Tag Archive: Into the West

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


One of the things I hate about St. Patrick’s Day week is the food.


When one of my friends wanted to do a get-together involving Irish food, my heart sank because I thought the next thing that was going to be suggested was corned beef and cabbage. Cabbage is so slimy when it is boiled in big pieces.


Give it to me in cole slaw or egg roles. But to eat it straight or in cabbage soup is something I have no interest in doing.


Thanks to the magic of google image search I found this picture at sheknows.com.

Thanks to the magic of google image search I found this picture at sheknows.com.

Thankfully, my friend suggested a potato party instead. We had baked potatoes with all sorts of toppings that included bacon, sour cream, and butter. People made their own potatoes and this way those people who have to have cheddar and sour cream did not have to fight with those who think green onion is a must.


On the side were all sorts of green appetizers, dips, and desserts. I made green cupcakes from yellow cake mix. It was amazing that there were anything left, especially after the Mint Oreo Torte came out of the freezer.


If there is a movie about the ‘Irish Experience’ in America I would most want to see, it is In America that was written and directed by Jim Sheridan who, himself, an Irish playwright immigrant to America.  This movie is somewhat autobiographical but set in the time period in which the movie was made. The story focuses on a family that illegally enters our country and struggle to stay ahead financially. They are also dealing with the death of their two-year-son.


Another modern Irish movie I enjoy is Once which won an Academy Award for Best Song a few years ago. The movie is about a musician who meets a Slovakian woman in the city of Dublin. She plays piano and he has a guitar with a hole in it. For one week they create music for a demo tape along with other street performers. It is fantastic and they realize they might have something more.


Both of these movies are meant for adults with content and context.


Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

For family movies, I always have two selections. And both are derived from folktales of Ireland.


This first is The Secret of Roan Inish in which a young girl discovers the secret of her family. In the last century, one member married a selkie, a seal who can turn into a beautiful woman. She finds out why this makes certain members of her family special and why the forced desertion of the family island caused a deeper tragedy.


The other movie is Into The West featuring a magical horse called Tir Na Nog who adopt an old Traveller and his grandsons in Dublin. The boys try to keep the horse in the public housing of the city but soon the police catch wind and take the horse away. But then the boys steal their horse back and begin an adventure in the West Country from Dublin with their depressed father and the police following.


While both of these are slow moving, I love each story that is being told. The right age group for these two is 4th grade and above as both movies are a little long in spots.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


March is the month when every single one of us can be considered Irish, if you so wish.


We wear green to avoid being pinched on St. Patty’s Day. We watch or march in the parade. And at night we drink beer while eating corned beef and cabbage. Well, you can eat the corned beef and cabbage. I’ll take fish and chips, thank you.


What to watch is always an interesting question because I find there are two Irelandsin our minds – that of the past and that of the present. We want to believe in the landof John Waynefrom The Quiet Man as well as one filled with magical creatures.


But there is also the modernIreland, torn apart by war with the English and mobsters while people are living a life.


Let’s start with movies that can be seen by all family members.


If you listen to all of the tales of Ireland, one would think it is a land filed with magical creatures. Into the West is the story of two brothers who are given a horse by their grandfather. The horse does not do so well in their Dublin apartment building so it is captured and sold.


That is when the boys steal the horse back and begin riding it to the west country. Their father (Gabrial Byrne) as well as the police are chasing the boys. But the horse seems to have a mind of its own as well as a plan.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

Another movie about magical creatures (This time it is selkies) is The Secret of Roan Inish.  This John Sayles movie is about a girl who lives with her grandparents inIreland. They used to live on a nearby island but when they were forced to move, her little brother disappeared. This has brought a great sadness to the family.


Somehow or another, the girl and her cousin get back to the island and she makes a discovery while on the mainland she discovers a secret about their family. This movie is a little slow in the telling but I find it wonderful.


The next selection is a movie I have not seen yet. The Secret of Kells (2009) was nominated for best Animated film by the Oscars. It tells the story of a young boy who is learning how to make those wonderfully illustrated books. But he must protect it from those who seek to destroy the knowledge in these tomes.


The reports I hear is that the animation is divine while the story-telling is weak at points. There is some violence when the Vikings make a raid and that might make parents squeamish otherwise this has an estimated PG rating.


Now, if you are looking for movies about music set in Ireland, be prepared for some good ones. But these are meant for adults with heavier themes and adult situations.


The Commitments (1991) is an Alan Parker film that is about a band that brings blue-eyed soul to Ireland. We see how they come together, how they develop a sound and how the band falls apart.



Poster Image from IMDb.com

Another movie that uses music as its theme is the Oscar winning Once (2006). This movie won awards for the soundtrack built around the incredibly worn guitar of Glen Hansard. He plays a musician who is planning to move toLondon to be closer to his love. But he wants to make an album with his music on it first. That is when he meets Marketa Irglova, a Czech immigrant who plays keyboards.


The movie was made with a hand held camera which makes it difficult for a person with motion sickness issues, like myself. But the acting and the music is incredible, well worth your time for a slice-of-life movie without chase scenes.


There are other Irish-themed movies out there meant for adults. In the Name of the Father, In America, Michael Collins, The Magdalene Sisters, In Bruge and Veronica Guerin are just a few. But if you want to remember the dreamy Ireland that was, there is always The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.