Charity Movie Deathmatch

Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959)

Americans calling my nation’s national holiday “Saint Patty’s Day” is one of those things that, as an Irishmouse, I am supposed to be Very Annoyed About. Honestly, it doesn’t bug me. Way I see it, if Irish Americans hadn’t turned March 17 into a major celebration of Irish identity and history in the eighteen hundreds, today the feast of Saint Patrick would be about as big a deal as the third Sunday of Ordinary Time so I say let ‘em call it whatever they like. At this point, it’s as much theirs as ours. Ireland and America have always had a very close relationship, culturally. This has often been a very positive thing, but it does cause problems. Picture Ireland as a man with a very quiet voice and a huge megaphone with the words “MADE IN AMERICA” emblazoned on it. Ireland has a global cultural presence and clout far, far beyond what you’d expect for a small country with a relatively paltry population and that’s largely due to the outsize influence Irish emigrants have had in the shaping of the world’s only cultural hyperpower. But what that means is that what the world perceives as “Irishness” is often filtered first through an American prism. Small Irish voice, big American megaphone. The result is that how we’re perceived by the rest of the world is often completely out of our hands.  Take a look at this picture:

The photo was taken in 1946 in County Kerry in the West of Ireland. The gentleman on the left is one Séamus Delargy, the founder of the Irish Folklore Commission, an organisation tasked with collecting and cataloguing the vast body of oral folklore, songs and poetry that had been passed down by word of mouth by the Irish people since time immemorial. The Irish Folklore Commission, incidentally, later became the Irish Folklore Department in University College Dublin where I got the degree that has made me the wealthy, eminently employable mouse I am today.

Oh, and the guy on the right is Walt Disney.

So, around the end of the second world war, Disney had set his heart on making a film based on Irish legends (Disney’s great-grandfather was from Kilkenny). He was put in touch with Delargey and over the next decade the two men corresponded continously. Delargy viewed Disney’s film as a chance to bring some of the treasure trove of Irish folklore his commission had uncovered to a wider audience, and dispatched crates of books, plays and manuscripts to Burbank. To Delargy’s disappointment however, Disney eventually decided to base his Irish film on Herminie Templeton Kavanagh’s “Darby O’Gill” books. Here we have the relationship between Irish folklore and it’s American amanuenses personified. Delargy says “Here is a huge and varied body of folktales full of magic, heroes, epic quests, tricksters and romance.” and Disney replies “That’s nice. Leprechauns, please.”

This movie’s reputation is a little hard to assess. In America, it’s fairly obscure, but amongst those who know of it it’s quite highly regarded. Hell, no less an authority than Leonard Malthin, a man who eats Disney movies and shits special limited edition Blu-Rays , called it “not only one of Disney best films, but certainly one of the best fantasies ever put to film.”

Well. Clearly SOMEONE’s never seen Hawk the Slayer.

 In Ireland it is most certainly not obscure. And our relationship to this particular movie is…complicated. It was a huge hit when it was released here, with Disney himself attending the Dublin premiere which virtually brought the city to a standstill. But it arrived at a very crucial period in Irish history, when Taoiseach Seán Lemass was trying to cast off the nation’s image as a rural backwater and promote Ireland as a modern economy ready to do business with the world. The success of this movie and it’s bucolic image of rural towns and cheerfully superstitious peasants had many in government muttering between clenched teeth: “You. Are. Not. Helping.” Today it remains a staple of Irish television, particularly around Saint Patrick’s day, and is one of those movies that almost every Irish person has seen once, along with Michael Collins and Die Hard*. But there has always been an undercurrent of resentment to this movie, with many feeling that it’s…what’s the word I’m looking for?


“Ah, no.”

But “Darby O’Gill” has definitely become a shorthand for fake, inauthentic Oirishness in film. But is that reputation justified? Let’s take a look, just to be sure. To be sure.

To be sure.


Deathmatch 2017: Epilogue




And so we end another season of what I am pretty sure is the world’s most successful charity event/bloodsport! Deathmatch 2017 is over! A moment’s silence for the fallen.

So, our three contestants left standing are:

The Last Unicorn (First Place)

Avatar: The Last Airbender (Second Place)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2 (Third Place)

First two weren’t much of a surprise, I’ve been getting requests for Last Unicorn for years and Avatar is just a phenomenal cartoon. And of course, sadism is always a powerful motivator so I’m not too surprised to see Hunchback 2 make it over the finish line. There were some surprises though. I thought it was very odd that The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat didn’t get a single vote.

