Have you opted to sit out this day of public drunkenness but don't want to lose out on the celebration of Irish culture? Well, bunkies, that's why you come to this here Vault of Buncheness, namely to find ways to expand your horizons, and today I would like to suggest staging your own marathon of Irish-themed video distractions to be enjoyed while your neighbors and their kids violently regurgitate all over your plaster lawn gnomes.
There are many likely candidates for a film festival of this sort and the flick that most certainly immediately springs to mind would be John Ford's classic THE QUIET MAN (1952).
The John Wayne classic about an American-raised Irish boxer who returns to his homeland after a tragic event is one of the greatest Hollywood films ever made and is a genuine, indelible work that has deservedly earned its place in the hearts and minds of film fans everywhere. Which is exactly why I'm not including in on my personal roster of St. Paddy's day movies; it will more than likely be found with ease on American Movie Classics of Turner Classic Movies so I'd rather steer you toward some entries that will stir Irish pride within everyone from Shaquille O' Neal to Devon Aoki.
DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE (1959)
There are few things in this life that go as well together as drunkenness and the magic of the Walt Disney Studios (remind me to document my infamous "drinkin' round the world" adventure at Disneyworld in 1989 some time) and this absolutely delightful film proves that in spades. Easily the best film on my list, this one relates the whisky-drenched adventures of estate caretaker Darby O'Gill (Albert Sharpe), the town spinner of tall tales whose yarns about hanging out with Leprechaun King Brian Connors (Jimmy O'Dea) of Knocknasheega are actually 100% true. Of course no one believes his blarney, but Darby knows what's up and has a terrific time matching wits with the wee king while we go along for the ride. There's a subplot about Darby's daughter being romanced by a seemingly-wimpy pre-007 Sean Connery (who sings!), but who gives a fuck about that when you have a fun old drunk running around the Irish countryside with a bunch of "little people" and contending with the horrors of the Banshee — which scared the living shit out of me when I was five — and the Death Coach? Watch this with your kids and marvel at how Disney released this fifty years ago and would never dream of unleashing anything even remotely of its like today.
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION "UP THE LONG LADDER" (1989)
Danilo O'Dell (Barrie Ingham): an Irishman...in space!!!
One of the standout stinkers in STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION's horrific second season, this show had my jaw hanging open to the floor as I witnessed what can only be described as a fusion of damned near every single Irish stereotype short of stiff-armed Riverdancers and that particularly STAR TREKian flavor of feel-good, "up with people" sci-fi. This time around, the Enterprise crew must house a community of "from the old sod" space colonists who were apparently transplanted from some fantasy of rural Ireland that had somehow survived into the 24th century, complete with "quaint"/shabby costumes, outrageous brogues, homemade poteen and — my personal favorite — the shrewish Irish chick whose personal offensiveness is rendered totally moot by her being so hot that you can't help but want to slip her a length.
Brenna O'Dell (Rosalyn Landor) in the midst of bitchery: shrew or not, I would love to bathe this woman with my tongue.
Guaranteed to make viewers of actual Irish ancestry blanch to a degree even whiter than they already are, this should not be missed by those with a curiosity about what amounts to Mick Minstrelsy, especially when you have the Enterprise's own Miles O'Brien (the always excellent Colm Meany) on hand to remind viewers that normal Irish people do exist in the future. (Note: this episode is equalled in ethnic offensiveness by the prior season's cringe-inducing "Code of Honor" which does much the same for black people.)
LEPRECHAUN 4: IN SPACE (1996)
The title pretty much says it all, but how can you afford to miss a sequel in which the evil Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) takes on a passel of space-Marines, one of whom had the temerity to piss on his corpse? And then there's the idea of a lightsaber-wielding Leprechaun, so what's not to love?
THE MAGICAL LEGEND OF THE LEPRECHAUNS (1999)
Zoe Wanamaker and Colm Meany — aka Miles O'Brien from STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION and STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE — proudly represent for the Emerald Isle.
The awesome Colm Meany strikes again in this made-for-TV trifle, this time as Leprechaun Seamus Muldoon. It's basically a piece of shit — or "shite" if you prefer — but show me another movie where you not only get Meany as a goddamned Leprechaun, but also Whoopi Goldberg as the Grand Banshee? Yes, you read that right: Whoopi motherfucking Goldberg as one of the classic Irish spirits.
THE LUCK OF THE IRISH (2001)
During our mutual period of unemployment, my buddy Hughes and I wasted many hours drunks as lords while watching hours upon hours of questionable television and bad movies on his large TV that faced the window toward the rear of his apartment (I bet the backyard neighbors loved it on the night when we watched the classic BUST A NUT IN GRANDMA'S BUTT) and this family-friendly piece was among the worst that we witnessed. It's about a kid who discovers to his dismay that his mother is a Leprechaun and once that fact rears its head wacky shenanigans ensue. It sucks balls, but where else are you going to see Henry Gibson as a Leprechaun named Reilly O'Reilly, or a musical number wherein the kid who's the hero does an Irish folk dance while wearing a Cleveland Browns shirt and singing "This Land Is Your Land?" It was a good thing that Hughes and I had a shitload of booze close at hand during this.
THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH (1994)
On second thought, this is the best film on this list. Irish myths and legends are among the most fascinating in all of humankind's myth-base and this film fairly bleeds with the matter-of-fact coexistence of the fantastic and the mundane that underscores much of those tales. This story of a girl who discovers her family's relation to the Selkies — seal-like ocean spirits who can take on human form — is sheer magic and will hold you spellbound (to say nothing of making up for the avalanche of crap previously recommended).