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Watch! Hardy Bucks Trailer!

It’s always nice to see an Irish success story. I can be quite tough on Irish television when the occasion calls for it. Any system that makes it easier to pitch a show like Father Ted or Moone Boy to a British broadcaster must be flawed in a significant way. Despite that, I’ll readily concede we do a lot of things quite well. Apparently Love/Hate is doing quite well abroad, and I’ve always been proud of our current affairs coverage. It’s also nice to see one of our shows making the leap to the big screen. Hardy Bucks has been one of the great success stories of Irish television. It was found during the 2009 Storyland competition and ended up going from strength-to-strength on Irish television. While it’s not quite my own cup of tea, it’s hard not to admire the charm and energy put into it – as well as the fact that it has managed to make quite an impact on Irish pop culture.

So the move to the big screen is certainly an interesting development, and I hope the show’s success continues. More popular comedy and diversity in Irish television is inherently a good thing. The trailer is a little bit too much at points – seeing a cheesily earnest American voice-over applied to an “Irish men behaving badly in Europe” comedy feels a little… dissonant – but the trick isn’t so much in the concept as the execution. I’m curious to see how it pays off. It’ll be opening here in February next year.

Done in 60 Seconds: An Interview with Andrew Norton

We might not be the best team in the world at soccer, we might not be the favourites to take home a record-shattering amount of gold medals in London, but the Irish have always had a bit of a cultural charm. This year, we were lucky enough to be represented at the final of the Jameson Empire Done in 60 Seconds competition, with Andrew Norton’s condensed spoof of the iconic District 9 landing a place among 29 international contenders on a shortlist including entries from Kazakhstan, Russia, Latvia, Israel, Sweden and the Ukraine, among others. I had the pleasure of chatting very briefly about putting the sixty-second clip together, breaking into short-film making and the perils of looking like a security guard on the red carpet.

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Non-Review Review: Stella Days

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

Stella Days is held together by a sterling performance from Martin Sheen and a boldly challenging look at the Irish cultural mentality. Indeed, it’s easy to read this tale of a small-town parish priest trying to build a cinema as a metaphor for Irish cultural philosophy. In particular, with its distinctly American star, Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s movie seems like a bold challenge to what might be deemed Irish cultural xenophobia, the notion that our culture must be distinctly and completely independent of the world around us. Instead, Stella Days rather boldly and romantically suggests that Irish culture is not defined by independence or autonomy, but by its willingness to engage and accept the world around us. While the movie might occasionally indulge in a bit too much sentiment, it’s hard not to like that sort of uplifting and engaging idea.

I must confess, this was quite good...

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One Hundred Mornings Opening at the IFI This Friday…

One Hundred Mornings, the post-apocalyptic movie from director Conor Horgan is opening at the Irish Film Institute this Friday, 6th May. For those interested in Irish cinema, the IFI will be hosting a free workshop and discussion with the award-winning writer director on Saturday 7th May. More details here. Meanwhile, the trailer is below.

Podge & Rodge for the Irish Cancer Society…

I am big Podge & Rodge fan. I grew up on them, to be honest, with their own unique brand of toilet humour. So when I found out the pair were teaming up with the Irish Cancer Society to raise awareness of bowel cancer, I thought I’d post the video here. I think everyone respects and appreciates the work that the Irish Cancer Society do, and I remember – in college – that the production company behind Podge & Rodge were always eager to supply spot prizes for any fundraising table quiz we might put on. So, when they sent this on, I thought I’d share it.

A word of warning for any Americans stumbling across this video, Podge & Rodge are a… very Irish institution, and a very peculiar sense of humour. It’s the kinda thing that foreigners rarely get to see, so consider yourselves both warned and honoured. The clip is very not safe for work (only language, though).

Yes, they are a national treasure. In fact, there’s a whole bunch of iconic Irish puppets. Take, for example, the 2008 Irish entry to the Eurovision Song Contest:

Apparently those wacky Europeans didn’t react well to us making an even bigger mockery of their singing competition than normal. And in case any Americans reading this need an introduction to the Eurovision, this is fairly accurate parody of what a typical Irish entry to the Eurovision song contest looks like:

So ends our brief introduction to Irish Pop Culture 101.