Tag Archive: gabriel byrne


Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

We remember St. Patrick as the saint who drove the snakes out of Ireland. We celebrate his work as a christian cleric by drinking with green beer or Guinness, and eating corned beef and cabbage.

At this point in time, my St. Patrick’s Day plan is to go to the Drive in in Gibson City to watch Beauty and the Beast. I have not previewed this movie so I don’t know if it is good or not.

But this live-action retelling is based on a very popular and well written original. Plus it stars the very talented Emma Watson and Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey. I have high hopes. Plus, I will be at the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in where there are sure to be plenty of good snacks.

My personal favorite is the funnel cake sundae. Don’t tell my doctor what I am eating. I feel pretty sure I will have to walk a mile or two to kill of the calories of this killer snack.

Now if you are not as lucky as I am, there are always movies you can rent.

LeprechaunSomehow I feel it is possible to find copies of Leprechaun. This 1993 horror movie is about a group of teenagers who unwittingly unleash an evil leprechaun who wants his gold back that was stolen by the previous owner of the house. They don’t know where the gold is located but they keep trying to find it as the evil guy keeps hunting them and killing people off.

Actor Warwick Davis infused his character with some humor. You know him better as Professor Flitwick. Another actor you might recognize is Jennifer Aniston in her first movie.

I am not a fan of horror flicks so I can’t tell you if it good or bad but I am willing to bet that this would not be a good movie for the younger members of your family or any one who gets nightmares easily.

High SpiritsIf you are looking for something a little bit safer with a bit of an edge to it I would take a gander at High Spirits directed by Neil Jordan and starring Darryl Hannah, Steven Guttenberg, Liam Neesom, and Beverly D’Angelo. This movie is about an American couple spending the weekend at an Irish castle to see if her father should buy it or not.

It is a castle reputed to be haunted by a couple who died on their wedding night. But just in case that doesn’t happen, the owner (Peter O’Toole) has provided a few scares of his own to make the trip worthwhile for his guests. This is a movie with medium scares and somewhat less scary for the young ones in the family. I think context wise it is more appropriate for adults than children.

Into the West IMDb com

Image from IMDb.com

However, if you are looking for a movie for all members of the family with an Irish theme, then my suggestion is always is always going to be Into the West. It is a fantastic story about two boys who are given a horse by their grandfather. The problem is that the boys live in a Dublin public housing high rise building. They really have no place to keep him and the elevator makes for a poor stable.

Then a rich and greedy man notices the horse and finds a way to get this beautiful beast. But the boys steal the horse back and make a run across the country to the sea. Besides the police and the rich man’s henchmen, they are being followed by their father who has been living in grief over the death of his wife.

I cry, I laugh, I cheer the boys on.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle

So this is the week in which everyone is Irish. We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with relish, with glee, with Guinness or a Jameson’s shot.

I have a friend who celebrates every year with a potato party. The guests bring toppings and green side dishes or desserts. Because I had a brain cramp our side dish wash stuffed mushrooms wrapped in bacon. The hubby made them and I am glad that he did. They were tasty.

But so were the potatoes, the green frosted brownies, broccoli salad, and the pistachio salad. It was a fun night as different tables played different games including Dutch Blitz and euchre.

OndineAs always, I am on the lookout for an Irish movie I have not seen yet to add to my collection. I have loved suggestions I have received from fellow bloggers. My favorite one so far is Ondine starring Colin Farrell as an Irish fisherman named Syracuse who pulls a young woman out of the sea one day. Alicja Bachleda states she can’t remember who she is or how she got in the net. Syracuse lets the young woman live in his mother’s abandoned cottage and Ondine develops a relationship with his young daughter who has various health issues.

Soon, with the help of his young daughter, Farrell is speculating if Ondine is a selkie. Selkies are mythical creatures that can change from being a seal into a human once they take off their seal coat. But the selkie can be trapped on land if a human finds their coat and hides it from the selkie.

