Gangs of New York (2002)
You knew that Daniel Day-Lewis had to slide onto this list at some point, but which Irish-centric performance would it be? My Left Foot? In the Name of the Father? Both are fine performances, but Martin Scorsese’s Five Points drama incorporates the huge influx of Irish immigrants to New York City in the middle of the 19th century. Day-Lewis’s Bill the Butcher is anything but a fan of the Papist trespassers, but the movie is fabulously told, well acted, and should have totally defeated Chicago for Best Picture at the Oscars. Feel free to argue with your friends over which DiCaprio accent was worse: His Irish here or his Bostonian in The Departed? Also: Did you remember that Cameron Diaz was in this movie?
The Crying Game (1992)
We’ve already had one Neil Jordan movie on here (Michael Collins, roughly 16 hours ago), but he’s a definitive Irish filmmaker, and The Crying Game is his masterpiece. Though it’s based around the Troubles (a term used to describe the internal political conflict within Northern Ireland), it seamlessly incorporates themes of sexuality, race, and gender. Even if you know the big twist (and if you don’t, don’t spoil it for yourself), it’s still a remarkably taut thriller.
The Shore (2011)
For a sort of coda to The Crying Game, check out this Oscar-winning short that tells the tale of two childhood friends who were torn apart by the Troubles and then reconnect as retirees. It’s a warm, meticulously told story that is lovingly shot and features an incredible, understated lead performance by Ciarán Hinds.
Think of this marathon like a concert (considering it’s length, maybe it’s a Phish show!), and use Dublin-set Once as the encore. The plot couldn’t be simpler, but the music is so pretty and melancholy that you’ll be raising your lighters in your living room as you collect the debris from the previous day’s celebration. You’ve done it: You’ve celebrated St. Patrick’s Day from a number of different angles, and you’re not hung over, hoarse, or covered in someone else’s bodily fluids. Slainte!
The Client List. Seriously, you should be watching this show.