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The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) -vs- My Left Foot (1990)

January 31, 2008 Bryce Zabel 5

If you’re looking for a film that will make you feel a little better about your own life, try either of these. They’ll also make you feel better about the “human spirit” and other noble thoughts but, basically, you will realize that all the crap you complain about every day really is just crap and that you should take a chill pill and try to realize how good things really are. Both “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” and “My Left Foot” which preceded it by almost two decades feature lead characters who are suffering through horrific physical challenges which make it nearly impossible for them to communicate but, because they are just as alive inside their brains as any of us and maybe more so, they rise above their fear, pain and sadness to communicate anyway. In the end, in both films, it turns out to be less about what they say than the fact that they said anything at all that is so inspirational.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2007) -vs- Michael Collins (1996)

September 14, 2007 Bryce Zabel 0

May 2011 Update: Obama in Ireland. His trip was largely overshadowed by the Arab Spring coupled with his provocative foreign policy fracas over Israel. So, oddly, in this year’s context, Ireland seems like a place to get away from politics. Ireland, however, is actually a country that takes its politics as seriously as its music. There are two recent films that have told very tough tales of Irish history. Here is our original Smackdown.

Every St. Patrick’s Day, people worldwide celebrate the Irish by wearing shamrocks, marching in parades, even drinking green beer. It can be a ton of fun, to be sure, but the Ireland of fairly recent history was a very serious place where political battles were decided in revolution and civil war. Our Irish Movie Smackdown pays tribute to those days by putting a couple of films in the ring together that tell the story. These two classic films of Irish-rebellion — The Wind That Shakes the Barley and Michael Collins — were made a decade apart. Back in the Clinton years, Liam Neeson starred in the title role as Irish rebel turned Free Stater, Michael Collins, and a few days before St. Patrick’s Day in 2007, Cillian Murphy played a rebel on the other side of the bloody Irish Civil War in The Wind That Shakes the Barley. They each tell stories about the years when Irish eyes were definitely not smiling… […]

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