A couple of weeks ago, New York Times writer David Carr spotlighted this fall’s glut of indie films, pointing out that films that used to have the luxury of opening in New York and Los Angeles and then gaining wider exposure by word of mouth barely have that chance anymore, thanks to the number of large studios that have created "independent" marquee spinoff companies. Paramount Vantage, Fox Searchlight, Warner Independent Productions – all are owned by major studios yet are distributing films that cater to the indie fan.
Too many times those little films get lost anyway. They come to small indie theaters, usually the Landmark chain, play for a week or two, and then disappear until it comes time to release them on DVD. That’s fine…sometimes.
But sometimes there’s a film that nobody counts on to do well that will knock the socks off of people, whether they’re casual filmgoers or film critics, and suddenly explode. The 2006 critics darling Little Miss Sunshine did that – and now there’s another film that is deserving of the same thing.
Watch your local independent theaters in the next few weeks for a little gem from indie distributor Anywhere Road called Black Irish. Chances are very good you’re seeing the next "little movie that could".
Shot in the summer of 2005 in Boston and the surrounding area, Black Irish follows the trials and tribulations of the middle child in the McKay family, 15 year old Colin, as played by 2006 Popcorn N Roses number one Rising Star Michael Angarano (best known as Will Stronghold from the Disney film Sky High and as Sid from Lords Of Dogtown), who yearns for the attentions of his emotionally remote father, played by Brendan Gleeson (Mad Eye Moody from the Harry Potter movies).
As written and directed by filmmaker Brad Gann, Black Irish has been one of the most successful films on the film festival circuit for the past 18 months. It has been an official selection at almost a dozen prestigious film festivals, and has taken either the official award or the audience award for best picture at FIVE of those festivals – Method Fest, Florida Film Festival, Jackson Hole Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. In addition, Angarano has picked up two best actor awards, and co-star Tom Guiry has picked up a supporting actor award for the film.
So if all this is true, and the movie is THIS GREAT, I know you’re asking yourself "Why haven’t I ever HEARD of this movie"?
The answer to that question is just as simple – "Because it’s an indie."
Indie movies frequently don’t have the kind of budget to engage in massive ad campaigns. As noted above, they rely primarily on word of mouth – and the press – to get the word out.
So…i’m getting the word out. You do NOT want to miss this film.
Black Irish is having it’s official openings this weekend, in Boston and Los Angeles. After that, it will spread to the rest of the country over the next few weeks. It’s a movie you’ll want to take the time to seek out, because if you don’t, you’ll have no doubt missed one of the best movies of the year.
Popcorn N Roses will keep you up to date on openings in more cities over the next month.
A complete review of Black Irish will appear Saturday on both Boston Popcorn and Popcorn N Roses, and we’ll also have a review of it this weekend on Subject:CINEMA.
Black Irish opens Friday at West Newton Cinema, Fresh Pond Cinema, and Showcase Cinema Revere, check theater listings for times and days showing.