Life of Brian [1979]

Genre: Comedy
Life Of Brian - On a Midnight Clear 2000 years ago three wise men enter a manger where a babe is wrapped in swaddling clothes. It is an infant called Brian...and the three wise men are in the wrong manger. For the rest of his life Brian (Graham Chapman) finds himself regarded as something of a Messiah yet he's always in the shadow of this Other Guy from Galilee. Brian is witness to the Sermon of the Mount but his seat is in such a bad location that he can't hear any of it ("Blessed are the cheesemakers?"). Ultimately he is brought before Pontius Pilate and sentenced to crucifixion which takes place at that crowded non-exclusive execution site a few blocks shy of Calvary. Rather than utter the Last Six Words Brian leads his fellow crucifixees in a spirited rendition of a British music hall cheer-up song "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life." The whole Monty Python gang (Chapman John Cleese Michael Palin Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam) are on hand in multiple roles playing such sacred characters as Stan Called Loretta Deadly Dirk Casts the First Stone and Intensely Dull Youth; also showing up are Goon Show veteran Spike Milligan and a Liverpool musician named George Harrison. Monty Python And The Holy Grail - Could this be the funniest movie ever made? By any rational measure of comedy, this medieval romp from the Monty Python troupe certainly belongs on the short list of candidates. According to Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide, it's "recommended for fans only," but we say hogwash to that--you could be a complete newcomer to the Python phenomenon and still find this send-up of the Arthurian legend to be wet-your-pants hilarious. It's basically a series of sketches woven together as King Arthur's quest for the Holy Grail, with Graham Chapman as the King, Terry Gilliam as his simpleton sidekick Patsy, and the rest of the Python gang filling out a variety of outrageous roles. The comedy highlights are too numerous to mention, but once you've seen Arthur's outrageously bloody encounter with the ominous Black Knight (John Cleese), you'll know that nothing's sacred in the Python school of comedy. From holy hand grenades to killer bunnies to the absurdity of the three-headed knights who say "Ni--!," this is the kind of movie that will strike you as fantastically funny or just plain silly, but why stop there? It's all over the map, and the pace lags a bit here and there, but for every throwaway gag the Pythons have invented, there's a bit of subtle business or grand-scale insanity that's utterly inspired. The sum of this madness is a movie that's beloved by anyone with a pulse and an irreverent sense of humor. If this movie doesn't make you laugh, you're almost certainly dead. --Jeff Shannon Stills from Monty Python (click for larger image)

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