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I don't know why I didn't get more out of this. Several isolated times
a stern and sober British Army officer is interpolated and announces to
the viewers that this isn't worth watching because "it's silly -- just
silly." I ruefully found myself often agreeing.
I don't suppose there's any point in trying to outline a plot because there is none. It's a series of sketches evidently gotten from their TV show. I first heard the "dead parrot" sketch on the radio and thought it was hilarious. Now, seeing it on the screen, it seems to have lost much of its voltage. Nor did I find it so amusing when a despondent man leaves a building, stops to think for a moment, and a huge iron weight falls on him and he splats under it.
It's possible that this particular material is already familiar, so that watching the film is like hearing a joke for the second or third time. It's also likely that it doesn't seem so fresh or amusing because some of it is dated. The movie was put together in 1971, when much of Western society was in turmoil -- race riots in the streets, an unpopular war in a country no one could identify on a blank map, gays screaming out of the closet, widespread sexual indulgence, bloodshed in Northern Ireland, pop tunes encouraging revolution, that sort of thing. But it's all gone or at least abated today. So the "Granny gangs" don't resonate the way they did at the time. At the same time, the "upper-class twit" sketch still gets laughs. I mean, hunting live rabbits that are staked out and spread-eagled on the ground! Trying to commit suicide by shooting one's self -- and missing. I'm laughing now, just rerunning it in my mind.
Each of their four features were to improve monotonically, with "The Meaning of Life" nearing perfection of the style. That last one is mature. Well, mature for Monty Python. And it's both engaging and carries a covert theme of the utmost seriousness. The Granny Gangs are long gone, but questions about the meaning of life, or the absence of meaning, still plague us.
This is disappointing.
I recall eagerly watching these skits on TeeVee. The shows were live, and the comedy edgy. These guys had gas and were ready to take risks. Energy.
This is a relatively overproduced version of some of those skits, interlaced with many of Terry Gilliam's comic animations.
Well, I think Gilliam has a hard time finding a niche that fits mine. Not a one of his bits was amusing to me then or now. The idea behind the python humor generally is the ability to take one small comic twist (mean grannies, dead parrot) and elaborate with unbounded silliness, often into a different context. Added is the "fold" that they know they are being silly and actively acknowledge it while turning up the dial. There is added into this movie version, for instance, a military narrator who comments on the silly factor.
Gilliam's approach is more a matter of visual oddity rather than silliness. He attempts visual puns via twisted realities, shaped by his animation technology. This worked for South Park because they were able to weave comic narrative on the cutouts. Gilliam here and in his later movies relies on the odd visual first. All else is secondary.
The real Pythonistas are dull here. There is no other way to say it. Skits that in the show are effective (Nudge nudge, Dead parrot, Lumberjack) were so because they had an edge. Here, they are stale leftovers.
The only really good bit was something invented for the film, taking advantage of the larger palette: the "Upper Class Twit of the Year" contest. You can see that this has the energy of a new birth on it, not rote reperformance.
Missing from this collection is their classic bit where someone goes to the argument department.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
The first of the four MONTY PYTHON movies is simply a compilation of
popular sketches from the first series of the TV show MONTY PYTHON'S
FLYING CIRCUS. All of the most famous sketches are here, from the
lumberjack song to the dead parrot sequence, and they're all handled
While the series has clearly dated in the forty years since release, I found AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY to have plenty to offer to modern viewers. First, there's the influx of surreal humour that would make the likes of Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel proud; secondly, there's a sense of madcap energy coming from the performers, each of them hard at work playing multiple roles throughout, and third, it just happens to be very funny.
Of the entire film, my favourite sketch is the last, the 'Upper Class Twit of the Year' competition, but that's merely the cherry on a hugely tasty cake. There's a definite predominance of successful over unsuccessful gags here, making this a real riot and a perfect introduction to the concept for newcomers.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While the Americans have a habit of taking movies and turning them into
TV series, the Brits do it the other way round - we have a large number
of cinema movies which have been spun off TV series.
