St. Patrick’s Day falls during spring break this year, offering students a chance to update their Netflix queues or check the cinemas for some school-free, holiday viewing.
Unfortunately there isn’t much theaters have to offer. Limited release “Kill the Irishman,” a clichd-seeming Irish crime thriller in the style of “The Boondock Saints,” hits theaters Friday.
St. Patrick’s Day release “Lord of the Dance 3D” looks even worse, with a rendition of the famous Irish musical production seemingly ready to capture the holiday-ruining spirit of “The Nutcracker in 3D.”
The Oracle suggests some more suitable Irish and St. Patrick’s Day viewing from the comfort of your home.
If you want an old classic: “Odd Man Out”
The standard for St. Patrick’s Day cinema has long been John Wayne’s romance, “The Quiet Man,” set in emerald green Ireland, but the film noir “Odd Man Out” offers a unique film with the same setting.
Irish Republican Army (IRA) agent Johnny McQueen (James Mason) is being pursued by police after robbing a bank for the cause, and he ducks into pubs and alleys trying to evade authorities.
Though the film doesn’t live up to old advertisements, proclaiming it “the most exciting movie ever made,” it does boast “The Third Man” director Carol Reed behind the camera.
Turner Classic Movies also plans to show more traditional Irish-themed movies on St. Patrick’s Day, including “The Irish in Us” and “Finian’s Rainbow.”
Or watch: “The Quiet Man”
If you want a new Irish classic: “Hunger”
If you’re looking to learn more about Irish history or catch the best of new Irish cinema, “Hunger” stands out for its stark depiction of the 1981 IRA hunger strike.
“Hunger” follows Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender) and other prisoners who refuse to eat in protest of their substandard living conditions in Maze Prison.
The seven-month hunger strike has previously been committed to celluloid in films like “Some Mother’s Son,” but “Hunger” is the strongest version yet, with a show-stopping monologue from Fassbender.
The Irish-German actor has gained cinematic celebrity following the film, appearing in this week’s release of “Jane Eyre.”
Or watch: “Breakfast on Pluto”
If you want a touching film instead: “Once”
Far more cheerful than “Hunger,” 2007’s similarly well-received “Once” offers a low-key look at a relationship that starts on Dublin’s streets.
The story follows a vacuum repairman (Glen Hansard) who is approached by a flower vendor (Markta Irglov) as they explore the impromptu idea of making music together, and they soon write songs exceeding either’s expectations.
Hansard also acted in 1991’s “The Commitments” – another feel-good Irish movie about music – and performs with Irglov as The Swell Season. “Once” has since found fans in Steven Spielberg and Bob Dylan.
If you’re looking for a romantic movie to share with a significant other this holiday, Hansard and Irglov became a real-life couple during filming.
Or watch: “In America”
If you want an alternative to “The Boondock Saints”: “In Bruges”
Though it takes place in the medieval Belgian city of Bruges, the crime comedy “In Bruges” also features two lead actors from Dublin and Irish playwright Martin McDonagh as director.
Irish hitmen Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) lay low in Bruges after a hit gone wrong in a story that expands to include their boss’ profanity-spewing tirades and Ray’s battles with tourists.
“In Bruges” offers something for everyone because of how deftly it maneuvers tones – darkly funny and violent in some places and surprisingly emotional and poignant in others.
Above all, the film stays entertaining throughout its 107-minute running length, and makes for inspired holiday viewing with touches like scoring a pivotal scene to The Dubliners’ “Raglan Road.”
Or watch: “Intermission”
If you want a seasonal television episode: “Homer vs. the 18th Amendment”
If you’re looking for St. Patrick’s Day television beyond coverage of local parades, try looking toward Springfield and “The Simpsons.”
“Homer vs. the 18th Amendment” starts with a St. Patrick’s Day parade set piece where Bart inadvertently gets drunk. Springfield, never having repealed the 18th Amendment, reinstates the law.
From there, the episode launches into a freewheeling parody of “The Untouchables,” with Homer bootlegging alcohol as the “Beer Baron” and warding off Prohibition enforcer Rex Banner.
Students should enjoy humorous touches like the parade’s “Drunken Irish Novelists of Springfield” float and Homer’s final words of wisdom: “To alcohol – the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.”
Or watch: “The Office” episode, “St. Patrick’s Day.”