"Yes. Odd."

“Yes. Odd.”

Anyway, if one of your favourite fighters didn’t make it, don’t be too disappointed. No fewer than four of the eliminated movies/series were purchased outright so they’ll get a review as well. Your generosity has been truly humbling. Together you raised over a thousand dollars for the ACLU and have ensured that I am now booked up for the NEXT TWO GODDAMN YEARS. And it is going to be a WILD two years. We’ve got everything from Golden Age Hollywood classics to bargain basements schlock and everything in between (and animé. SO MUCH ANIMÉ).

Thanks for making Deathmatch 2017 an unqualified success. You guys rock.

Mouse out.

Deathmatch 2017: Week 3




My my my. Three naughty, nasty little movies gone.

Six good, sweet little movies left. The remaining contenders:

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death and Rebirth

Avatar: The Last Airbender



The Last Unicorn

The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2

Belle’s Magical World

Donate to the ACLU to ensure your favourite movie or series makes it to the final three.  Onward! For glory!

Deathmatch: Picnic of Blood!




"What. The. HELL?"

“What. The. HELL?”

"What kind of deathmatch is this?! Why arent you killing each other?!"

“What kind of deathmatch is this?! Why aren’t you killing each other?!”

"But no ones voting for us! Everyones just being really generous and  buying reviews outright!"

“But no one’s voting for us! Everyone’s just being really generous and buying reviews outright!”

"Huh? Really?"

“Huh? Really?”


"Aw, thats  awesome. But still...three of you gotta die.!"

“Aw, that’s awesome. But still…three of you gotta die. Um…you!”





"Noooo...I have so much to live for!"

“Noooo…I have so much to live for!”

"Hes crazy! Run for you lives!"

“He’s crazy! Run for you lives!”




Deathmatch 2017: This aggression will not stand, man.

During the 2016 election there was considerable debate as to whether Donald Trump was simply a con man using nativist rhetoric to win the nomination and who would then swiftly abandon populism and ram through a hard-right platform designed to enrich the one percent, or whether he was actually the racist authoritarian that he played on TV. The answer turned out to be: “Yes.”

Things have gotten real bad, real fast and I think it’s clear that we are living in times that will have large, detailed chapters in future history books. I awoke this morning to learn that a close friend of mine is now banned from entering the United States purely because of her place of birth. The wall is being built. A white nationalist is now sitting on the National Security Council. The nation built by the poor, the tired and the huddled masses is refusing to admit refugees. The most powerful office in the world is less trusted and respected after eight days of Trump than after eight years of George W. Bush. I confess that I am deeply afraid.

As well as being afraid, I am angry, frustrated, appalled and sickened. But one thing I am not is despondent. I am not pessimistic. I am not disheartened.


Because the last week has reaffirmed what I already knew. The American people did not elect Trump. Trump was elected by a combination of fluke, a rotting and archaic electoral system, voter suppression and intervention by a hostile foreign power. The American people are the ones who voted for Hillary Clinton by a massive margin, who staged the largest demonstration in the nation’s history against Trump’s nascent kakistocracy and who are now fighting against the illegal detention of refugees at American airports.

The good outnumber the wicked and they always will.

This is a time when all people of good will must put whatever skills they have towards resisting Trump. For me, that means writing snarky reviews of movies which I will be the first to admit is not the most obviously useful skill in an anti-fascist resistance movement.

But that is why this year’s Unshaved Mouse Charity Movie Deathmatch is in aid of the American Civil Liberties Union.

So, how does the Deathmatch work?

  1. Make a donation of $5 or $10 to the ACLU.
  2. Email your receipt to letting me know which movie or series gets your vote (a 5 dollar donation counts as one vote, 10 counts for two)
  3. Deathmatch runs all through February. Every two weeks, the lowest scoring three movies/series will be eliminated in ways not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.
  4. Highest scoring three movies/series at the end of the month get reviewed and get to go home to their loved ones.

Mouse, I’m wealthy, I’m charitable and I want you to review something NOW.

A $35 dollar donation gets you any movie or episode of a TV show reviewed that you like. $60 gets you two. $100 gets you four and quite possibly a statue somewhere when this all blows over.

What if I buy a review for a movie or series that’s competing in the death match?

In the case of movies, if you give a $35 donation and request a movie that loses the deathmatch, you get the review anyway. If your movie wins the deathmatch then I will contact you and ask you for your second choice and you get two movies that you wanted reviewed instead of one. Fair enough?

