Life of Brian

Christmas 2015

Life has been busy lately. In this holiday season Amber and I have been in the full grip of responsibility and life. There has been fortune, trouble, luck, and misfortune but all fits into the regular hustle and bustle of reality. We have an excellent movie on deck in Reservoir Dogs but I have been waiting for the right time to jump into that one. Nevertheless I was prompted with the most obvious of questions the other day. When “top five Christmas movies?” came through my text device this was my reply:

Life of Brian
Die Hard
A Christmas Story
Christmas Vacation
Home Alone

With special mention to Love Actually and The Ref. I also suggested Scrooged and Bad Santa as in consideration. Christmas is by no means my favorite holiday and with two daughters and a wife it has done nothing but raped my wallet as the years progress. Yeah, I’ve been raped by Christmas, I said it. This holiday has lost all meaning in today’s society and stands as nothing more than an excuse for all of us to go out and waste our hard earned money on many things that will undoubtedly end up lost in the darkness of closet corners everywhere. In saying so I am simply suggesting that this is not a holiday I necessarily associate beloved movies with. However it is the center point of so many movies and such a rating category is necessary. I dropped these titles off the top of my head with little consideration but now I will explain why they made that list.

Life of Brian

In my younger days, in a strange gap between relationship responsibility I used to frequent a local bar. At this particular establishment they has a tradition every Thanksgiving. They stayed open and served Thanksgiving food while playing this film, as well as Christmas Vacation on all the TVs. One year I found myself at my favorite bar on Thanksgiving evening and was quite taken with the tradition. I had seen this movie before but hadn’t considered it a Christmas movie. Nevertheless it made perfect sense qualifying, it starts on the inaugural birthday of Baby Jesus. This one is a classic and easily one of my favorite comedies of all time. Check out our review with the link above for more on the film.

Die Hard

As I mention regularly; I grew up in an action junkie household and family. This is the father of all action films and it take place at Christmas! It counts, and it easily stands above most others by both precedent and quality. This movie both set the bar and created countless others that tried to emulate it with moderate success. The tradition lives on even until today with seemingly every effort made by Liam Neeson. For more on this one follow-up with our link above.

A Christmas Story

Who doesn’t love this film about Ralphie and his experiences on what was once such a magical holiday? For me it reminds me of what Christmas used to be and what I hope it still is for my own children. We don’t own this one, because we don’t need to. It’s a seasonal movie I love but I’m good with it once a year for 24 hours on TV. Having it on in the background on this day is part of the tradition. I sincerely hope that it always airs for the entire day for the rest of my life. I have always been a big fan of that broadcasting. I don’t remember when it started but for as long as I can remember it has been going on.

Christmas Vacation

I’ll be honest, this one was actually swapped out for Bad Santa in the original response. I do not love this movie as I have simply seen it too many times and don’t find it endearing as much as most. For me, it’s the movie too many people LOVE. I like the movie and think it captures Christmas exceptionally well but it’s just not that far up on the list for me. I love Chevy Chase in this, Beverly D’Angelo is special to me for so many reasons, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is great, the kids are Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis, and the list goes on and on with special mention of Doris Roberts, she is so great. If I’m being totally honest it’s Uncle Eddie that brings it down for me. I have never been able to stomach Randy Quaid and this movie is the specific reason. His part is funny but the guy just rubs me the wrong way.

Home Alone

This one, the perennial film of my generation is really my favorite. With the adorable eight year old Macaulay Culkin this classic John Hughes film reminds me of home. This one is mine, my movie for the holiday for my generation. As I am prone to say, we never got enough of Joe Pesci and need to treasure everything we can. Even when his is desperately trying to mask his affluence for profanity. This is a great and hilarious movie that I love, for more of our thoughts on it click the link above.

Special mention Love Actually

I really hate to admit it but I do love this film. It’s funny and seasonal in exceptional ways. Even worse to admit, it always makes me cry. It’s one of the movies that reminds me I’m human and it brings out emotions I keep locked away in efforts to be a beacon of masculinity in a house full of females. It’s a wonderful and heart-felt movie I can’t deny despite my best efforts.

Special mention The Ref

This was actually intended to be our holiday based review for this Christmas but time did not allow. This is a really funny movie that we eventually intend to review in full. Maybe it will turn up next Christmas.

In consideration Bad Santa

This movie doesn’t have that warm and fuzzy Christmas feel but it’s all Christmas that’s for sure. I now cherish the movie most because of Bernie Mac. I thought he was a really funny comedian and we lost him too soon. This movie is a bit too crude and vile but it’s hard to deny how funny it is. Billy Bob Thorton uses the fuck word like great painters use a brush. He says it in a way that comes close but doesn’t quite match the capabilities of the greatest, Joe Pesci.

In consideration Scrooged

This is a really fun movie but it doesn’t make the list because it came to me too late. I don’t know how I managed to miss this movie over the years but saw it for the first time a couple of years ago. I love Bill Murray but I didn’t love this movie. I liked it just enough to keep it in mind when I suddenly threw together some titles though and if you are watching a Christmas movie you really can’t go wrong checking this one out.

This post was actually supposed to be up yesterday but the day got away from me. We had a truly wonderful Christmas this year that I think we will all remember fondly. I especially because in the mist of all the action this short list of Christmas reviews popped out of me along the way and I think it came out quite nicely. I have closed the door on the holiday the minute the clock struck 12 last night but for any of you who have lingering Christmas spirit any of these movies would great to check out while you ride that wave into the break. Merry Christmas 2015 and check us out next year when we will hopefully be able to publish a review for The Ref and with hope are far enough along in the collection to cover Scrooged as well.

 

 

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Life of Brian

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

RYAN’S REVIEW

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)