Author Topic: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life  (Read 4321 times)

Revelator

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Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #60 on: June 12, 2018, 11:18:30 PM »
I think Cleese thinks better of MOL now (he used to call it a dog's breakfast) but he still regards Life of Brian as the group's best work, since he believes it's a coherent narrative "about something." And he still said some barbed things about MOL in its DVD supplements. I remember watching them with a friend who asked "Did he really say that?" after Cleese sharply knocked the film.

On the other hand, two of the Pythons (Jones and Palin?) regard MOL as their best film. Idle likes it but thinks it should have told the story of a single person's life rather than multiple people's.

Shaky

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Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #61 on: June 12, 2018, 11:33:40 PM »
Yes, that's the Holy Grail of unpublished Python material. Since it took the Pythons a while to settle on the concept for the movie, more unused material and drafts were generated than for any other film of theirs. So there's the World War III material and sketches like the Cleese/Chapman effort about an Ayatollah Khomeini figure who bans toilet paper. 
What I don't understand is why the unused Grail and Brian material was published in the books of those films while the MOL outtakes weren't. At the time of the O2 reunion shows someone in the Python camp raised the possibility of performing some unused MOL sketches, but of course that never came to pass.

Yeah, the mention of unused Life material was the primary reason I bought Palin's diaries from that era. The WW3 idea in particular has always fascinated me - in my fantasy I can picture the Pythons dressed in various silly costumes standing among the wreckage of London. The DVD from 2004 or so had two unused sketches on it in pdf form - one about WW1 pilots swapping false limbs and another one I can't recall. And I think someone on here said that the relatively recent Silly Walks Song was written during the MoL era but I've never seen that mentioned elsewhere.

Anyone know how far they got with the mooted Holy Grail sequel in the 90's? Can't remember if they quite put pen to paper on that.

Revelator

  • "In summary then, Oh no."
Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #62 on: June 12, 2018, 11:37:39 PM »
Anyone know how far they got with the mooted Holy Grail sequel in the 90's? Can't remember if they quite put pen to paper on that.

That was pretty much Idle's baby--I think he hashed out the concept and plot, but I'm not sure if he went any further before the other Pythons decided against the project.

I'll have to dig out my MOL to read those unused sketches--thanks for mentioning them!

Shaky

  • I drink your thread
Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #63 on: June 12, 2018, 11:59:54 PM »
That was pretty much Idle's baby--I think he hashed out the concept and plot, but I'm not sure if he went any further before the other Pythons decided against the project.

I'll have to dig out my MOL to read those unused sketches--thanks for mentioning them!

No probs. As you said earlier, it's odd they were so skimpy with the extra material. If you went to the trouble of digging out two sketches, why not more? 

famethrowa

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Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #64 on: June 13, 2018, 05:05:35 AM »
I love it and always will - one of the most brutal, vicious satires ever to be bankrolled by a major studio (and a good pairing with Lindsay Anderson's [or was it L.F. Dibley's?] roughly contemporaneous BRITTANIA HOSPITAL). Only moment that truly falls flat for me is Idle's speech in the middle of the Zulu-war/missing-leg sequence, the whole "here, they give me a fucking medal, sir!" bit. Even as a thirteen-year-old, I found that cringeworthily on-the-nose (which is where Eric should have been punched for that). Otherwise, a magnificent festering.

Well, Eric was learning that saying "fuck" is the only punchline you need, so he stuck with that for the next 40 years.

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #65 on: June 13, 2018, 09:00:28 AM »
I like it.

Life of Brian's the better though.  Arguable the best comedy film of all time.  From the very first scene it's bang bang laughs all the way.  Watch a comedy now you're lucky if you get four decent smiles out of it.

Anyone brought up in the Catholic faith must wince at every single frame.

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #66 on: June 13, 2018, 09:35:37 AM »
I like it.

