Lots of time on your hands means it’s a good time to do a deep dive on your favourite actor/actress/director/writer/key grip/whomever which means, it’s time to throw your own film festival.
But how to throw yourself a, say, Colin Farrell Film Festival? Should be easy, right? Find some Colin Farrell movies and watch them. But no, there’s a finer art that goes into curating the proper play order.
If there was a Colin Farrell Fan Club, I probably wouldn’t be president, but I definitely would be some kind of powerful authority figure, the OG member at the back who pipes up to tell everyone that Colin Farrell has been A Thing since you saw him in Tigerland in 2001 and are therefore skilled enough to program a film festival dedicated to the actor, thankyouverymuch.
As it turns out, lots of people (okay people of the internet) have thoughts on what you should include and how to go about watching Farrell’s filmography. But take it from someone who knows what they are talking about. *Points to framed prints of The Lobster and In Bruges on the wall*.
Here now, is how one proceeds to watch nearly all of Colin Farrell’s movies, from someone who has actually watched them all…more than once.
— Rachel West (@rachel_is_here) March 30, 2020
Whet your appetite for an entire Colin Farrell Film Festival with some great movies where Farrell isn’t the lead. Director John Crowley’s (Brooklyn) ensemble Irish comedy Intermission starts with a bang and good soundtrack with a performance by Farrell that pretty much amounts to a memorable cameo while he actually gets a chance to go toe-to-toe with Tom Cruise as the gum-chewing Danny Witwer in Minority Report. And then there’s Widows, one of the best movies of 2018 with Farrell getting to play the bad guy in Steve McQueen’s ensemble crime drama where everyone brings their A-game.
Get The Bad Ones Out Of The Way
A Home At The End Of The World
Ordinary Decent Criminal
Few people would call any of these movies “good”. Daredevil and A Home At The End Of The World provide some laughs for Farrell’s hairstyles as he showcases both the bald Bullseye look and one of the world’s worst mullets in A Home At The End Of The World. The other two options get a shrug. Why even bother? Everyone’s gotta start somewhere and it only goes up from here.
The Actually Very Good One
There’s a bunch of Farrell movies that can fall under this category, but Tigerland is a must-see. Directed by Joel Schumacher, this is Farrell’s star-making turn, setting him on his Hollywood path in his explosive, sensitive, phenomenal (and any other positive adjective you can add) portrayal of an army recruit’s training before being shipped off to the Vietnam War in 1971.
Okay, Now You’re Into It
Welcome to the highly entertaining section. These aren’t winning any awards for artistic merit and won’t make you contemplate life, but each one is an action-packed popcorn movie that requires varying degrees of brain power. Farrell is here to entertain, so let him.
The New World
The Way Back
All of these movies are long. Not all of these movies are good. Guess which is which. Depending on how you feel about a blonde Alexander the Great with an Irish accent in a Doris Day-looking wig, the answer may surprise you.
You Need A Laugh
That one episode of Scrubs
The Colin Farrell Sex Tape
With Farrell playing against type as the pudgy bald nasty boss to Jason Sudeikis, Horrible Bosses has some laugh-out-loud moments, thanks to the dynamics between the main cast. Same goes for Guy Richie’s The Gentlemen, which goes for the more “Ha, what a clever moment” than true uproarious laughter, but hey, at least Ferrell is great as Coach in his plaid tracksuits.
Remember Scrubs? Farrell appears in an episode as a man who gets in a bar fight with Zach Braff and basically lives out all of our fantasies, am I right?
And then there’s his 2005 sex tape with Playboy Playmate Nicole Narain which is the least sexy thing you will ever see. Filmed in her crappy apartment while Farrell was totally bald for Daredevil, the actor at least has a really good sense of humour about it now, poking fun of his own sex tape dialogue and using it as an anecdote whenever he’s asked to share his advice for up-and-coming actors.
Let’s Get Dark
The Fright Night remake bridges a good gap between the dark and the funny categories of the Colin Farrell Film Festival, offering a few laughs as it fully embraces its campiness while getting downright gory. Plus, you can’t go wrong with Farrell playing a sexy vampire-next-door.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Danis Tanovic’s (No Man’s Land) which premiered at TIFF in 2009. Farrell is Mark, a photojournalist who returns home from a dangerous assignment in Kurdistan in 1988 without his friend and fellow photographer. It’s a movie that explores PTSD, trauma, and the psychological effects of war on non-combatants and Farrell is dynamite, especially opposite Christopher Lee as his veteran psychoanalyst father-in-law.
If you watch the excellent The Killing Of A Sacred Deer you are entitled to a hug.
Do You Have Kids?
