Emergency Ode to Colin Farrell
Readers, if you don’t think I almost wrote this post instead of going to bed last night, lest you all think I was falling behind on my Farrell-watching duties, first of all, how dare you, of course I (almost) did. Thank you for your patience during the delay; I’m talking, of course, about the fact that just last night, our boy won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for The Banshees of Inisherin!
For me, the big news here is that he gave a wonderful speech, and that made me feel great about this whole project. We’re in an age where, yes, it does seem like everyone has some nasty Tweets or problematic photos in their past that could, at any moment, topple their status as a Celebrity Who Is Also a Good Person in our minds, and yes, before embarking on a celebrity-worship-adjacent project like this one, one should do a good amount of research to be sure that they’re not about to sing the praises of a racist or abuser or asshole, and no, I didn’t do that super thoroughly before this Colin Farrell endeavor. So a lovely acceptance speech filled with appreciation and love and humor and humility is a really nice treat, and reassurance that I’m happy to be traveling along with Colin Farrell on his theatrical journey, no matter how silly his facial hair may have been in Phone Booth.
Two quick asides: first, you really do need to do that kind of research, I was reminded this holiday season, when I was going to go in on a Cameo with my friend Doug for our mutual buddy Joe (an idea I maintain is a great gift, despite the fact that this one, spoiler, didn’t work out. I very much doubt that Colin Farrell is on Cameo, but if someone wants to prove me wrong with a personalized thanks-for-making-a-Medium-about-me message from the man himself, I will absolutely not have a problem with that). Doug, who gets the award for being the more ethically responsible of the two of us, like one second before I was about to purchase the services of this semi-recognizable character actor from a million movies and shows, including a popular network thriller from the early 2000s that’s one of Joe’s favorites, said wait a second, shouldn’t we research this guy a little and make sure we’re ok giving him our money? And I said UUUUUGGGGHHHH, ok, yes, fine, of course we should do that. Reader, maybe you can see where this is going. Turns out this gentleman supplements his acting career as a mover and shaker in some kind of hard to pin down quasi-libertarian anti-big government organization that maybe doesn’t like, kill people, but whose membership is definitely comprised of people with, shall we say, very different values from mine (or Joe’s or Doug’s) and so, ultimately, we did not give him $50 and Joe did not get a personalized merry Christmas. Sorry Joe. It would have been awesome, but being able to sleep at night safe in the knowledge that we didn’t inadvertently make a donation to Destroy All Poor People, or whatever this stupid organization was called, was awesomer.
Aside number two: I am aware that the art vs. the artist/cancel culture/accountability for one’s personal views and actions debate is nuanced and polarizing and people have strong feelings about it. I’m not going to go into too much of it here, but for our purposes, where I’m coming from is this: I think people should be held accountable for saying and doing stupid or ugly or sometimes completely inhuman heinous things, especially if they’re doing those things in the public eye, or have chosen a life in the public gaze. I think that, while it can seem like everyone’s got cancel-able offenses in their past, that that’s not actually true, that plenty of public-facing people are actively trying to learn and be better and take care in how they move through the world and deal with other human beings. And I think that a public-facing persona who makes a point to be lovely and gracious to other people in an extremely public speech should be recognized and appreciated. The bar is low for good behavior among the rich and famous, I believe, and I think it’s recently been raised a teeny tiny bit (and even that little bit has made people absolutely freak out and act like no one’s allowed to open their mouth and say words anymore for fear of some phantom persecution which in reality is simply other people proclaiming that they don’t care for those words, but I digress…); but I appreciate those that do clear that low bar. I know that, as of last night, this particular figure has chosen to present himself in a way that honors other people and prioritizes kindness, and since I don’t know him personally, I’m ok with believing that that’s at least somewhat true to how he really is.
To segue into Colin’s speech, last night’s excellent host, Jerrod Carmichael, actually got into some of this in his opening monologue, which deserves its own appreciation post. I’d encourage people to watch several of the speeches from last night, actually; a lot of them were pretty great. My favorites were Jennifer Coolidge, Michelle Yeoh, and Ke Huy Quan.
