Filmmaker Troy Duffy created a true cult classic with “The Boondock Saints.” The 1999 film inspired a more than dedicated following, spawned a sequel and has lived on for more than a decade. The film is interesting in that it relishes not only in its positive aspects, but its bad ones as well. The film is a true trash classic, and that’s not such a bad thing. But something seems to have been lost regarding the film since its theatrical release. “The Boondock Saints” is an extremely conservative film. In fact, “Saints” is the most unsung conservative film of the past fifteen years.
So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, let us take a few moments to ponder …
“The Boondock Saints” presents two Irish Catholic brothers (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) who work long days in a meat factory and drink the nights away in a local bar. This is all done with rosaries around their necks to represent their deeply held beliefs. After killing two mobsters in self defense, the MacManus brothers receive a message from God: they are to spill the blood of those that do harm upon the innocent. They become the alcoholic, cursing and politically incorrect warriors of God.
The film not only celebrates this vigilantism as righteous, but it revels in the political incorrectness of the brothers and the power of their faith to carry them through. What more could a conservative film buff want?
The 2009 sequel proved even more unapologetic in its conservatism. For “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day,” the brothers head back to Boston to right wrongs once again. They don’t care what the PC police have to say. They pick up a third brother who happens to be Mexican and openly exchange racial jokes with him. When one brother suggests they throw some blond highlights in their hair, the other brother mocks him with the lines, “Gay! Gay! Gay!” The brothers are who they are and never apologize for it.
The second film includes an awesome sequence where the brothers and the very much dead, but beloved, Rocco yell and scream about what it is to be a man. They complain about authority and talk about real men who build cities and drink hard and live hard and keep the world together. Men like John Wayne! It’s like a passage by Ayn Rand, but with much less poetry (or more, depending on your perspective). “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” reveled in the ideas of machismo and manhood the way other films shy away from these days for fear of inciting anger in their liberal Hollywood friends.
Duffy is a working class hero. He started out as a bartender and got a huge deal from good ol’ Harvey Weinstein only to piss it away. But he gave the world a film that felt more real than the petty stuff Miramax and other studios were pushing out. The film was from a blue collar guy and it was for working class people. It hit on sentiments that everyday Americans felt, and that’s why both films have become wildly successful.
This St. Patrick’s Day, if you’re just planning on kicking back and having a few, then do it with the “Saints.” They’re mean, they ain’t green and they’d be heroes at any Tea Party rally. Hollywood doesn’t give us squat. It’s when real Americans decide to make films that they end up becoming hits with true red, white and blue Americans. Like when real Navy SEALs are hired to star in “Act of Valor,” or a real businessman like John Aglialoro decides to adapt “Atlas Shrugged” himself. Those are the films that strike a nerve in the movie-going public.
“The Boondock Saints” and its sequel are underrated conservative films that deserve some notice. Let’s give it to them.