Here’s a few ideas for film fans to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. While the corned beef is cooking and your green beer is chilling, go to your video store to check out these selections:
In the Name of the Father (1993), starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlewaite and Emma Thompson.
A small-time thief from Belfast, Gerry Conlon is falsely implicated in the IRA bombing of a pub that kills several people while he is in London. Bullied by the British police, he and four of his friends are coerced into confessing their guilt.
Gerry’s father and other relatives in London are also implicated in the crime. He spends 14 years in prison with his father trying to prove his innocence with the help of a British attorney. Based on a true story.
Angela’s Ashes (1999) starring Emily Watson and Robert Carlyle.
Based on the best-selling autobiography by Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes follows the experiences of young Frankie and his family as they try against all odds to escape the poverty endemic in the slums of pre-war Limerick. The film opens with the family in Brooklyn, but following the death of one of Frankie’s siblings, they return home, only to find the situation there even worse.
Granted, the movie doesn’t measure up to the book but it’s still a worthy effort. See the movie and then read the book again.
When Brendan Met Trudy (2000) written by Roddy Doyle (The Commitments).
In a typical opposites attract tale, Brendan is an innocent devoted to singing hymns and cinema, while Trudy is a not-so-innocent with a mysterious night life. This film is as much of a love story with cinema as it is a love story between Brendan and Trudy. The opening echoes Sunset Boulevard’s opening and other films also feature – although budgetary constraints meant that Doyle’s wish list of films to license couldn’t be granted.
The quoting of films both visually and verbally has the potential to get on your nerves but here it is wonderfully and wittily done and always relevant to the story. Watch out also for fake film posters and titles in the background, which give a sly, hilarious comment about film.
When Brendan Met Trudy is very funny and has a compelling story that will surprise. It is highly recommended.
The Secret of Roan Inish (1994) directed by John Sayles.
Fiona, 10, is sent to live with her grandparents in a small fishing village in Donegal, Ireland. She soon learns the local legend that an ancestor of hers married a selkie – a seal who can turn into a human.
Years earlier, her baby brother washed out to sea in a cradle, and some think that he is being raised by the seals. Then Fiona catches sight of a naked little boy on the abandoned isle of Roan Inish, and takes a more active role in uncovering the mysteries that abound.
Into the West (1992), starring Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects).
Grandpa Ward gives a horse he found to his grandchildren, who keep it in their tower-block flat in Dublin. The horse is stolen from them, and the two young boys set out to find it and flee on it. (This one might be hard to find, but it’s a gem.)
Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959) was my absolute favorite as a child. While it loses some of its magic when seen through adult eyes, it is still noteworthy for a singing Sean Connery in one of his earliest roles, as well as Estelle Winwood as Sheelah.
In the enchanted Emerald Isle, Darby O’Gill spins tall tales of leprechauns and banshees. Unfortunately, when he actually captures the leprechaun king and discovers their hidden gold, no one will believe him!
– Carolyn Rummel (with help from the Internet Movie Database)