a key organizer of that day’s fated Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march.
“My Left Foot” (1989)
The incredible true story of Irish writer and artist Christy Brown – born with cerebral palsy and only able to control his left foot – earned Daniel Day-Lewis an Oscar for Best Actor. Day-Lewis’ brilliance in embodying Brown as a man dually fascinating and frustrating, genius and flawed, cantankerous and loving, dependent and rebellious is more than worth 103 minutes of your time.
If you aren’t already a fan of popular Irish rock band “The Frames” or its lead singer’s spinoff “The Swell Season,” you will be after seeing this movie. Essentially “Before Sunrise” set to music, the indie Dublin-based drama follows two struggling musicians (played by real-life musical collaborators Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova – who wrote and performed all the songs in the movie) as they meet haphazardly, bond over their past heartaches, and record an album together. The film became an instant classic for us after one viewing – it boasts faceted, lovable characters and understated moments chock-full of sentiment while remaining refreshingly cliché-free.
“In America” (2003)
Director Jim Sheridan wrote this semi-autobiographical tale with his daughters Kristen and Naomi, and it’s easy to see that he was very close to the material. You’ll be hard pressed not to reach for the tissues while watching this poignant and lovingly-told account of an immigrant Irish family’s attempts to carve out a piece of the American dream while struggling to survive in New York City. Sheridan and his daughters share more than just the bond of a writing credit on the movie – they nabbed an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay, as well.
You thought we were going to leave this out in favor of more hoity-toity fare, didn’t you? Ye of little faith! There’s nothing not to love about the B movie bloodlust of this awesomely bad cult classic horror flick (aside from, say, the ridiculous performance of a then-undiscovered Jennifer Aniston…although even that is pretty entertaining!) And holy pot o’ gold we freakin’ love you, Warwick Davis. Though we’ll always favor the original, honorable mentions go to: “Leprechaun 2” (1994), “Leprechaun 3” (1995), “Leprechaun 4: In Space” (1997), and – our personal over-the-top-in-its-ridiculousness favorite – “Leprechaun in the Hood” (2000).
Tell us how you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the comments section and on Twitter!