St. Patrick's Day movie marathon
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! It’s a day of national Irish pride that also somehow gives people an excuse to vomit up their green beer by 10 a.m. If you’re looking to celebrate the Emerald Isle but don’t want to get stomach bile on your Adidas, here’s the alternative: Your four-leaf-clover wielding friends at EW have programmed a 24-hour movie marathon that will not only give you a full range of St. Paddy’s Day-related tie-ins, but also an excellent reason not to leave the house.
So stock up on snacks, grab some like-minded friends, and dive right in! The marathon begins at 10 p.m. on Saturday night and wraps up at 10 p.m. on Sunday night (just in time for a brand new episode of The Client List). Feel free to sneak in some e-mail checks and bathroom breaks in between titles, but no showering — though you’ll still smell better than the dude in the green Dr. Seuss hat double-fisting fifths of Jameson.
All of the films below are available via Netflix or iTunes, for your convenience. Away we go!
The Muppet Movie (1979)
For marathons like this, you have to start on a high note, so why not go with the movie that should have won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1979? (Deal with that, Kramer vs. Kramer!) Like the Irish, Kermit the Frog knows all about the difficulty of being green.
Leprechaun 3 (1995)
Here’s the thing: Most every movie in the Leprechaun franchise is awful, but how can you ignore one of the most iconic pieces of St. Patrick’s Day-related imagery? So it’s best to get this one out of the way. Some Leprechaun aficionados prefer the first film (possibly because of the presence of a pre-fame Jennifer Aniston), but the third is pretty charming in its utter lack of production values: Though the titular character arrives in Las Vegas (which allows for a ton of puns about luck), the bulk of this movie takes place not in casinos or fancy clubs but at a pawn shop just off the Strip.
Michael Collins (1997)
Why not wash the taste of Leprechaun out of your mouth with a genuinely excellent film about a great Irish hero. Liam Neeson plays Collins, who fought for Ireland’s independence and then strove to keep the country united. It’s lush, well-paced, and has a killer cast that includes Aidan Quinn, Julia Roberts, Alan Rickman, and Stephen Rea.
Tone shift alert! The best way to plow through those dreary overnight hours is with Slimer, the greatest green character in cinema history. (Sorry, Hulk. And Frankenstein’s monster.) Also, Bill Murray is Irish!
Barry Lyndon (1975)
Stanley Kubrick’s epic saga about a cunning Irish rake who bounds his way through 18th century aristocracy is all about the details. It’s a deliberate film, clocking in at over three hours, but it’s so lovely that it can just wash over you. The costumes! The lighting! The crazy-huge war sequences! Of course, the less film-literate friends of yours can use this block to catch a nap before hitting the breakfast hours ready to rock.
The Snapper (1993)
And now for something completely different! This somewhat forgotten film is adapted (by the supremely talented Stephen Frears) from the second book in writer Roddy Doyle’s “Barrytown Trilogy,” which also includes The Commitments and The Van. It’s a joyful family dramady about a 20-something girl and her sudden pregnancy. It’s manic and sweet in all the right ways.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
The Fighter (2010)
Now that you’ve watched some turtles do some ninja kicks, why not turn your attention to humans boxing? Director David O. Russell’s award-winning walk through the life of former champ “Irish” Micky Ward is one of the great sports movies of the 21st century, and features some great performances by Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, and those women who play Wahlberg’s sisters.
The Secret of Kells (2009)
Confusingly, this is not a film about the things that lurk in R. Kelly’s closet. Rather, it’s a wonderful animated bit of Irish folklore about the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels in the New Testament. Come for the trippy, gorgeous style, stay for the deft (and efficient!) storytelling.
Gangs of New York (2002)
You knew that Daniel Day-Lewis had to slide onto this list at some point, but which Irish-centric performance would it be? My Left Foot? In the Name of the Father? Both are fine performances, but Martin Scorsese’s Five Points drama incorporates the huge influx of Irish immigrants to New York City in the middle of the 19th century. Day-Lewis’s Bill the Butcher is anything but a fan of the Papist trespassers, but the movie is fabulously told, well acted, and should have totally defeated Chicago for Best Picture at the Oscars. Feel free to argue with your friends over which DiCaprio accent was worse: His Irish here or his Bostonian in The Departed? Also: Did you remember that Cameron Diaz was in this movie?
The Crying Game (1992)
We’ve already had one Neil Jordan movie on here (Michael Collins, roughly 16 hours ago), but he’s a definitive Irish filmmaker, and The Crying Game is his masterpiece. Though it’s based around the Troubles (a term used to describe the internal political conflict within Northern Ireland), it seamlessly incorporates themes of sexuality, race, and gender. Even if you know the big twist (and if you don’t, don’t spoil it for yourself), it’s still a remarkably taut thriller.
The Shore (2011)
For a sort of coda to The Crying Game, check out this Oscar-winning short that tells the tale of two childhood friends who were torn apart by the Troubles and then reconnect as retirees. It’s a warm, meticulously told story that is lovingly shot and features an incredible, understated lead performance by Ciarán Hinds.
Think of this marathon like a concert (considering it’s length, maybe it’s a Phish show!), and use Dublin-set Once as the encore. The plot couldn’t be simpler, but the music is so pretty and melancholy that you’ll be raising your lighters in your living room as you collect the debris from the previous day’s celebration. You’ve done it: You’ve celebrated St. Patrick’s Day from a number of different angles, and you’re not hung over, hoarse, or covered in someone else’s bodily fluids. Slainte!
The Client List. Seriously, you should be watching this show.