Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Boys From County Clare

The Boys from County Clare(2003)
Directed by
John Irvin
Written by Nicholas Adams
Starring Colm Meaney, Bernard Hill, Charlotte Bradley, Andrea Corr, Shaun Evans.

When the awards are given out to Best Actor who Starred in a Star Trek Series, Patrick Stewart is the clear winner.  But the second choice is more interesting.  You could make a nice case for Scott Bakula, primarily from his performances in Quantum Leap.*  But my favorite is a dark horse:  Colm Meaney.

Meaney made a name for himself in a bunch of delightful British/Irish comedies such as The Commitments, The Snapper, The Van, and The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain. He specializes is bemused Irishmen and is always a delight whenever he's on the screen.

The Boys from County Clare** has Meaney as Jimmy MacMahon, a successful Irish businessman living in Liverpool in the early 60s.  He loves Irish music* and organizes a band to compete in the annual Céilidh competition in County Clare.

John Joe (Bernard Hill), the winner the previous two years, will have none of it and pulls out all stops to both keep Jimmy from competing. Jimmy, however, gives as good as he gets, and does the same to John Joe.

We learn the two have a deep-seated grudge between them that goes back to when they were boys.  Brothers, as a matter of fact.

There are also a subplot about one of the member's of Jimmy's band, Teddy (Shaun Evans) who falls in love with Anne (Andrea Corr), who plays with John Joe.

The movie is a delightful mix of comedy and drama, with a nice twist at the end. The two men fight, make up, fight, and generally act as royal pains in each other's butt. 

Meaney is excellent, of course. Jimmy is gruff and driven, and though he has a softer side, he refuses to let it come out.  Hill's performance as Jimmy Joe is also delightful.

This was another fine film by director John Irvin, who did Turtle Diary and Widow's Peak. As usual, he concentrates on quirky characters and small but rich situations.

And the music is just plain delightful.

*Enterprise was actually just a Quantum Leap episode, where Sam leapt into the body of a starship captain. The problem was that he needed to fix what went wrong in order to leap out, and the show was impossible to fix.

**Called The Boys and Girl from County Clare in the US, a pointless bit of marketing that ignored the main focus of the movie and makes it sound vaguely pornographic. 

***And thinks that new group of Liverpool musicians, the Beatles, will never amount to much


Anonymous said...

LOVED this movie, I even bought a copy of the DVD. You´re right, it should have gotten better reviews.

Unknown said...

the beatles were a great band your a dam fool for saying beatles didnt amount to nothing