By Eileen Murphy
So, we couldn’t wait to plop down in front of the TV Sunday night for the first installment of NBC’s Irish epic "Leprechauns," which the ace reporters at "Access Hollywood" had been touting as a movie about "Ireland’s smallest people." We toyed with the idea of calling the show to let impressively blond host Nancy O’Dell know that the little green fellers are just a myth, but she seemed so sincere, and her lip gloss was so shiny that we just didn’t have the heart.
We’re not sure why everyone’s so surprised to find that the movie’s main characters are tiny, drunken, red-headed scamps – after all, NBC didn’t call it "Tuatha de Dannan" or "Playboy of the Western World." Another signal that this was not going to be – how do we put this delicately? – a quality production was the casting of Whoopi Goldberg as the head banshee (or whatever). Think about it: can anyone’s career really survive "Hollywood Squares"?
Of course, the media reaction to the show has been predictable, to say the least. Everyone seems surprised at the portrayal of Irish people as quaint, quarrelsome drunkards, but come on – sure, ’tis business as usual for network television. (Anybody remember last season’s spate of Oirish shows like "Trinity") The co-producer of "Leprechauns" is Hallmark, who got into trouble a few years back with their breathtakingly offensive line of St. Patrick’s Day cards.
Call us crazy, but our main problem with "Leprechauns" – and this is just a personal bias – is that the accents are atrocious. Colm Meaney – who, seemingly by constitutional amendment, must be cast in any Oirish film – announces in the beginning of the movie that he’s the leader of the Kerry leprechauns, in an accent that’s pure O’Connell Street. The other leps (leppies? lepers?) adopt that peculiar Oirish accent that Americans understand, which means everyone sounds like they’re about to run off in search of their lucky charms, if you catch our drift.
The fairies fare no better in the movie, though we must confess, we tuned out after the first fairy-leprechaun fisticuffs – it was like watching the cast of "Lord of the Dance" squabble over new tap shoes. All we can say is, thank you, NBC, for proving that while there may be 44 million Irish Americans in this country, you’re not afraid of offending all of them.
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MTV gets the Point – Depot, that is
Well, as you read this, the world and its brother, its personal assistant, its hairstylist, its masseuse and its entourage have descended on Dublin’s fair city in anticipation of the MTV Europe Video Music Awards, which are being held in the Point Depot this year.
We heard that 3,000 hotel rooms have been snapped up by the performers, show staff and journalists, and our first thought was – wait’ll those pampered musicians experience the invigorating combination of Dublin’s water pressure and the sporadic central heating! Let’s put it this way: Mariah won’t be the only one in town hitting those high C’s, particularly after a shower.
Of course, Mariah being Mariah, she’s already snagged the coolest room in town. The half-Irish "Heartbreaker" will be bunking in the penthouse of U2’s Clarence Hotel in the heart of Temple Bar. Pitching tents over at the Merrion Hotel will be Madonna, Brittney Spears, Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs and his girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez. Whitney Houston, her hubby Bobby Brown and an entourage of 65 people will stay at the Morrison Hotel.
"Boyzone" frontman Ronan Keating will do the hosting honors, and there will no doubt be lots of other Irish celebs onhand. Interestingly, though, we hear that none of the members of U2 have confirmed that they’ll attend. They’re reportedly scattered all over the world, so who knows? It might be time to cash in some of those frequent flier miles . . .
The Bono project
Now that they’ve scared the pants off the whole world with their creepy masterpiece "The Blair Witch Project," producers Eduardo Sanchez and Dan Myrick are looking to broaden their horizons. We hear that the two guys are massive U2 fans, and would love to cast Bono in their next movie.
"We would both love to make a movie in Ireland, especially in Dublin," Myrick told the Sunday World.
"U2 are actually my favorite group in the whole world," said Sanchez. "It would be great to get Bono involved in our next movie, because we are such big fans of his."
Now, we’d love to see Bono in a movie – he just finished his first film, "Million Dollar Hotel" – but we hope that Myrick and Sanchez are willing to spend a little money this time. Cinema verité is all well and good, but shaky camera work makes us queasy. And, if his recent blatherings are anything to go by – most notably his "Netaid" remark, "This better not be a bunch of technocrats playing Walt Disney with the world wide web!" – Bono could have us reaching for the barf bag without any help at all . . .
Tips for teens
Well, it was only a matter of time before someone copped on to the newest and biggest – you’ll pardon the pun – cottage industry in Ireland. We refer, of course, to the teenybopper pop band phenomenon, which has spawned acts like Boyzone, B*Witched, Westlife, Church Mice and, well, the list goes on and on. Now, two Irish music industry insiders, Jackie Hayden and Johnny Lappin, have published a how-to-be-a-star book called "The Need to Know Guide to Careers in Music."
Helpful advice in the book includes an exhortation to GO FOR IT, and tips on how to learn the trade.
Hayden says that teens have a perfect opportunity to "study" while listening to their fave bands.
"If you’re a fan of B*Witched or Westlife, watch them, see what they do," he says. "Listen to music shows on the radio – you’ll pick up bits and pieces from interviews. Go into record shops and talk to people."
Now, we’re sure that the guide is quite comprehensive, but they seem to have skipped a few very important topics – the things that have worked for other bands that an aspiring pop star really needs to know, like:
1. Never ‘fess up to your real age (B*Witched)
2. Be gorgeous (The Corrs)
3. Be kinda spiritual (U2)
4. Clone an existing band like Boyzone (Westlife)
5. Slag off other bands so that you sound rebellious (Cranberries)
6. Shave your head and slag off U2 (Sinead O’Connor)
7. Shave your head and rip up a picture of the pope (Sinead O’Connor)
8. Grow your hair and apologize for ripping up picture of the pope (Sinead O’Connor)
9. Become a priest and take, then renounce a vow of celibacy (Guess who?)
10. Oh, yeah – sing or learn to fake it (see chapter on Spice Girls)
Hopefully, these important tips will make it into the second edition. Young minds need guidance and structure or, as Dan Quayle once put it, "Not having a mind is very wasteful."