Ah, St. Patrick’s Day! The day when we celebrate…when we celebrate, umm… *Googles* *Clears throat* The day when we celebrate the arrival of Christianity to the Emerald Isle and the life and death of the patron saint of Ireland. Lá Fhéile Pádraig, as I’m sure you call it around the house.
Well, my family’s roots are Irish and Scotch-Irish to the max (or “leis an uas” as the Celts say), so I get a pass on actually understanding why we’re celebrating. I just get to drink and grow increasingly irritated at people who can’t correctly pronounce “Sláinte!”
But I don’t want to be passive in my defense of my culture – I want to actively help all you wannabe Irishers out there celebrate right. I can’t help you drink more — the capacity is God-given — and I can’t make you louder. I can’t make you enjoy bangers and mash or corned beef and cabbage – it took my parents years to train me. What I CAN do is give you the perfect movie playlist to get you ready for this weekend’s St. Patty’s festivities. Movies about Irishers and leprechauns that are so bad, you’ll have to drink and be merry just to forget.
To paraphrase the old Irish blessing, “May the awful movies rise to meet you.”
All good Irish stories have a life lesson. Moral of this story? When traveling, shake your suitcases out before you head home. Because while you may think you’ve only packed a stolen pot of gold, you may in fact have an evil, greedy, Irish troll stowed away in your knapsack. And then he’s going to escape and push your wife down the stairs. Just before giving you a stroke and chewing on Jennifer Aniston. And tormenting a mentally-challenged handyman.
Aside: filmmakers, nothing is kinder than making the mentally-challenged guy, to whom no one will listen, the only one who knows the truth. Remember how the non-speaking, hearing impaired Linda was the only grown-up who could see Snuffalupagus?
See Also: Leprechauns 2,3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 (due out in 2013). It’s also worth noting that in one movie the titular Leprechaun is in “Tha Hood,” and in another? IN SPACE.
Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959)
I am not making this up. The premise of this gem of awfulness is this: if you humiliate King Brian, Ruler of the Leprechauns, he will challenge you to a drinking game. You will undoubtedly best King Brian, getting him so drunk that he OVERSLEEPS AND LOSES HIS POWERS. So he has to grant you three wishes. And then you have to give Sean Connery your job and your daughter. The end. That’ll learn ya.
Rawhead Rex (1986)
You know how when you’re researching your Irish roots on Ancestry.com you accidentally release a horrible, drippy, hinge-jawed demon and he goes on a cross-country killing spree? No, you don’t know. And that’s precisely why you should stick to the internet when climbing the ol’ family tree. Because when your genealogical curiosity leads you to go poking around an old farm in person, an old Irish farmer will push back a stone and release a flesh-eating demon. FACT.
Far and Away (1992)
The title says it all. It is far and away the dullest, most chemistry-bereft movie about banging your Irish landlord’s daughter ever.
High Spirits (1988)
Oh, Peter O’Toole. You’re one of the greatest actors of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. You’re Lawrence of Friggin’ Arabia. So why oh why did you star in a Steve Guttenberg haunted house movie? And – *peers closer* – oh my gawd, is that Liam Neeson banging Daryl Hannah? I quit. *walks out*
Only the Lonely (1991)
This movie offends me, mostly because of its plodding, unremarkable unfunny-ness. It’s supposed to be a comedy about an Irish cop (John Candy) who can’t get it on with his funeral director girlfriend (Ally Sheedy) because his codependent, manipulative Irish mother (Maureen O’Hara) won’t cut the apron strings. Not only did it take the fabulou,s prolific Irish actress and one-time bombshell, Maureen O’Hara, and totally under-utilize her, it started nailing the coffin shut on the careers of all three stars. John Candy would do only a few more movies before his death in 1995, and Cool Runnings was among them. Sheedy…well, I blame Steve Guttenberg for her problems. But this film did O’Hara no favors as she tried to go all Maggie Smith in her longevity. O’Hara may still be alive, but her career sure isn’t.
Maniac Cop (1988)
Eh, there’s a St. Patrick’s Day parade scene. But it has Bruce Campbell. And a bizarre sbower scene that makes The Thunder from Down Under look subtle in its homoeroticism. And…wait. Why did I put this on the list? This movie is AMAZING!
“But Molly, why did you pick on these awful Irish or Irish-ish movies? What about all the lovely maudlin moving films about Ireland and by Irishers? In America? Finian’s Rainbow? My Left Foot? The Crying Game? In the Name of the Father?”
Because, as our Celtic brethren might say, “Ní Ba mhaith liom tú a ól, a mharú duit féin.” Translation: I want you to drink, not kill yourself.