HARMONTOWN (2014, dir. Neil Berkeley)
Start off your month of streaming with this documentary about Milwaukee-born Dan Harmon, creator of beloved shows such as Community and Rick and Morty, and mayor of Harmontown, one of the internet’s most popular podcasts. Taking place in the aftermath of Harmon being fired from his own show, we follow him on a US tour as a form of personal therapy. Harmon is one of the fiendishly clever writers working today, so anyone interested in the modern comedy scene should immediately queue this up!
HOOP DREAMS (1994, dir. Steve James)
I considered suggesting college basketball movies like Hoosiers or Blue Chips with the upcoming onslaught that is March Madness, but I instead chose Steve James’ classic documentary about two high school prodigies with dreams of making it to the NBA. Few documentaries have or will ever capture the agony and ecstasy of sport quite like this one while simultaneously operating as a sprawling social document.
TOM’S MARCH MINI-IRISH JAM:
FINIAN’S RAINBOW (1968, dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
If you’re like me, you look at every widely celebrate holiday as an opportunity to program themed film festivals, then chances are you write this column and are the opposite of a hit at parties! Did you know that Francis Ford Coppola made a Technicolor musical with Fred Astaire as a rake and roustabout who aims to spirit away a pot of gold from Ireland with a leprechaun hot on his trail? If you didn’t, prepare to be befuddled!
ONCE (2007, dir. John Carney)
Lightning in a bottle. This amazing indie musical brought Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova to the world at large (and one of the most memorable Oscar moments of the last decade to boot), and is a supremely perfect bit of filmmaking set in modern Ireland.
CALVARY (2014, dir. John Michael McDonagh)
And why not follow up that bit of indie perfection with this coal black dramedy about an Irish priest in a small village who is told in confession by one of his parishioners that they mean to shoot him dead in seven days time.
THE QUIET MAN (1952, dir. John Ford)
John Ford’s classic romantic drama features great performances from Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne, gorgeous Irish landscapes, and an epic fist fight that rivals They Live for the very best in cinematic history.
THE SECRET OF KELLS (2009, dir. Nora Twomey & Tomm Moore)
This animated tale of the creation of the famous Irish text is gorgeously rendered, having a well-deserved Oscar nomination under its belt to show for it.
THE WORLD’S END (2013, dir. Edgar Wright)
And we wrap up with an honorary Irish movie, Edgar Wright’s brilliant portrait of an apocalyptic pub crawl. What would a St. Patrick’s-themed film fest be without a pint here or there?
NURSE (2013, dir. Douglas Aarniokoski)
March 30 sees our nation celebrate National Doctor’s Day, and what better tribute could you offer to the medical professionals than to watch this sleazy erotic thriller with such acting heavyweights as Cerie from 30 Rock and Judd Nelson. Paz de la Huerta plays the eponymous Nurse who is cutting a bloody swath through her resident hospital, and her performance is one of the most doggedly alien things I’ve ever seen committed to celluloid, with almost every line of dialogue delivered in italics. Gloriously violent (the finale is an absurd exercise in escalation), and gleefully campy, this will only speak to a very select few of you, but it will speak loudly!