This story is not as simple as it seems. These things are never that simple. But it is wonderful to watch as Ondine and Syracuse begin to fall in love and eventually resolve her past.

Waking Ned Devine

Waking Ned Devine

Another movie that was suggested to me was Waking Ned Devine. I had never watched this movie but I thought I would give it a spin. The story is about a winning lottery ticket in the weekly Irish lottery that happens to be located in a small Irish village. Just as we know where a winning Lotto ticket is sold here, the big lottery winning location is announced there. The villagers slowly work out who is the winner after quizzing everyone.

The problem is the man who has one is not able to claim the prize anymore. No way, no how.

So now it is a matter of getting everyone on board for the biggest deception that could mean an end to a life of struggle for the 50-member village.

I could tell you more but I don’t want you to miss out on the naked motorbike ride or the hop and skip chase around the creek or the questions of just who fathered a fair maiden’s child.

There are some memorable scenes in this movie with beautiful music and lovely landscapes. If high action is your thing, this may not be your movie. But if you are willing to wait for the story to play out and to have a resolution you can live with, well then, this Irish film is worth your time.

Now, neither of these movies are exactly family friendly. Sometimes the language gets a little salty. If a family friendly movie is what you are looking for than search no farther than Into the West. This movie is about two boys who are given a horse to care for despite the fact they live in a housing complex in the slums of Dublin.

Into the West IMDb com

Image from IMDb.com

That is when a rich man takes the horse through crooked methods so the boys do the only thing they can and steal the horse back. Soon they are are on the run, hiding from the police and other goons trying to get the horse, who is no ordinary horse. Their father joins in the chase with the help of his caravan friends to save the boys before something terrible happens.

It mixes modern day Ireland with folklore, combining an action adventure story with the redemption of a family. Makes me tear up every time.

Until Next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

By the time you read this, St. Patrick’s Day will be over. The corn beef and cabbage with exist in dribs and drabs. The potatos are crumbs.

But don’t let that stop you from watching some Irish movies. What I like are the ones that mix myth/fairy tales into real life. In the middle of land lacked farm land, we do not get seals that might be able to transform into humans.

But that is the subject of the movie Ondine starring Colin Ferrell and Alicja Bachleda. Ferrell is a down-on-his-luck fisherman in Ireland who shares his daughter with his ex. One day his nets pick up a beautiful young woman. She doesn’t want to be seen by anyone else, so Ferrell hides her in his mother’s old house.

OndineHis daughter eventually finds her and decides that the woman is a selkie. That is a seal which can take human form. A selkie cannot go back to the sea if her human husband finds and hides her seal coat. While Ferrell and Bachleda fall in love, you begin to think that maybe, just maybe, she really is a selkie.

The setting is beautiful and the dialogue feels both real and poetic. I listened to an interview with Ferrell and his conversation was never as lyrical although he is an intelligent man. Director Neil Jordan has made some movies focused on Irish ghosts (High Spirits) that were a waste of time. But this one carried me through even when the fear aspect took over the fairytale.

This movie has an adult context that would not be suitable for younger children. Older tweens and teens might enjoy it a bit more.

One movie that I like for younger children is Into The West. Gabriel Byrne stars as the father of two boys who are given a horse by their grandfather. This is not just any horse, this is Tír na nÓg who comes from the land under the sea that holds eternal youth. The problem is the motherless family lives in an apartment building in the slums of Dublin. Hiding a horse is quite difficult.

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

Worse yet, a greedy business man wants the fine horse no matter what. So he works with the police to steal the horse from the boys. But not every thing goes according to the plan. The boys steal the horse and begin riding him into the West Country of Ireland. The cops are chasing the boys down but the boys are getting help along the way. Meanwhile, other Travellers, Irish gypsies, help Dad track his boys before something dire can happen.

Again, I am lost in the mix of magic and real life. I sympathize with the depressed father who has lost his wife and wakes up only when he realizes he could lose his boys as well. I find myself cheering on the boys every time the slip out of reach of the authorities. It is movies like this that make me appreciate how magic and real life can intermingle.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.