In this Easter season, we're looking at the bright side of life with Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979). 

Michael's previous efforts to turn The Unenthusiastic Critic into a Python fan have resulted in a grudging respect, but no actual laughs. Will the troupe's irreverent take on the New Testament finally persuade Nakea to run away and join the Flying Circus? Can Life of Brian possibly supplant The Ten Commandments as her Easter-weekend film of choice? Will Michael resist the urge to quote his favorite lines in an abysmally bad British accent? Do we have any Venezuelan Beaver Cheese? Does the plumage enter into it?

The answer to all of these questions, of course, is "no." But it's a lively conversation nonetheless, covering blackface and blasphemy, stammering and stigmata, personal grooming and choreographed crucifixions.


—0:00: Prologue: from John Cleese's eulogy for Graham Chapman, October 4, 1989.
—1:49: Preliminary Discussion: Why Monty Python is Like Church (But Not in a Good Way.)
—13:45: Interlude: BBC Apology, from Monty Python's Flying Circus, Episode 33
—14:31: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion of Monty Python's Life of Brian
—23:42: Monty Python's Life of Brian Trailer
—26:02: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion of Monty Python's Life of Brian
—57:31: Outro and Next Week's Movies
—59:02: Outtake 

Notes and Links

—Film reviewed: Monty Python's Life of Brian (dir. Terry Jones, Handmade Films, 1979).
—Articles discussed: "The Beatles of Comedy," David Free, The Atlantic; "A Revolution in the Head: The Other Side of Monty Python," Taylor Parkes, The Quietus.
—Videos discussed and referenced: John Cleese's Eulogy for Graham Chapman (with full text—well worth reading—here); Life of Brian debate on Friday Night, Saturday MorningThe Secret Life of Brian (2007), documentary dir. by Will Yapp. 
—Podcast discussed: Mark Maron's Interview with RuPaul Charles, WTF Episode 498
—Listen to additional episodes and read The Unenthusiastic Critic in prose form at unaffiliatedcritic.comEmail us, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. (Suggestions of movies to watch for future episodes are welcome.)
—Theme Music: "Warm Duck Shuffle" by Arne Huseby, licensed under CC BY 3.0.

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2 thoughts on “MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN (1979)”

  1. The scene with the aliens may have also been inspired by the pseudo-documentaries "Chariots of the Gods" and "In Search of Ancient Astronauts" which posited that ET activity on Earth was commonplace during civilzation's formative years. One of the films had a painting which appeared to show a being in a flying contraption chasing another in the sky above the scene of the Crucifixion.

    It's the 50th anniversary of "2001: A Space Odyssey". Has The Unenthusiastic Critic seen it?

    1. Ah, good thinking on the UFO: I remember reading one of those books (it may have been "Chariots of the Gods") in the '70s.

      And no, she hasn't seen 2001, and we've been talking about it. (If I'd been more strategic, I would have planned to have that episode ready for the actual 50th anniversary on the 2nd. But I'm not that organized.) We'll get to it soon.

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