Monday, September 27, 2010

Day Eighty-Seven: Life of Brian

Ranking on IMDb Top 250: #149
Year: 1979
Director: Terry Jones
Starring: Graham Chapman and John Cleese

Since I'm stuck on the back end of a double post at 1 a.m. with seventy-eight pages of reading yet to do before a 9:30 a.m. quiz, I figured I would follow up my review of the most epic movie I've ever seen with a brief post on the greatest epic satire I've ever seen. Monty Python's Life of Brian is equal parts Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, Spartacus and Monty Python's Flying Circus, replacing the sometimes heavy-handed delivery of epic nature inherent in those first three films with the utter silliness of the latter television show. Every member of the troupe fires on all cylinders here, and while I don't like it as much as Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian is almost certainly the best film the Pythons ever made. Its whip-smart satire of epic films, mostly Biblical in nature, as well as the nature of religion itself, is unparalleled in any film before or since.

I really hate to cut my post short in such an unceremonious manner when this is really a tremendous movie, but I have such an unbelievable amount of real, incentivized work ahead of me tonight that I can't justify saying much more. I'll jump straight to The Good, the Bad and the Skinny and try to beef those up a bit. Sorry to huge Life of Brian fans who wanted a 2,000 word manifesto on the film. I implore you to write one yourself. I'd be happy to read it.

The Good: Since Life of Brian is still largely a sketch-based film, I'll give a list of my favorite scenes: The "I'm Brian!" parodying the "I'm Spartacus!" scene, "This is his shoe!" and the ensuing mob, and especially "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," which is still the post-show PA music for Iron Maiden concerts. Each of the last three times I've heard that song, I've been extremely happy.

The Bad: A few sketches fall flat. Hey, they can't all be winners.

The Skinny: I can deal with this at #149 even though it probably wouldn't approach that for me.

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