All the big holidays have movies to either celebrate the particular day or usher in the season. Christmas, for example, could have its own cable network.
There are Christmas rom-coms (“The Holiday”), Christmas cartoons (“Arthur Christmas”) and Christmas horror flicks (“Silent Night, Deadly Night”). And then there’s “Die Hard,” which may or may not be a Christmas movie, but is included because it’s awesome.
While Christmas is the gift that keeps on giving for filmmakers, other holidays aren’t as lucky. Take St. Patrick’s Day.
Really, there are only a handful of films celebrating Irish history and culture. None of these include Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart” or Danny Boyle’s “Trainspotting.”
Both are set in Scotland, which is an entirely different country.
The best-known Irish-themed films are probably the many “Leprechaun” movies starring (mostly) Warwick Davis as a homicidal leprechaun intent on getting back his stolen gold.
Hollywood has produced about eight of these little gems so far, and there is little reason to believe they’re going to stop any time soon. After all, America’s thirst for quirky-but-fun serial killers in costume is unquenchable.
A full-on marathon of “Leprechaun” films wouldn’t be my first choice for St. Patrick’s Day, but maybe late in the evening, after a bottle or two ... who knows?
Bloodthirsty leprechauns notwithstanding, my best bet for St. Patrick’s Day is “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne. The Duke portrays Sean Thornton, an Irish-born, American-raised boxer who returns to the family home place in Ireland, sometime after he kills a man in the ring. It’s a blue-chip movie that tends to show up every year around this time on one or more cable channel, and it’s well worth a watch.
In the village of Innisfree, Wayne’s character falls in love with a local widow, played by Maureen O’Hara, and comes into conflict over his unwillingness to fight.
Naturally, that doesn’t last forever, but the fight is more for laughs than offered up as an inevitable, well-deserved beat down of the film’s resident antagonist.
“The Quiet Man” is, arguably, John Wayne’s best film (and my favorite, for sure) and one of the few where Wayne doesn’t shoot anybody. The only death in the movie is accidental, and Wayne’s character is horrified by the killing.
“The Quiet Man” is about a man coming home both physically and spiritually, who finds himself again where he began and in many ways, exits a winter season of his life and emerges into spring, ready to start over.
Most importantly, the film doesn’t ask Wayne to try on a ridiculous Irish accent, which he likely couldn’t have pulled off in a million years.