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
Saving Mr. Banks
If you watched Triage or The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, it’s probably time for something lighter and family-friendly. The animated Epic is the kid-friendliest option of the festival unless your kids like bleak movies about a one-armed circus trainer and his flying elephant.
While Fantastic Beasts is a fine entry into the Harry Potter canon, the film’s major twist is a huge letdown and a cruel injustice to anyone participating in a Colin Farrell Film Festival…at least Farrell looks good casting spells and wearing a long cloak.
Saving Mr. Banks is one of those movies that deserved a lot more attention and praise than it got upon release. While Farell’s role is a pivotal one told through flashbacks about “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers and her upbringing with her drunk father (Farrell, naturally). The main crux of the story is about Travers (Emma Thompson) and her prickliness when it comes to Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) desire to adapt “Mary Poppins” for the big screen. The ensemble cast with Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Ruth Wilson and Jason Schwartzman should be enough to make you want to watch it.
The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus
Roman J. Israel, Esq.
These aren’t quite as bad as the “Get The Bad Ones Out Of The Way” but are the ones that will have you asking, “why?”.
Of these, Solace is a remarkable movie in that it feels like something that totally would have slayed in the 1990s – A psychic doctor (Anthony Hopkins) and an FBI agent (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) are on the hunt for a serial killer (Farrell). It probably has that ‘90s feel to it because it was originally conceived as a sequel to Seven, which makes it worth watching just out of sheer curiosity.
Ask The Dust
Ask The Dust is for anyone who thinks Farrell and Salma Hayek make a good pair and thinks dusty tales set during the Great Depression are the most romantic of all.
Neil Jordan’s Ondine has all the markings of an Irish fairytale with Farrell as a fisherman who pulls a woman out of the sea in his net, leading his daughter to believe she’s a mythical selkie. After watching the chemistry he has with Alicja Bachleda on-screen it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she and Farrell had a son, Henry, together a year later.
And then there’s Winter’s Tale, which was deemed to be an unfilmable novel and those people were probably right. Nevertheless, it has some real romance to it and moments of pained brooding from Farrell. But it also has a flying horse, Russell Crowe as a demon and Will Smith in a cameo as the devil. I rest my case.
It’s Called ACTING
If Farrell as a country singer in Crazy Heart is the closest we get to a musical in the Colin Farrell Film Festival, Miss Julie may be the closest we ever get to seeing Farrell tread the boards at a theatre. Directed by Julie Christie, the dynamic cast of Farrell, Jessica Chastain and Samantha Morton feed off one another.
Phone Booth, Farrell’s second outing with Joel Schumacher could be dismissed as a gimicky early-2000s thriller, but here Farrell quite literally makes standing in a phone booth for 90 mins entertaining. That’s a skill.
This Is Better Than You Thought
Pride And Glory
Though his appearance in Veronica Guerin is little more than a cameo, all of these films will have you saying, “well, that was better than I thought it would be”.
The Best For Last
Somewhere along his career, Colin Farrell realized he wasn’t the best at being a Movie Star or a conventional leading man (there isn’t a single rom-com in his filmography), freeing himself up to be a really good-looking quirky character actor.
His deadpan delivery in Yorgos Lanthimos’ delightfully absurd The Lobster is a career highlight. From start to finish, it’s utterly brilliant, even though a wild tonal shift. Plus, A+ on the moustache and dad bod.
And then there is the dream pairing of writer-director Martin McDonagh and Farrell. In Bruges is beautiful, violent, harsh, funny, witty, and entertaining. It’s peak Farrell in his Golden Globe-winning performance as a remorseful contract killer who runs the gamut of emotions while stuck in Bruges, Belgium. A second pairing with McDonagh for Seven Psychopaths is almost as brilliant in a layered film that feels like it gets more meta on every viewing.
All three titles are Farrell as his absolute best.
Thankfully, we’ll be blessed by another McDonagh offering, reuniting Farrell and In Bruges co-star Brendan Gleeson for a film about a pair of lifelong friends on a remote Irish island who enter an awkward time in their friendship when one of them no longer wants to be friends, according to IMDb.
Eight Hours To Go
It’s a hill I am prepared to die on: Season 2 of True Detective is the best season. If your Colin Farrell Film Festival didn’t end with In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths or The Lobster then welcome to the next eight hours of your life.
Gritty, boozy and full of moustaches True Detective is dark crime story about the interconnected stories of three police officers – Farrell, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch – and a career criminal played by Vince Vaughn. It’s bleak and you can almost smell the cigarette smoke in the air, but the cast is incredible together. It may be the Colin Farrell Film Festival but we really need Vince Vaughn to be the bad guy more often. Add in an incredibly intense shoot-out scene worthy of the big screen, True Detective season 2 is some must-see TV.