Life of Brian

Year: 1979
Directed By: Terry Jones
Written By: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin


I wouldn’t call myself a Monty Python fan.  In fact I often feel like the only person around who doesn’t like Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Yes, yes I am that weird person who doesn’t like that immensely popular film. I always get a shocked look when I admit that to people but I just don’t care for it. I have actually even made efforts to revisit the film because I assume I must be wrong about it in the wake of such popularity. However my efforts have continued to be fruitless. Once the initial shock of the person I tell my opinion to relents a bit I explain that while I didn’t like that film I absolutely love this one.  More often than not the response I get is confusion and the other person hasn’t seen or even heard of this less popular of the troupe’s films. I can’t figure out what makes the Holy Grail a more popular film but I for one think this one is far and away a funnier movie.  It’s one I hold dear because I saw it for the first time when I was in college and studying religion extensively at the time and this film about Brian whose life parallels that of Jesus just really hit my funny bone.

This movie is probably often condemned as sacrilege but all it does is point out the basics of the time period.  It’s a silly comedy yes but it mocks things as they were and sometimes plenty of truth can be said in jest.  What I take out of this movie is that there was a time when people weren’t very educated and prone to follow any cause that caught their attention. That and the fact that tons of people were crucified and it wasn’t something exclusive to any one specific person. In a nutshell that ironically seems to actually sum up the time period in a strange way. As always, history is in the eye of the beholder and written by the victors.  It can be a difficult time to accurately depict anything from that time period.  Not that the efforts of historians and archaeologist alike are in vain, but their findings rarely get to the common people who already have their own ideas based on popular belief.  History is an incredible thing and I have always loved learning anything and everything about it but far too many people don’t pay it the attention it deserves. Many people take little or no time to actually understand where history actually comes from and how it is we actually know some of the things that happened long ago, specifically times 1,000 years ago and before.

This is a really funny movie from beginning to end.  When I saw it for the first time I immediately started laughing at the three wise men entering the wrong tent and mistaking Brian for Jesus.  I continued to laugh through all the meetings of the Peoples Front of Judea and into the part when Brian started accidentally acquiring his own misguided followers.  My favorite has got to be the end though when Brian and so many others are all being crucified by the Romans.  The song that they all sing stuck in my head for days on end after I saw it for the first time and to this day I still occasionally find myself singing it aloud.  It’s a song I specifically think about when I am having a bad day and it always goes a long way in lifting my spirits.  If you have never seen it before check out the video posted below.

The irony of this scene alone is what makes it so hilarious. If it makes you want to go whip yourself or get on your knees and beg God for forgiveness then I am sorry.  I’m sorry that you can’t appreciate how funny this is because it is pretty damned funny and I think there is an important lesson within the song.  Life sucks, but there is always potential around every corner for something good to come along.

I’ve said it before and I’m not the only one that says it. The most important thing for any comedy to do is to leave the audience laughing in the end.  Whenever a film does that it burns a special spot in our memories and we always think of it fondly when we reflect.  This movie ended with a great scene and a good laugh.  I absolutely love the scene in which tons of people are singing while hanging on crosses and everything seems to be all hunky dory.  Many people were and are probably shocked and appalled by this scene but like the man says, you always got to look on the bright side of life.  Just relax and go with the flow in life; there is always a light side to life no matter how dark things can get. This is a really funny movie and I think it is without doubt worth your time to see it. If you won’t to condemn me for my opinions on the Holy Grail feel free to leave a comment or if you have seen this movie and love it as I did let me know your own thoughts.

NEXT MOVIE: Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

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