White Irish Drinkers 

But we repeat ourselves.

There have been about a million American coming-of-age movies, and probably half of those have been about kids from a distinct ethnic group growing up, finding their legs, and dealing with the world as they discover it. So what makes the deceptively titled White Irish Drinkers so special?

We take you to Brooklyn, 1975. Eighteen-year-old Brian Leary (played by Berkeley native Nick Thurston) isn't having trouble with pedophile priests, gangs of kids from rival ethnic enclaves (although he and his friends mock the local Italian kids as "disco faggots"), or even his draft board. No, what's paining Brian are the old reliables: the drunken, abusive dad, Paddy (hammy Stephen Lang), and the hoodlum older brother, Danny (Geoffrey Wigdor). Dad comes home every night from the pub and beats Mom (Karen Allen) and Danny, but significantly leaves Brian alone. He feels left out. Danny, in turn, leans on his younger brother to join in his petty larceny, which is getting more serious by the minute.

Brian would rather hole up in the basement of the family bungalow and paint watercolors. He has talent and is applying to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh to study fine art. But then one night he spies Shauna (Leslie Murphy) across the barroom and falls in love. Pale, red-haired Shauna is the sort of girl James Joyce would have devoted entire sad chapters to. It is she who suggests running naked through the cemetery. Young Brian is a goner.

Writer-director John Gray (he created the Ghost Whisperer series on TV) was blessed to find the faces of actors Thurston and Murphy. They look like real people. So does Allen, Peter Riegert (as Whitey the neighborhood movie theater man), and Ken Jennings, as Jimmy Cheeks the shylock. You can go far with the right kind of Irish face.

White Irish Drinkers
Rated R · 109 minutes · 2011
Official Site: www.whiteirishdrinkersthemovie.com
Director: John Gray
Producer: Melissa Jo Peltier and Paul Bernard
Cast: Nick Thurston, Geoff Wigdor, Karen Allen, Stephen Lang, Peter Riegert, Leslie Murphy, Zachary Booth, Lizzy Grant, Michael Drayer and Ken Jennings

Trailer

Now Playing

White Irish Drinkers is not showing in any theaters in the area.

What others are saying

  • Film Details

    Comments

    Subscribe to this thread:

    Add a comment

    Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

    Latest in Movie Review

    Special Reports

    The Beer Issue 2020

    The Decade in Review

    The events and trends that shaped the Teens.

    Best of the East Bay

    2020

    © 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
    Powered by Foundation