In the case of a TV series  that wins the deathmatch, I’ll review an extra episode for every person that gave a $35 donation for that series.

Boring stuff done, so let’s MEET OUR FIGHTERS!


Merry Christmas

And so, as 2016 leaves the smouldering ruins behind and returns to the ocean from whence it came, I emerge from hibernation to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Be safe, be happy, be loved and, as Abraham Lincoln once said:

Image result for party on dudes abraham lincoln


The script’s going really well but I miss you all, and I’m looking forward to getting back on the blog horse in February. Something that a lot of people have been asking me is when I’m going to do another Charity Movie Deathmatch and, much as I’d love to, I’m STILL working through the reviews from the last one and amn’t due to finish those until July. So, obviously, the only way I could do another Deathmatch would be if I was the kind of mouse who had a history of taking on huge projects while stile struggling to finish his existing ones…

"Oh right. I’m me.”

“Oh right. I’m me.”




Movie Deathmatch: The Final Reckoning

And so, as another year ends we face the aftermath of another Movie Deathmatch. Dammit, we must build a better world. When will the killing end?
So, as you all know, this time around I was trying to raise money for Joanna VR, a filmed version of my play for virtual reality. We were aiming to raise €12,500. We got around €3,000.
Meh. It happens. We’ll sit down, work out where we go from here, figure out a new way to do it and try again. All part of the process and not one you guys have to worry about. What does concern you is the results and here they are. The winners of the increasingly misnamed Unshaved Mouse Charity Movie Deathmatch 2015 are:
3. Steven Universe
2. Gravity Falls.
1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2
Wrong winner
Oh wait. Sorry, sorry.
No, first place was actually Gargoyles. Yeah. And for those of you agitating in the comments to get people to vote for Hunchback 2? I have a list. And I will find you.
Stories will be told around campfires.
Huge thanks to everyone who voted. Also, special thanks to people who gave larger donations and requested reviews outright. They were Alex Hu, Martha Brady, Michael Tyndall, JBull, Roger Courtney, Adrienne Gallagher and my brothers John, Eamonn and Donal Sharpson who donated just to make sure that I have to review three of the WORST FUCKING MOVIES OF ALL TIME. Thanks to all of you (except the last three) and if there’s anyone I’ve overlooked please let me know in the comments ASAP.
Happy new year everybody.
Mouse out

Movie Deathmatch Part 2: Blood everywhere

Gravity Falls

Goof movie

Steven universe

Pacific rim

Star Trek

Star Trek the Animated Series, Pacific Rim and A Goofy Movie have now all been killed. Would you like to know which of them were cowards? If you want the movies and TV series below to escape the same grisly fate, you know what you gotta do: head over to the Joanna VR Kickstarter  page, make a donation of five or ten and leave a comment to let me know who gets your vote of vote. And remember, for a vote of €25 or more you can request a review of any movie or tv show you like. The remaining fighters are:


Gravity Falls

The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2

Stephen Universe

Summer Wars

The Lego Movie

Voting closes 31 December when I will be putting up the winners. Thanks for all your support guys.

Charity Movie Deathmatch: At last, the madness ends…

Balto Fett


Iron Giant Rides the Bomb

Drop your sword

“Drop. Your. Sword.”

Fritz sitting down

"Shall I dispatch him for you?"

“Shall I dispatch him for you?”

"No, I want him to live a long life alone with his cowardice."

“No, I want him to live a long life alone with his cowardice.”

Well, the 2015 Unshaved Mouse Charity Movie Deathmatch has finally come to a close.

Now, we must rebuild.

Huge thanks to everyone who donated (I’ll let you know how much we raised when I’ve counted everything up) and here are the four movies that will be reviewed:

3rd Place: Fievel Goes West & Secret of Nimh (tied)

2nd Place: Fritz the Cat

1st Place: Watership Down



Face off

Blood on Snow

Kung Fu Panda




Guys, I’m not sure we can keep doing this. I mean, the carnage we’ve seen in the last week…it gives the word “deathmatch” a bad name!

Week 2 is over and Kung Fu Panda, Maleficent and Land Before Time have all been dispatched to the big cinema in the sky. Our remaining and increasingly nervous fighters are:


An American Tail 2: Fievel Goes West

Fritz the Cat

The Secret of Nimh

The Iron Giant

Watership Down

Only YOU can save your favourite movie and ensure it gets a review by donating any sum, small or large to Love Without Boundaries and email your receipt to along with your vote. Now let battle resume!

I love this, God help me I do.