Saturday, March 16, 2013

MAD, Day II: Monty Python's the Meaning of Life (1983)


Usually, people tend to have a love 'em or hate 'em attitude towards the group, and the same rule applies for The Meaning of Life: if you're a fan of Monty Python's other work like Flying Circus, The Holy Grail, British comedy, or awesome things, then you will appreciate this. If not, then stay away.

The Meaning of Life was one of the last feature films created by the legendary comedy troupe that I had yet to see, and of course I wasn't disappointed. However, when watching the film, I couldn't help but wonder, "How does one review a Monty Python movie?" To be honest, I think it's quite impossible - I mean, c'mon...it's Monty friggin' Python!

So instead of wasting your time with an unnecessarily long analysis of what is really just a movie consisting of a bunch of ridiculously silly and random sketches (and yet, still brilliant), I will just make a bunch of stray observations about it that I liked in particular. I'm also going to assume you watched it. Or not. I don't care.
  • This is the group's most expensive film, and it is apparent from the absurdly epic opening sequence (a prologue/short film entitled The Crimson Permanent Assurance, and probably my favorite part of the film). 
  • What's great about a lot of Monty Python sketches is just when you think the sketch has to be over, because how could they possibly stretch it out any longer, it just keeps going and getting even more goofy to the point that even if you weren't on board with the sketch at first, it's likely you've taken the bait and are slapping your knees. The group takes this tactic even more over the top this time, and on more than a few occasions. 
  • The "Find the Fish" sequence was definitely awkward (but no less funny), so I can't help but think how audiences felt about it during it's initial release. I can totally picture disgruntled people walking out during this scene.
  • Is it bad that the loudest I laughed was during the animated leaves-falling-from-the-tree gag?
  • I was surprisingly impressed with the Grim Reaper costume. So much that it was one of the best appearances I've seen by the Reap on film (that's a nickname I just invented for him).
  • Loved the "answer" to the ultimate question at the very end. Underwhelming, yes, but can you really doubt that it's  a good philosophy to live by?

A few of my favorite quotes (via IMDB):
    Hospital Administrator: And what are you doing this morning?
    Obstetrician: It's a birth.
    Hospital Administrator: Ah. And what sort of thing is that?
    Dr. Spenser: Well, that's where we take a new baby out of a lady's tummy.
    Hospital Administrator: Wonderful what we can do nowadays.


    Mrs. Hendy: Do all philosophers have an 'S' in them?

          Grim Reaper: You are all dead. I am Death. 
          Host: Well, that's cast rather a gloom over the evening, hasn't it? 


          New Mother: Is it a boy or a girl? 
          Obstretrician: I think it's a bit early to start imposing roles on it, don't you?

          Watch on NETFLIX

          Trailer: