Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Monty Python's Life of Brian (Review)

     Thank you IFC, for playing my favorite Monty Python movie, "Monty Python's Life of Brian."  This is not my favorite Monty Python movie for the obvious, narcissistic reason, (same name!) but rather because, this is the most fully developed Monty Python movie.  That is to say, it has a story and a plot.  I don't mean to speak ill of the other Monty Python movies, they are classics in their own right, but this is actually a full fledged movie, whereas the others are more like skits, loosely bound together by a common theme.  In any case, if you don't know who or what Monty Python is, well, it's almost impossible to explain.  "Monty Python's Flying Circus" was an extraordinarily off beat comedy show in Britain in the early 1970's.  It was a sketch comedy show where skits had no endings and one ran into the other, pet shop patrons couldn't convince shop owners that a parrot was dead, and double sighted mountaineers led expedition up the twin peaks of Kilimanjaro.  Insanely silly would just begin to scratch the surface.  If you still don't get it, ask your nerd friend (you know you have one) or anyone behind the counter at the Geek Squad, and I'm sure you'll get an earful.

     "Monty Python's Life of Brian" is a comedy, of sorts, about Brian or Nazareth, born one stable over from the central figure of Christian mythology, and, his entire life, is mistaken for the Messiah.  A rather simple idea that the Python crew milk for all it's worth.

     While there is a generous helping of uniquely Pythonesque (that's a real word, by the way) comedy in this film, there is also quite a bit of religious satire.  While the Python crew made sure not to make fun of Jesus himself, they have a lot of fun at the expense of those who follow him, or, rather, follow him poorly.  My favorite example of this is the sermon on the mount, where Jesus is talking about how the meek shall inherit the Earth.  As soon as the words are out of his mouth, people in the back, who can't hear everything he's saying very well, immediately begin fighting over what he said and what it means.  (If that sounds familiar, it's still happening today!)  There is also a short lived alien abduction somewhere in the middle of the film because they had to give Terry Gilliam a chance to animate something. That's Monty Python for you. 

     If you've never seen anything by Monty Python, "Monty Python's Life of Brian" is a pretty good starter movie.  It mixes their very unique brand of comedy with biting satire and has an actual plot and story you can follow.  It's a good way to get your feet wet and experience Python humor without being overwhelmed by the  incredible, non linear, insanity of the show or other movies (or everything else they ever did!)  

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