As a kid growing up in the early '00s, there were a lot of things I didn't question. I didn't question the existence of Aaron Carter's music career, purple ketchup, or popcorn shirts. And I definitely didn't question the plot of 2001 Disney Channel Original Movie The Luck Of The Irish , even though, looking back, I totally should have. For those of you less familiar with this St. Patrick's Day-themed DCOM, The Luck Of The Irish was about preteen basketball star Kyle and his search for his cultural identity. Finally his parents tell him the truth — that he's half Irish, but also half Leprechaun, and that he's slowly morphing into the latter.
Kyle was able to pass as human because he was in possession of a magic coin, one that the evil Seamus has stolen from him. Can Kyle get back his magic coin, revert to human form, and win the basketball championship? He sure can, but not before learning a whole bunch of life lessons along the way. This Disney Channel Original Movie definitely meant well — technically, it's about embracing your cultural identity while still appreciating your individuality? — but after re-watching The Luck Of The Irish , I've realized there was a whole lot of stuff in the movie I missed. Here's what I only noticed after a 2016 re-watch of The Luck Of The Irish:
1. The Beginning Is So Intense
The film opens on the stoic faces of what we later learn is the audience of a multicultural festival, but The Luck Of The Irish makes the whole thing weirdly intense. There are flashes to white! There's a voiceover! It's just... it's a lot.
2. Disney Channel Really Worships Athletes
The Thirteenth Year, Brink!, Double Teamed, Motocrossed — so many DCOMs feature a hero or heroine who is crazy athletic. In The Luck Of The Irish , Kyle is the champion on his basketball team — which means that turning into a Leprechaun does not bode well for him jump shot.
3. Kyle Spells Out The Theme Of The Movie Right Off The Bat
"History! That's so 10 minutes ago! But sports. That's what's happening now." Kyle isn't doing much to redeem himself from the "mindless jock" insult that the "smart friend" Bonnie throws out at him.
4. The Parents Are Playing This All Wrong
Kyle's parents are so terrified that their son will discover he's secretly a Leprechaun that they refuse to tell him that he's from anywhere other than Cleveland. Because, obviously, discovering he has ancestors from Ireland would automatically make Kyle jump to the conclusion that he's half Leprechaun, or that Leprechauns are real.
5. #TBT To The Bandana Trend
I used to LOVE bandanas. They were so easy! You never had to do your hair! Can we bring this trend back, please?
6. ...And To These Colorful iMacs
Were they even called iMacs back then?! These were even more fun than the ultra colorful iPod Minis. I'm not even mad that the Luck Of The Irish messed up the rainbow order these computers were clearly supposed to go in.
7. Please Tell Me This Book Isn't Real
Because the only person who would be "afraid to ask" about their Irish heritage would be someone whose parents are trying to keep the fact that he's a Leprechaun a secret.
8. This Movie Isn't Doing Great Things For Breaking Stereotypes Of Irish Culture...
Kyle's grandfather speaks with a thick Irish rogue, complains about Kyle's shoes not being as strong as "Irish leather," and uses the phrase "as tough as a landlord's heart." The only way to make this guy seem more Irish would be to show him actively eating a potato.
9. ...Especially When It Comes To Food
After Kyle's mom starts regressing into a Leprechaun without the magic coin, she starts making traditionally Irish food, like black and white pudding (a.k.a. blood sausage mixed with pork sausage) which Kyle immediately recoils at the mention of. For a movie that really drives home the point about appreciating everyone's cultures, the way it makes a joke out of food that's super common in the U.K. isn't so P.C.
10. Everyone In Kyle's School Is Literally The Worst
Kyle performs poorly at one game — one — and suddenly the popular girls who worshipped him look at him like he's a literal troll. Which he's not. Because he's a Leprechaun.
11. Are Leprechauns That Tiny?
Because Lucky Charms always made them see a little... larger.
12. Kyle's Grandfather Owns A Potato Factory?!?
So, what I said about the Luck Of The Irish being unable to make Kyle's grandfather seem more Irish? Apparently, they decided that the script needed another thing to drive the point home.
13. Also, His Name Is Reilly O'Reilly
More like really, oh, really?
14. Then, There's This
Yes, Reilly O'Reilly is sitting on a green car, next to a Leprechaun, playing the bagpipes. FYI, the trunk of the car contains shoes made of only the finest Irish leather.
15. The Villain Looks Like A Cross Between Elvis And Spike From Buffy
Technically, though, he's an Irish fairy.
16. He Looks Totally Different In Leprechaun Form
Yeah, seriously getting some Buffy vampire vibes.
17. This CGI Isn't Great
It's suuuuuper awkward looking and this still is mildly terrifying.
18. In The End, Everyone Learns A Valuable Lesson
Kyle realizes that he should respect his heritage (both from his Irish mom and his Cleveland-born dad) and proves it by performing a surprisingly complex Irish step dance in a Cleveland Browns tee-shirt. It's oddly heartwarming, and I seriously appreciate that he didn't dive into the Irish stereotypes as intensely as everyone else in the movie in order to show respect for the "old country."
The Luck Of The Irish: a movie with great intentions wrapped in every Irish stereotype possible.
Images: Disney Channel (19)
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