But now let’s talk about Colin Farrell. In researching this, I found that GQ appears to agree with me about Farrell’s good-guy bona fides: their headline is “Colin Farrell’s Golden Globes acceptance speech says no thanks to toxic masculinity.” Well ok! Here are some highlights:
Ana, I thought you were extraordinary, I cried myself to sleep.
Colin started off by taking time out of his speech to speak directly to Ana de Armas, who presented the award, to tell her how moved he was by her performance as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde. How classy is that? “It messed me up so bad,” he told her, and when the audience laughed, he addressed them for the first time: “Not a joke, but you’re welcome to laugh! It’s not my place to say what’s appropriate laughter or not in this world.” As I continue to track any and everything super Irish throughout this project, it must be said: that’s a super Irish thing to say.
Horrified, in a thrilling kind of way
Oh, readers, after my dabbling in The Tin Drum and my genetically inherited love of the strange and macabre, can you imagine how it tickled me when Colin Farrell told Martin McDonagh that the success of Banshees of Inisherin has “horrified” him, but “in a thrilling kind of way”? Our man is a poet!
Let me take just a moment to appreciate Martin McDonagh. At this point, he’s probably most well-known for In Bruges and of course Banshees, both of which I’ll get to in this project, but my two favorite of his works are the play The Pillowman, which I saw with my mother on Broadway years ago with Billy Crudup and Jeff Goldblum, and which I’m not going to link to because it really needs to be seen as a play, so be sure to see it if it ever plays near you, and the short film Six Shooter, which also stars Brendan Gleeson, and which you should watch right now. I believe that Six Shooter was one of the selections in the first ever Oscar nominated shorts screenings I went to with my Oscar shorts buddy Dietrich almost twenty years ago, and which I try my best to catch every year. (This one was our favorite; remember, Dietch?)
“Brendan,” Colin Farrell said to Brendan Gleeson, beaming away in the audience, “I just, I love you so much. I love you so much.” He also shouted out Kerry Condon, who plays his sister in Banshees. If you recognize her, it’s likely because she plays Mike’s daughter-in-law on Better Call Saul; she’s also in This Must Be the Place, a very weird and charming Sean Penn movie which I highly recommend.
The love fest continued as Colin thanked the people of Inishmore, where Banshees was filmed. “The line was blurred between all of us so that we were just one big family,” he said, “for the betterment of all of our souls.” He also called his two sons the loves of his life (sorry, Britney).
My favorite part of the speech was directed at Barry Keoghan: “When you’re sharing a house with an actor you’re working with, a word of advice, Barry,” he said: “don’t eat his Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and leave him with no breakfast in the morning. Ok? You should never send a man to work on an empty belly.”
Barry Keoghan was haunting and sad and funny and super watchable in Banshees, which did not surprise me, because he’s Colin Farrell’s opposite in The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which, dear readers, I’m not going to lie to you, I am not looking forward to watching again; it’s one of the darkest movies I’ve ever seen, and yes, too dark for me is pretty effing dark — but Keoghan’s performance is hypnotizing, and I’m always pleased to see him, even if apparently he’s prone to eating his roommate’s food.
And then Farrell outcharmed himself again by recognizing his final costar, Jenny the Donkey. “She’s having an early retirement because she said ‘Fuck the film business, you’re welcome to it. I’m one and done.’ So she’s gone.” (Yes, Colin got bleeped; Jennifer Coolidge’s prodigious swearing is getting the most bleep-related press today, but let the record show that our 90s bad boy also got an f-word in there.)
So there you have it! Colin Farrell is a good actor, a delightful speech-giver, and if he’s not a nice guy, he does a really good job pretending to be one. I for one imagine that the set of Banshees was a crisp coastal utopia, complete with happy well-fed donkeys and good-natured cereal-related hijinks and love and fellowship in the chilly Irish air. Congratulations, Young Man in Cinema №2 — look how far you’ve come!
(Here’s a video of the speech; I’m sure I did an excellent job recapping, but I grudgingly admit that hearing it in the Irish accent and seeing Colin in his tux and his earring probably adds something to it.)