Once (2006) -- The title invites me to say that I just can't see "Once" once. It's such a fun film and remarkable for its backstory that includes a real love that developed between the two leads despite their age difference. Glen Hansard is the Guy -- so billed in the credits -- and Marketa Irglova is the Girl. He's a busker who comes to meet this talented immigrant musician on the streets of Dublin. She encourages his songwriting, but won't get involved because she's already married, though her husband if far away. Some wonderful tunes and ecstatic scenes amid some otherwise depressing lives.
The Commitments (1991) -- Another film about Irish musicians. This time, young Jimmy Rabbitte dreams of being a star playing covers of the great Americans of an earlier time. He idolizes, among others, Wilson Pickett. He puts together a band that really rocks and appears ready to rocket upward, but then falls apart as romances and egos split the mates. More wonderful tunes and ecstatic scenes amid otherwise dreary lives. And this, that I just discovered: It also includes Glen Hansard, 15 years before "Once."
Circle of Friends (1995) -- The first film I remember seeing with Minnie Driver. Er, I mean the first I saw that had Minnie Driver in it. This one is a sober account of loyalty, love, class and sexism. Irish teens grow up and go to college, but the real lessons, it seems, must be learned elsewhere. Driver is the plain Jane in this film, but makes the more-than-suitable catch.
Leap Year (2010) -- This one is the one that's fun to ridicule. It's full of cliches -- livestock on the rural roads, colorful locals, Irish superstitions, etc. -- and ridiculous scenes -- destroyed inn rooms, runaway cars and the like. I think Amy Adams is adorable, but her character here is barely tolerable. I would probably vote this the worst film of 2010 but I have to admit I've seen it twice. Just to make sure. Adams plays an American who flies to Ireland to surprise her beau with a marriage proposal, but winds up falling in love with the guy who, of course, she starts out hating. Classic (not in a good sense) rom com.