Movie Monday- The Matchmaker

This is one of my favorite movies of all time! Between The Matchmaker and The Secret Of Roan Inish (another Movie Monday post to come!) I was desperate to get to Ireland. Because of the Matchmaker my friend Heather and I seriously planned on attending the 2000 matchmaking festival held in Lisdoonvarna annually- it's a little embarrassing to admit now, but hey we really did!! In the end Heather went to Ireland a little later than I did and my wonderful friend Denise, that did go with me joined me in my cold feet and we skipped it- alas no Matchmaker-like stories for us, although Ireland was a hoot and we didn't come home without stories... and there were those two farmers in that pub in Dingle....

The  Matchmaker came out in 1997 and stars Janeane Garofalo (oh where is this brilliant, sarcastic lady of comedy now?!) and David O'Hara. It is seriously overlooked. It was even impossible to find on DVD for awhile- I have been reduced to watching my original 1997 VHS copy, which is so well worn now. Trust me, I watched this movie a lot between 1997 and 2000!

The Matchmaker is set in the fictional village of Ballinagra (set in the very real village of Roundstone- which we did view from the main road on our drive to Galway City). Marcy (Janeane Garofalo) is set with the task of tracking down the Irish relatives of her boss, John McGlory- a Senator running for re-election. Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts he believes if he can use his long lost relatives in his campaign he's sure to get re-elected.  In her quest Marcy meets Sean Kelly (played fabulously by David O'Hara) an ex-journalist come home to find himself again after his life has fallen apart. She also falls smack dab into the middle of the matchmaking festival and as fresh pickin's she becomes the target of the towns two rival matchmakers.  A bet is placed and unexpected love plays out- also an unforgettable scene on the Aran Islands which inspired my own trip there.

But wait, you ask- what about the Senator's long lost family?! Not to be forgotten, this plot twist is where you'll find the real laughs. Marcy just can't find any darn McGlorys- frustrated by what they consider her lack of effort the Senator and his chief of staff (played by Jay O. Sanders and Denis Leary) arrive in Ballinagra to put the pressure on. When no genuine McGlorys are to be had he orders Marcy to pay some of the villagers to pretend to be his long lost family. Sean finds out and is disgusted by the idea- he convinces the locals to really play it up and humiliate the Senator. Hilarity ensues!! Of course like all good stories, they leave the best line for last- the Senator has a secret about his lineage even he doesn't know about!

While this is just a good old romantic comedy it can be so much more than that! For those who already have a love affair with Ireland, this movie only serves to fuel the fire- it leaves you desperate to run the grounds of the ancient Dun Aengus, gather in a pub to hear traditional song, make friends with the bartender and knock heads with the one you love!


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