Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

What with The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus coming out, I've decided to watch all the movies directed by Terry Gilliam. There are only three I haven't seen (counting the Imaginarium itself), and several of the ones I have seen are among my favorite movies ever. So this shouldn't be too hard! First up, we have Mr. Gilliam's directorial debut, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which he co-directed with Terry Jones.

I have, of course, seen this before. Many, many times. I've worn out two videotapes of this movie. I want to emphasize that I'm not one of those people who quotes it all the time. I used to be, but I got over it. The quotes are always there in the back of my head. Always. While watching it this time, I got almost ten minutes in without quoting along, but then "Dennis! There's some lovely filth down here!" leapt unbidden out of my mouth.

So obviously I can't be objective about this movie. I love everything about it, and I've reached the point where I'm watching the backgrounds because I've already memorized what happens close to the camera. I've read a bit (read: everything I could get my hands on) about the making of Holy Grail, so I know that Gilliam was mostly interested in making things look right and covering actors with filth, while Jones's directing efforts were more about the actors and the funny. In later Monty Python movies, they sensibly decided that Terry Jones would be the Director, while Terry Gilliam would be Production Designer. Meanwhile, Gilliam would go off to start directing on his own on Jabberwocky, which I will watch for the first time now. Exciting!

Incidentally, I thought "Spamalot" was fine, although it wasn't as funny as the movie.

1 comment:

Chris Rywalt said...

Okay, real comment:

Jabberwocky was pretty terrible. At some point I downloaded all of Gilliam's films because I realized I'd missed a few -- Tideland, for example -- and also wanted to go back and revisit some old favorites, like 12 Monkeys. I never got past Brazil, though, and then the drive I had them all on died.

I was never going to watch Jabberywocky again, however. No force on Earth could compel me. Might as well watch Yellowbeard again, and that was pretty horrible, too.

I did start Time Bandits again but never finished it. What struck me was how much I'd loved that when I was in high school but how, seeing it now, I find it very slow and meandering. There are a lot of minutes where there's nothing to do but go "Ahhhh" at the production design. This isn't necessarily bad but in Time Bandits it seems excessive. Somehow, when I was younger, I collapsed all the long drawn-out bits and only remembered all the good stuff.

I dragged my wife and best friend to see Munchausen when it was in theaters. My friend fell asleep and my wife hated it oh so much. She fondly remembers it as one of the worst movies ever made. I haven't seen it since myself and I'd like to. I remember it as too long but still enjoyable.