Archives For 71′

There is something about the Irish.

Their accents.

Their humor,

or humour.

Their music.

And oh their movies!

What I love about the Irish-set or Irish made films is that they have a soul that very few other movies are able to capture. You can sense it in how they present their ideas throgh film–there is an honesty about life and it does not seem forced but often has a whimsical nature, which is inspiring.

When you think about Irish culture and its history, you may recall St. Patrick, Celtic music, marvelous green landscapes, war, the Potato Famine, immigration, lots of drinking, and the 20th Century fighting known as “The Troubles.”

Despite a fairly rough history, the Irish always seem to be optimistic, joyful, and occasionally magical. It shows in their films, which is why I have loved so many of them. I’ve learned that you don’t have to be Irish to love these films. You just need to have a soul that is open to laughing and growing.

I have had this blog in a draft form for over a year but after recently watching Brooklyn, it kicked me to finish it.

Here are five of the most impactful Irish movies as well as a few others I recommend.

Waking Ned Devine (1998)

When a lottery winner dies of shock, his fellow townsfolk attempt to claim the money. And yes, this is a comedy.

If you want to get a sense of the dark humor of the Irish, you’ll love this movie. A word of warning, there is crazy old man nudity in a race to cover up one of the funniest movie plots in years.

The Commitments (1991)

If I were to name my favorite Irish movie, it would be this. Follow along some down and outers from North Dublin who try to make is as a “soul” band. It has some of the foulest language but the finest of Irish-accented deliveries. Every year I put the soundtrack on the stereo to hear the Irish soul of Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett.

Calvary (2014)

I’ve written about this before as I still believe it is one of the most beautiful and relevant depictions of the Gospel (other than the actual Gospel) ever on film. Enough said.

Once (2007)

Here you see a grown up Glen Hansard (from his teenage years with The Commitments). He plays an unnamed Irish street musician in Dublin trying to get by. He meets a young female immigrant from Eastern Europe who shares his loves for music. You see their love of music and longing for connection blossom in the movie. And again, the soundtrack is golden.

Brooklyn (2015)

What a delightful movie about courage, family, community, friendship, loneliness, and love. The movie thrives because of the subtle wins for the main character played by Saoirse Ronan and feels more like real life than the over the top dramatic. One of my favorite writers, Nick Hornby (Fever Pitch, High Fidelity, About a Boy), wrote the screenplay.

 

Other great Irish films I recommend:

  • Evelyn
  • In the Name of the Father
  • Michael Collins
  • The Boxer
  • 71′ – not technically Irish but set in Northern Ireland
  • Bloody Sunday
  • The Wind That Shakes the Barley
  • My Left Foot
  • Other notes:
    • I did not see Angela’s Ashes so please don’t hit me.
    • And before anyone brings it up…P.S. I Love You and Patriot Games don’t quite qualify.

The Top 10 Survival Movies

September 17, 2015 — 2 Comments

After watching two fascinating survival movies in the past few weeks, it has been a reminder of why I appreciate these movies so much. The first was 71′ starring Jack O’Connell (Unbroken) and All Is Lost (2013) starring Robert Redford. They are incredibly different stories of survival but their lives were at stake and basic human instincts the same. I understand that movies like this are difficult to watch for some but I would argue that they are necessary for us to watch, learn, and grow.


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 Can Survival Movies Change Us?

What I love about survival movies is seeing how characters respond to their fear. Some panic. Some find their true grit. Ultimately each character must recognize that they need others and for many, they need God. No character is left unscathed and can survive alone.

If we look close enough, we can see ourselves in these characters. I draw hope, courage, and inspiration from many of them.

As movies like The Martian and Everest release, it is time to reflect on some of the finest survival films.

There are many excellent movies about survival, too many to count in fact, but here are my ten favorite along with honorable mention.

The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

A group of passengers struggle to survive and escape when their ocean liner completely capsizes at sea. Gene Hackman is at his best leading a group to safety.

All Is Lost (2013)

After a collision with a shipping container at sea, a resourceful sailor played by Robert Redford finds himself, despite all efforts to the contrary, starring his mortality in the face. It is one of the most beautiful and personal films about survival because of the close-proximity filming style the director uses.

Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

After being shipwrecked on a deserted island, the Robinson family overcome the obstacles of nature and transform their new home into a community. Pirates, tigers, and storms. What more could a family adventure bring? If you visit Magic Kingdom at Disney World, you have to tour the treehouse.

Panic Room (2002)

A divorced woman played courageously by Jodie Foster and her diabetic daughter (a young Kristen Stewart) take refuge in their newly purchased house’s safe room, when three men break-in, searching for a missing fortune. Even in your own home, survival is the central theme.

Alive (1993)

Uruguayan rugby team stranded in the snow swept Andes are forced to use desperate measures to survive after a plane crash. The movie begs the question, ‘how far will you go to survive’?

Castaway (2000)

A FedEx executive played by Tom Hanks must transform himself physically and emotionally to survive a crash landing on a deserted island. The ending still makes me wonder.

127 Hours (2010)

A climber played by James Franco goes on a hike and becomes trapped. Yes, he even has conversations with Scooby Doo. It’s a reminder to let people know where you are going before you head into the wilderness.

Rescue Dawn (2006)

A U.S. fighter pilot played by Christian Bale and his epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.

Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

Robert Aldrich’s tense, 1965 drama about a plane crash in the Sahara is a unique psychological study of men in desperate circumstances. I studied this film in business management classes.

Apollo 13 (1995)

NASA must devise a strategy to return Apollo 13 to Earth safely after the spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage putting the lives of the three astronauts on board in jeopardy. Led by Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell and supported by Bill Paxton with the omnipresent Kevin Bacon, this is a must-watch “failure is not an option” movie.

Honorable Mention

Life is Beautiful (1997)

28 Days Later (2002)

The Day After (1983) 

71′ (2004)

Lone Survivor (2013)

Into the Wild (2007)

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

White Water Summer (1987)

Unbroken (2014)

Red Dawn (1984)

Empire of the Sun (1987) 

Gravity (2013)

What are your favorite survival movies and why?