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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, April 21

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Another year, another St. Patrick's Day. I used to love this holiday, most likely because I spent four of my formative years living in the Irish capital of Nebraska, O'Neill (population at the time about 4,000). I took tap and Irish dance, although my favorite classes were when our instructor caved to our whines to learn new moves for the latest craze: disco. In the days leading up to March 17, someone would paint a giant shamrock under the one stoplight in town — I believe O'Neill has put on more traffic lights since then (I haven't been back since the mid '80s) — and each class danced in the roped-off intersection to entertain their families and the town. I distinctly remember my green polyester dress, crisp white apron, and clunky Bass shoes. Our style was less Riverdance and more of a heel-toe jig. Even now when I hear "Irish Washerwoman," I think of the reel that we did every week. Hop-down-step-step, hop-down-step-step, hop-one-hop-two-hop-three-hop-four. Yes, I still know all of the steps, 30 years later.

As an adult, I attended a few parades and consumed my fair share of green beer. I usually wear green on March 17. So I have a lot of fond memories of this day. However, I don't have a love for all things Irish, as evidenced by the list of movies below. I know there are worse examples of blarney out there, but I only wrote about films I've actually seen.

Leprechaun (1993)
Yeah, this one is an obvious gimme. Even with my my well-documented love of bad movies, this schlock is nigh unwatchable. Warwick Davis, former Ewok and star of the fantasy Willow, chews through the scenery as a vengeful 600-year-old leprechaun looking for his stolen gold. One lunkhead asks, "What are you?" Davis glees, "What do I look like, me lad? See the hat? The buckles on me shoes? Why, I'm a Leprechaun!" Mary, Jesus, and Joseph! A pre-Friends, pre-rhinoplasty Jennifer Aniston delivers standby horror clunkers such as "That thing is a leprechaun and we've gotta figure out how to stop it!" The only way is via a four-leaf clover. Of course! Pink hearts and yellow moons aren't enough to cease this wee troll's madness! And neither is the most stereotypical Lucky Charm, apparently, as the lep (heh) continues his reign of terror in the five — yes, five — straight-to-video sequels: Leprechaun 2, Leprechaun 3, Leprechaun 4: In Space, Leprechaun in the Hood and Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood. Word!

The Brothers McMullen (1995)
Ed Burns made this black-and-white film about an Irish family from Long Island for $28,000. One McMullen brother is pressured by his wife to start a family, so he begins having an affair with another woman. One brother — played by Burns himself — is a womanizer and a playwright. One brother dates a Jewish girl. All brothers drink, wear Notre Dame clothing, reminisce bitterly about their recently deceased drunken, abusive lout of a father, and badmouth women constantly. No stereotypes here! In the end, the men all end up partnered off with their forgiving wives/girlfriends. Burns's next film, She's the One, also about misogynistic Irish brothers in New York, included... Jennifer Aniston. Did she learn nothing from Leprechaun? Maybe she's part Irish.

The Devil's Own (1997)
Brad Pitt (formerly Mr. Jennifer Aniston! OK, this is just getting creepy...) and Harrison Ford starred in this troubled production of an IRA gunman who comes to the United States to buy guns and ends up staying at the house of an Irish-American cop and his family. Will young gangster Pitt remain loyal to the cause, or will he change his ways after being shown nothing but kindness by his law-abiding American hosts? Will by-the-book Ford turn in his houseguest as Ford realizes that Pitt is not escaping violence in his homeland but perpetuating it? Aye. As Pitt's character intones, "Don't look for a happy ending. It's not an American story. It's an Irish one." Cue the pipes! The pipes, the pipes are calling. Perhaps The Devil's Own would have been better had there not been so much infighting and at least seven rewrites on the original script. Perhaps not. The film only grossed about half of its budget.

Far and Away (1992)
The Ron Howard treacle features wee American Tom Cruise and giantess Aussie Nicole Kidman (hey, I'm 6'2"; I know from giantesses) as Irish folk in a sweeping saga that begins in the old country, stops briefly in Boston, and climaxes during the Land Run of 1893. My teeth still grit 15 years later, remembering the stupid "Tell me you like my hat" exchange. And Cruise as a bare-knuckled bruiser? Ha ha ha! (Picture me laughing as maniacally as Cruise does in that recent Scientology video.) At least Kidman's coloring was similar to many an Irish lass — remember when she was a redhead?

Colin Farrell/Nicole Narain sex tape (filmed 2003, leaked to the Internets in 2006)
My buddy Julia wryly observed, "If you're going to have sex with Colin Farrell, you have to do two things: clean your apartment and make him wear a condom." Narain did neither as the Irish actor, armed with a home video camera, filmed himself and the Playboy model in various positions and scenarios. He keeps up a constant babble of profanity-laced compliments as she, for the most part, looks bored. "Yer fookin' beautiful," he says, multiple times. "Holy fook, man. Breakfast, lunch and fookin' dinner!" (Yes, I know that Farrell's accent isn't that strong, but Gapers Block is a family site, and I try not to drop too many f-bombs in my columns. A transcript is here in case you want to count the number of times he says "fuck" yourself.) He's obviously really into her — or into the fact that he's going to get some — while she... doesn't seem to have much of a reaction. Maybe she's heard it all before. Well, maybe not "Breakfast, lunch and fookin' dinner!"

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About the Author(s)

As a child, Dee Stiffler was only allowed to watch one hour of television a day. She usually chose Sesame Street. Today, she overcompensates by knowing far too much about the CW's lineup as well as pop culture in general. Email her at

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