Irish Storytelling (Part 2): Psychopaths/Artists

PART TWO:  Psychopaths/Artists


Two Fridays ago, Carl and I went to see Martin McDonagh’s latest film, Seven Psychopaths.  The film stars Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson amongst others.  Tom Waits is thrown into the cast, which is delightfully entertaining, because I highly enjoy the roles he has played in movies.  His music takes the cake as well, but there is no denying that Waits is one talented human being.  Strange he may be, but who isn’t?

Rockwell and Walken, who make up quite the duo when it comes to play a pair of con artists, steal Harrelson’s Shih Tzu.  Farrell is a struggling writer, who gets wrapped up in his friends’ situation after drinking too much and calling his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend a f’ing bitch in front of her friends. 

The dialogue, more than the action, is fantastic, and it’s comparable to Tarantino’s work.  The beginning sequence, the hospital scene, and the first part of the dessert scene parallels the writer/producer/director well.  The dialogue and scenario are symbiotic when it comes to prolonging the inevitable outcome. 

As we were leaving the theater, I told Carl that Walken deserves an Oscar nod.  He was his quirky self at times, but the character he played was very, very deep.  His character went through a lot, and he comes across very downtrodden at times.  I will try not to give anything away, but the events in which the loves of his existence are taken away from him, you can really grasp his sadness without having to expect his character to come out and say what’s bothering him. 

This movie is the follow up to McDonagh’s In Bruges (2008), which stars Farrell. Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes.  This is definitely on my top favorite movies.  I’m not going to give a brief synopsis, however.  I will mention that Gleeson, who has starred in McDonagh’s brother’s–John Michael McDonagh–films (The Guard and the upcoming Calvary), is adapting one of my favorite books into a film:  At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brian.  Frankly, I cannot wait to see how this movie is going to turn out, because the book–in my opinion–makes a movie version very difficult to imagine. 

They are all Irish, so I cannot do anything but trust them.


The McDonagh brothers, as Irish as their ancestry is, are originally from England.  They were born and raised, in fact.  Oscar Wilde, from what I remember, lived in the same circumstances, living in England most of his life.

I first heard of Martin McDonagh in college, because of my taking a class on Irish theater.

The introduction of the course focused on the beginning of the Irish theater, especially with the involvement and dedication of William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory.  We did read plays by these three listed individuals, and the other writers we took great appreciation for included:  Synge, Beckett, Behan, Keane, and Sean O’Casey.  To this day, my favorite plays are The Playboy of the Western World (Synge), Waiting for Godot (Beckett), and The Lonesome West (McDonagh).  The book of plays we read by McDonagh were part of his Leenane Trilogy, which includes The Beauty Queen of Leenane (1996), The Skull of Connermara (1997), and The Lonesome West (1997). 

I’m just surprised, but grateful that I heard about his work before I enjoyed his movies.  It’s nice how things come around.  My professor from Oneonta, in fact, came to the Museum of Science and Technology with her family, unbeknown to my working there.  I walked up to her, and she did a double take, or the nonverbal:  You work here?!?

“It’s a small world, after all…”

I did enjoy Irish plays, but aside reading Miller and Shakespeare, I really did not have too much exposure to the genre of literature.  I’m still very new to plays, but at least I can look into this further.  The humor and characterization, I must have been exposed to the best, gets me excited to read.  Maybe it will interest me to the point where I’ll start writing them.

Eh, nah.

I actually tried that already.  I believe it was in fourth or fifth grade–I am thinking fifth–there was this murder mystery play that the students went to see.  It sparked an idea that I could and would create a murder-mystery play to be performed some way and some how.  I got classmates involved, as I was directing, and I remember getting asshole-ish due to my picky pet peeves towards the acting. 

As the memory returns to me, I can acknowledge this was in fifth grade.  We Split Rockers were in exile at Warners Elementary School for half of the year, because our school was being renovated.  Adam Carey and I spent a lot of time drawing, creating and designing our future bachelor pads and video game ideas. 

Granted, we were in fifth grade.  However, I was showing my perfectionist side, which made me look like a giant jackass.  I, also, remember–to illustrate what I had just said–I believe it was Jaclyn Smith’s Oof (the sound that someone makes when they are knocked unconscious by a candlestick) was not up to par.

Yes, okay, I was a bit obsessed with Clue back in the day.


There is just something about Irish writing that is just so intriguing.  The humor is definitely a significant part of this determination, but there is something way beyond that.  The Irish writers really know how to capture individuals and build up characterization. Their storytelling is easily read or listened to, and the works contain irony, sass, and a lot of wit.   A lot of the time, these Irish writers can be captured in a photograph enjoying a beverage at a local pub, often surrounded by good company. 

Yes, the Irish know how to enjoy a good drink, tell a good story, and perfect the situation of combining the two.  It’s as true as often as it is stereotyped.  However, the drinking/storytelling situation rings true with a lot of writers.  If you look at Hemingway, for instance, whose simplistic sentences were the building blocks of a complex story.  I could go into the whole machismo thing, but that’s going off topic. 

It’s good to know that a lot of my friends enjoy writing as much as I do; however, we don’t get together often, and our discussions are more for catching up.  We do talk about literature, but we just don’t manage our time well.  Skyping conversations just doesn’t do much, either; sure it’s face time, but eh.  It’s not the same.  You can only stare at someone for so long before it gets creepy.

That’s true with the romantics out there, writing cheesy words to their loved ones, and mentioning–or actually doing–about how they could stare at their one-and-only for endless amounts of time.  It’s poetic nonsense, I tell you, because that’s just downright crazy… and creepy for that matter.  That’s a tell-tale sign of obsession, which yields psychopath tendencies.  Next thing you know, one gets sick of the other:  the breakup.  After the breakup, the one who is hurt stalks the other, and a restraining order is placed.  The restraining order is placed, but it can only be broken from there.  Just like a heart.  Then the police get involved, and the stalker–after warnings–loses their mind and in slasher-movie-stereotype form starts killing the ex’s friends and family, maybe a few cops for getting in the way, in order to get to the one-who-broke-hearts.  The crazed individual either gets away, dies, or gets sent to a mental institution.  No matter, there is always a sequel.

There you have it, folks:  hopeless romantics = psychopaths

However, it is the writers that come up with this crap.  So, if writers get involved with their work, they are in love with writing to the point where romance is conceived when a pen hits paper.  Ergo, psychopaths.  Their work gets rejected numerous times:  more psychopathic.  That could be another movie…

Writers have a love of the craft —> hopeless romance = psychopathic tendencies

That’s funny.  We all know that’s tr…not true.


Watch out behind you.

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