Plastic Paddies

Someone’s been imposing on Susan O’Sullivan’s roots again.

 

The holiest of Holy Days is upon us once again.  Now I know most of you will be celebrating with a good ole session at mass, but spare a moment this coming St. Patrick’s Day to reflect on some of the cinematic gifts that have bestowed stereotypes upon our nation and countrymen for about a century now.  Hollywood, like Americans in general, loves a good Celt.  Anyone who is anyone craves a bit of Irish ancestry.

The Irish have featured in many a film.  I am not simply speaking of a fellow Paddy who has experienced a breakthrough role in the latest mega blockbuster.  The concern of today is to celebrate the Oirish representations that both engage and plague our screens.

 

The Good:

Fergus ‘Fergie’ Colm in The Town

For those without sense and have not seen Ben Affleck’s The Town, I can assure you that this character has in no way been modelled on Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas. The late Pete Postlethwaite takes on the fighting Irish persona with a subtle charm rather than reverting to exaggerated pugilism.

Veronica Guerin

As if one needed further proof that Cate Blanchett is one of the great actors of our generation, she not only perfected the accent to boot, but she portrayed the deceased journalist with incredible integrity.

Roux in Chocolat

It is impossible to criticise Depp for lacking versatility.  The one true chameleon acting today, Pirates of the Caribbean endowed him with a lease of creative recognition.  Before Pirates, there was Chocolat.  Any crime against ethnic representation can be forgiven.  Depp plays the affable gypsy Roux who woos Juliette Binoche into his boat even with that struggling lilt of his.

 

The Bad and the Ugly:

Kitty Kiernan in Michael Collins

Her performance begs me to query; “Why the fuck couldn’t they have just hired a native?”  Considering Julia Roberts was by 1996 the queen of the rom-com genre it was difficult and a little unnerving to see her in a role as a lover of a tragic Irish revolutionary hero.

Sean Connery

Though he is guilty of two offences of slaughtering the Irish accent in both Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People and The Untouchables, Charlie Sheen would probably call him a winner.  Scotland is just over the there.  How on earth did he get it so horrendously wrong?

Matthew Goode – Leap Year

Judging purely from the trailer alone, shame on you Matthew Goode!  Yet another instance of a British neighbour mauling the accent.  As well as that he betrayed us by consigning to a Yankee-tinted Ireland.  In a world where if the potato crop suffered blight, we would see the Famine 2.0 and Amy Adams’ Blackberry short circuits an entire village… Begorrah begosh.

Seamus O’Grady in Charlie’s Angels:  Full Throttle

As if the first Charlie’s Angels failed to produce enough cringe for the world, Full Throttle brought Cameron and co back for more mundane frolics.  This time they were armed with Justin Theroux as Seamus O’Grady, presumably some sort of warped hybrid of a 70s punk-rocker and a ‘RA vigilante.

Jenny Everdeane in Gangs of New York

Cameron Diaz is the most overpaid swindler in Hollywood, just throwing that out there.  Martin Scorsese has a bit of an Irish-infatuation going on this last decade or so.  As an avid enthusiast he should have known better when casting his spunky pickpocket.  Red hair doth not an Irish woman make.

 

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