The Five Biggest Crimes Against Ireland As Perpetrated By Hollywood
Begorrah! Top of the mornin’ to ye! Kiss me Blarney Stone, etc.
Make no mistake, Reader. Hollywood hates Ireland.
Sure there is nothing wrong with them helping people (mostly Americans) think that we live in a beautiful emerald Narnia where people spend their days in pubs, singing and conversing with various mythological creatures, but sometimes it can get a bit frustrating, especially when you are trying to take a film seriously but can’t get over the factual inaccuracies of Brad Pitt claiming he lived ‘on the shore of the Lough Neagh’ while in the same breath claiming he’s from (the actually landlocked) Cookstown.
How will we ever get over our alcoholic, fighting, twinkly-eyed, rapscallion stereotype if Hollywood keep churning out the same old nonsense? We even have hipsters and Google offices and mostly functioning light transit systems here now for God’s sake, but everyone (again, mostly Americans) think we’re still mad for an aul potato and dreaming of the new world.
5. No one has an accent that sounds even remotely like an Irish accent
Why can’t they just cast an Irish actor? We have so many good ones with readymade, silver-screen-friendly faces. Why must they subject us to accents so bad they make us want to slowly claw off our skin?
Examples: Justin Theroux – Charlie’s Angels, Richard Gere – The Jackal, Sean Connery – The Untouchables, Cameron Diaz – Gangs of New York, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman – Far & Away, Sean Connery – Darby O’Gill and The Little People, Brad Pitt – The Devil’s Own, Julia Roberts – Michael Collins, Kim Cattrall – The Tiger’s Tail, Gerard Butler – P.S. I Love You, Tommy Lee Jones – Blown Away
4. Nothing makes sense in terms of travel and/or geography
From Amy Adams being diverted from Dublin to Cardiff via plane and then taking a boat past Dublin to Dingle to travel via the Cliffs of Moher in a 1970s scrap heap to go back to Dublin, to Brad Pitt taking an overnight train from Belfast to Lisburn (which is roughly a 10 minute journey), Hollywood have no intention of making anything set in Ireland make sense. Nor can they be arsed looking at a map. It’s as annoying as people calling it St Patty’s Day. *spit*
Examples: Leap Year, The Devil’s Own
3. Assuming that everyone north of the border is a terrorist
Contrary to popular belief, ‘We of the North’ are not all members of extreme offshoots of the IRA. We get where they are coming from – ‘One Man’s Terrorist Is Another Man’s Freedom Fighter’ is a terribly romantic and tempting thematic concept – but come on lads. It’s offensive and it’s lazy and it’s exhausted. A more modern interpretation of NI politics is a select bunch of eejits whinging about flegs while the rest of us roll our eyes and grumble about the buses being late.
Examples: Patriot Games, The Devil’s Own, The Crying Game
2. Trotting out characters so predictable, you could make a drinking game out of them. Such as…
THE AUL DRUNK MAN
In a film set in Ireland, the epicentre of every village is the pub and in that pub shall sit a character that the staff consider part of the furniture. He drinks Guinness. He wears a flat cap and woollen jumpers. He probably plays the fiddle. He’s almost always over 50. He sings songs about being very, very far away despite never having left his small town in his life. He knows everything about everyone. He travels either by horse and cart or bicycle but there is always a scene where he’ll stumble out of the pub to wander down a lonely dark lane singing and/or mumbling to himself. At some point, he’ll spout some unexpectedly profound wisdom to the protagonist and possibly give a cheeky wink to the camera. He’ll have a little jig in the finale.
Examples: Darby O’Gill and The Little People. Almost everyone in The Quiet Man. Almost everyone in Waking Ned Devine. The supporting cast of Leap Year and P.S. I Love You
THE RUGGED HANDSOME ROGUE
He is windswept and interesting. He’s unsophisticated, unrefined and loves the simple life. He’s either a farmer or a fisherman. He is secretly creative (he plays music, he paints, he sculpts or he sings) which will make the female protagonist see him in a different light halfway through the film. He’s built like a brick shithouse underneath those Aran jumpers. He probably has a dog. He doesn’t trust outsiders especially those coming from the city. He will at one point engage in a fist fight and he’ll always win.
Examples: Leap Year, P.S. I Love You, The Quiet Man, Darby O’Gill
There must be a Priest. Be he the elderly type to secretly neck the Communion wine; the warm, wise basic plot device type; or the Christian Brothers, ‘Beat-You-Within-An-Inch-Of-Your-Life’ type, there will always be a Priest.
Examples: Breakfast on Pluto, The Quiet Man, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, The Butcher Boy, Angela’s Ashes, Sister Act, Darby O’Gill and The Little People, Going My Way, Ondine etc, etc
THE LONG SUFFERING MA WITH A HEAP OF KIDS
Because we Irish just can’t keep it in our pants and God wants us to have babies to outnumber the Protestants.
THE FEISTY REDHEAD
She’s almost always ginger. She’s a passionate, ‘fiery’, fair colleen who knows to handle herself in a village full of men. She’s smart, capable and looking for an excuse to get out of the village. She probably looks after other members of her family. She has a temper but she’s charming about it. She stands almost exclusively with her hand on her hips judging everyone else. The male lead will harbour a thing for her. She’ll probably slap someone.
Examples: Waking Ned, The Quiet Man, The Commitments, Gangs of New York, From Hell
He’ll be a fucking eejit.
Granted, boxing is fairly popular here in Ireland because apparently we Irish love a bit of fisticuffs, but this is an oddly specific movie trope. This Jack the Lad will be angry at his lot in life. He’s always getting into scrapes because he’s a chancer and always in the wrong place at the wrong time saying the wrong things. He usually boxes bareknuckle and he’ll almost always do it shirtless.
Examples:Becoming Jane, The Commitments, The Quiet Man, Intermission, Far And Away, Snatch, Gangs of New York
There is always a feckin’ horse.
1. Assuming Irish people still live in the dark ages
We were once asked by a helpful hotel staff member, quite genuinely, if we knew how to use electrical appliances. Restraining ourselves from beating said hotel staff member across the head with a kettle, we hesitated. It’s not their fault. How could they know we have electricity when Hollywood continue to portray Ireland as a backwards, rural, stuck-in-the-dark-ages shithole? Films like Leap Year, where the wrong voltage can cause a power cut to an entire village or roads only exist to accommodate flocks of sheep or customers in a B&B have to keep up the pretence of being married in order for the religious proprietors to be comfortable with them sharing the same bed. We couldn’t possibly have cosmopolitan cities, airports with more than one terminal, pharmaceutical companies or high speed internet. We are untouched by modernity in our little thatched cottages and that’s just how Hollywood wants us.
Well you know what Hollywood? We hate you too. Get some new goddamn ideas and then go feck yourself.