The Python crew's first outing onto the big screen is an unassuming affair - it takes a number of sketches from the series, most of which had been seen (and those which hadn't soon would be), and reproduces them on film as opposed to videotape. In that respect, they are of considerably better image quality than the video standard of the time and, of course, they don't have a laugh track.
And they are all good sketches, well reproduced here, and an excellent reminder of what made Python successful in the first place.
I have only gotten in part in on Monty Python's Flying Circus, so this
was good terrain for me to get through, kind of like getting one of
those compilation records of the Beatles that they put out in mass
droves when fans just didn't get enough from the actual albums
themselves. Nothing apparently is 'original' to the movie itself, in
other words no segments were made especially for the film (aside from
the animations possibly, though even that I can't be totally sure of).
But one of the good things about seeing the film at this point is that
I got to have a lot of laughs with the sketches I'd already seen and
liked (some of them, like the Parrot sketch- albeit classic in a kind
of vaudevillian way- aren't necessarily my favorites). I really enjoyed
the ones too I hadn't seen, like the Marriage Guidance Counselor sketch
where Michael Palin is in one of his funniest bits to date.
Other classics I really do love, especially on repeat viewings, are the Lumberjack song, with it's always expectable joke funnier than the first, Killer Cars, Man with Tape Recorder Up His Nose, Expedition to Mount Kilmanjaro, and especially the Self Defence Class (maybe my favorite, albeit it might've worked a little better on the show). Flasher too. Sure, it might be a little disconcerting to see some sketches that didn't make it in, or that there are some in there that shouldn't be. It's also a little lackluster- at least in comparison to the later Python films- due to Ian McNaughton being a TV director and more used to the point-and-shoot style of TV as opposed to the camera almost being in on the joke too with Holy Grail and Meaning of Life. But it certainly wasn't a waste of time either. A-
This movie was my first introduction to the insanely hilarious world of Monty Python, and an excellent intro it was too! One really good point is that you get to see so many different characters and hilarious situations with the collection-type format. A few of my favourites are the Blackmail game show, "nudge nudge wink wink", the mountain climbing thing in the office, the Twit of the Year competition and too many others! Fabulous!
To be honest with you, I am not the biggest Monty Python fan. Although
I did like 'Meaning of Life' and this film, I can only take so much of
them, I mean, the whole cult behind them is baffling to me.
Not too sure why I started this review with a rant, but oh well. This film is just a collection of Python skits made famous on their television show, bumpered with lots of animated bits (by Terry Gilliam of course).
Did I like it? I confess, I laughed a lot during this. There's a lot un-pc joking in this, so be warned. Many groups, like homosexuals, women, fine diners, and, oh the horror, accountants aren't spared. Their most famous sketch, the dead parrot one, is here, but there's a lot more funnier ones on this. Like the well hidden people skit, the bit with the policeman and the person who got his jacket stolen, and of course, John Cleese's delivery of the title line.
A good Python overview if you're not familiar with the series, (like a "best of" you might say). (Hmm, I already said that)
Monty Python's second best movie. It's not a feature length story, but a bunch of sketches. Funniest things I've seen this side of Holy Grail. Other people say that the sketches are boring. Well, they're just plain wrong. From the dramatic recreation of Pearl Harbor to Hell's Grannies this is well worth a rental.
This, is very hardcore Python, and it may not appeal to casual fans, but to fans of the Monty Python team, this is unmissable. Most people reading this will have already have seen the film, and to people who havent seen it yet, i say only one thing - go out and watch it now. OK, some of the scenes may not be the funniest that Python have ever done, but stick with it. With clips like the famous parrot sketch, etc this truly is a work of pure genius.
Maybe this isn't the best Monty Pyton has done, but there are some of the finest Flying Circus in between. I mean, The joke that is so funny, that you die laughing, and how to stay camouflaged are really funny. If you do like Monty Pyton this is a must.
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