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Iron Fist – Bar the Big Boss (Review)

It’s impossible to talk about Iron Fist without talking about cultural appropriation.

There are multiple reasons for this. The most obvious are baked into the character himself, from his origin all the way back in Marvel Premiere as a white guy who travels to a mystical Asian city and becomes better at kung fu than any of the inhabitants before returning to America. There’s also very much the conversation that has been happening around the television series, which has prompted larger debates about the role of Asian performers and culture in Hollywood. Finally, there’s the fact that show so expertly puts its foot in its mouth.

Shaping up…

Bar the Big Boss is the perfect point at which to address this. Again, for multiple reasons. The most obvious is that it represents the last point at which the most obvious aspects of Asian exoticism are in play; barring the closing scene of Dragon Plays with Fire, this episode is the end of the Hand and K’un Lun as narrative forces in the context of the larger narrative. It is also an episode that effectively allows Davos to lightly touch upon the issue of cultural appropriation before brushing his concerns aside by turning him into a stock villain.

But, really, the issue is so firmly baked into the Iron Fist mythos that it is impossible to talk about in isolation.

Warding off evil spirits.

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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.

Non-Review Review: Boyz N The Hood

Boyz n the Hood remains a powerful, moving and depressing piece of cinema. Director John Singleton has arguably failed to match this impressive debut effort, but there’s no shame in that. Most directors will go entire careers without offering a film that so effectively captures a slice of life. Reportedly based on a lot of the director’s own experiences growing up in South Central L.A., it’s a very strong and very personal piece of film, and one that hasn’t been diminished in the years that followed its release.

As happy as Larry?

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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.

GoSave Deals…

The guys over at Simply Zesty sent this link on, and it’s something close to my better half’s heart, so I thought I’d share it. Basically, GoSave.ie is a website that runs deals on Irish businesses, and donates a certain percentage of their costs back to charity. It’s a very handy way of supporting the local economy, which is – understandably – a source of concern for many people in this day and age. If you’re Irish, and interested in this, you can check them out on Facebook here or by clicking the link below.

Note: I am sharing this link because I think it’s the kind of thing that might be important people viewing the blog, and I know that supporting local industry matters to some people very close to me in my personal life. I’m not earning or receiving anything in return for this post, nor does it represent a direct endorsement of the service – I’m merely sharing something that some readers might find interesting. It’s unfortunate that this sort of thing needs to be clarified, but it’s important that I am open and transparent with you, the reader, on why I post a link to a corporate website.

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.