St. Patrick’s Day has arrived and brought with it a high-stepping Google Doodle. The Feast of St. Patrick means shamrocks and green T-shirts and parties.
St. Patrick’s Day may be a celebration of the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, but in America by the 1800s it had become more a celebration of Irishness. In 2008, a survey run by the U.S. Census Bureau counted up more than 36 million Americans with Irish roots, as Forbes reported last year. That’s 12% of the populace.
This very American holiday should mean more than green beer. With St. Pat’s on a weekend, it’s a good time for all Americans with a trace of Irish to celebrate their love of film. Though St. Pat’s-themed films are few, there’s always “Leprechaun.”
This 1993 horror film has the added bonus of featuring a pre-“Friends” Jennifer Aniston. It also features a murderous 600-year-old leprechaun, which lives in the basement of the home Aniston shares with her dad. This horror film was so good — or something — it spawned five sequels. Actor Warwick Davis, as the leprechaun, really carved a niche for himself. (Syfy is currently showing “Leprechauns” 1 and 2 in honor of the day.)
For those who prefer to celebrate their Irishness in a less horror-filled way, there’s “The Secret of Kells,” a hand-drawn animated film from Ireland that was nominated for an Oscar.
The movie is a fable-like tale of of how Ireland’s illuminated manuscript the Book of Kells might have come to be completed. At the center of the story is Abbot Cellach, the master illuminator Brother Aidan and 12-year-old Brendan.
Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan said:
A ravishing, continually surprising example of largely hand-drawn animation in the heyday of computer-generated imagery, an inexpensive and sophisticated European production in an age of broad-stroke studio films, even a spirited defense of books and bookishness while Kindles walk the earth, “Kells” fights the tide every way it can.
Hmmm, Oscar-nominated fable or ’93 horror flick? Here’s the trailer from “Leprechaun” to help you decide:
— Amy Hubbard