For St. Patrick's Day: Five Iconic (And Not At All Stereotypical) Irish Characters

It's St. Patrick's Day again, which means everyone not visibly non-white will claim Irish heritage to better justify their criminal alcohol abuse and the Celtics will -- for one day, at least -- be the most celebrated sports franchise in the land. You're probably all well acquainted with how to act like a drunken hooligan in public, but just in case you need some pointers, here are a few of cinema's finest representative of the Emerald Isle.

The Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) -- Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)

Certainly the most intriguing and complex entry in the six-film (so far) Leprechaun series. In the Hood also proves that roles in Breakin' 2: Electric Booglaoo and Law and Order weren't the only high points in Ice-T's movie career.

Michael McBride (Sean Connery) -- Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959)

I'm pretty sure Connery decided a long time ago -- probably after making this movie, in fact -- that he wasn't going to screw around with accents anymore. And his career, playing everyone from King Agamemnon to "Irish" cop Jim Malone with an unaltered Scottish brogue, would seem to bear this theory out.

Also, I seem to remember the banshee being a lot creepier when I was six.

Michaleen Flynn (Barry Fitzgerald) -- The Quiet Man (1952)

It was hard not to typecast the Dublin-born Fitzgerald, who spent a lifetime playing characters with names like "Mulcahy," "Muldoon," and "O'Feenaghty." However, the drunk, loquacious Flynn was perhaps the most recognizably "Irish" of all of them, at least to dumb Americans.

The Quiet Man

The McManus Brothers (Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus) -- The Boondock Saints (1999)

What makes Boondock Saints so horrible? Is it loathsome writer/director Troy Duffy? Or his grotesque right-wing fantasies? Don't get me wrong, I love tales of vigilante justice, I just prefer when they're actually directed by someone who's better at hiding their Tarantino rip-offs.

Mickey O'Neil (Brad Pitt) -- Snatch (2000)

Which brings us to Guy Ritchie. Truthfully, Mickey embodies the best qualities of Irishness: incoherence, inebriation, and an almost fanatical predisposition for violence. It's like someone made a movie out of that book, How the Irish Saved Civilization.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar