We’re watching a six-part special about Monty Python with lots of new interviews and insights. I’ve always liked Holy Grail the best. But I’ve changed my mind after hearing them talk about Life of Brian.
I didn’t really understand before how careful they were in making Life of Brian. It doesn’t make fun of Jesus. It doesn’t make fun of religion. It makes fun of dogma and people who misinterpret and misuse religion. And those people, they certainly deserve it. As Cleese says in the interview, “It’s not blasphemous, it’s heretical.”
Of course, the idiots in America that protest films they’ve never seen came out in droves to protest it. But they always do. Idiots always act like idiots, that’s what’s nice about them, they’re predictable. Of course, the movie is in many ways about people like them, so it’s doubly funny. Of course, the protests by the idiots in America brought thousands of people to see what the fuss was all about and inflated the box office considerably. Brian bless ’em.
Life of Brian has more developed ideas and longer bits, with better acting and cinematography. The bit with Pontius Pilate (“We have no Woderwick!”) they actually go back to three times and it’s damned funny every time.
This film also features the best ending Python ever wrote for anything. The final song is so catchy that people were singing it as they left the theater when I saw it the first time.
Anyway, Brian officially replaces Grail on my Top 100. If you haven’t seen Life of Brian in a while, or Brian forbid if you’ve never seen it, give it a try. It’s a wonderful, funny movie.
(Yes, the film came out in 1979, just before our son was born, and no, as we were asked dozens of times, we did not name our son after Brian of Nazareth. Although with my newfound respect for the film, I don’t feel quite so much like I should disabuse that notion.)