Life of Brian's the better though.  Arguable the best comedy film of all time.  From the very first scene it's bang bang laughs all the way.  Watch a comedy now you're lucky if you get four decent smiles out of it.

Anyone brought up in the any faith must wince at every single frame.

Fixed

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #67 on: June 13, 2018, 10:10:46 AM »
The bits that hit teen 90s Irish Catholics from Life Of Brian was more how the rebel Judean's had split up to several groups. One guy took particular umbrage; after all the splits into the Continuity, Real, Official, Provisional IRAs (and INLAs). 

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #68 on: June 13, 2018, 11:10:52 AM »
The bit that hits me in the religious solar plexus are the Welease Woderick and the He's Not the Messiah scenes.

I'll admit I've never been to a Synagogue over Easter but the reading of the Passion where the priest reads Jebus' lines and the congregation are the massed throng of people droningly saying 'Release Barabus, release Barabus, we want him free.' in the dullest monotone you've ever heard is nailed spot on in these scenes.

I've tried showing eldest the Romans Go Home bit but they don't teach languages like this anymore.

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #69 on: June 13, 2018, 12:17:47 PM »
The bit that hits me in the religious solar plexus are the Welease Woderick and the He's Not the Messiah scenes.

I'll admit I've never been to a Synagogue over Easter but the reading of the Passion where the priest reads Jebus' lines and the congregation are the massed throng of people droningly saying 'Release Barabus, release Barabus, we want him free.' in the dullest monotone you've ever heard is nailed spot on in these scenes.

I've tried showing eldest the Romans Go Home bit but they don't teach languages like this anymore.

They didn’t teach languages like that when I was in school, but I still recognised the teacher/pupil dynamic inherent within that scene when I saw the film for the first time at about twelve.

St_Eddie

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Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #70 on: June 13, 2018, 12:45:12 PM »
They didn’t teach languages like that when I was in school, but I still recognised the teacher/pupil dynamic inherent within that scene when I saw the film for the first time at about twelve.

Same.

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #71 on: June 13, 2018, 12:47:20 PM »
I watched The Meaning of Life last night to have a proper grasp of what I thought of it. It's the one Monty Python film that I can remember seeing bits of as a lad of around 10 because it must have been breaking into people's homes on TV and video in the late 80's. It's a frustrating watch for me. The first 10 to 15 minutes are a real chore where you're watching a mini film about a building that is a pirate ship. Satire, brilliant. I found it very boring and almost switched off or skipped past it.

There are interesting bits like the birth (more satire), the fat guy exploding (yet more satire) that I enjoyed. I also liked the songs, especially the universe song which I've been singing in my head for the last 16 hours. There are some challenging bits too, the guys taking the liver out was just a bit horrible, not worth the joke. The finale is boring and drags on a bit and the sperm song is just more satire, an Oliver style dance number slagging of Catholics, meh. It's too preachy as a film. There were always satirical bits in Python but it seems too prevalent in this film.

Compare it to The Life of Brian and there is no contest. Brian hangs together really well, zips by as a film and there's nothing in The Meaning that comes close to the physical comedy of Michael Palin's cured leper. The way he hops around and eventually exits the screen, it's an amazing bit of physical comedy and Brian more readily represents the troupe firing on all cylinders and at the top of their game.

I could forgive it all it's flaws if it didn't bore me roughly half the time which this film did. To put it in context, it's still better than most comedy films but suffers when compared to Grail and Brian which I believe the original post was about.

The bits that dragged it down were Permanent Assurance, Sperm is Sacred, Organ Donor, Dungeon Restaurant, Grim Reaper, the tigers bit and the finale. Put it this way, if I watch The Life of Brian or Holy Grail I know I'm going to want to watch it again sometime in the next 12 months but I doubt I'll ever watch this film again.

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #72 on: June 13, 2018, 01:26:00 PM »
The sheer scale of ESiS is a thing of beauty.  I love a good song and dance routine, you rarely see them in films now - perhaps Austin Powers was the last to do this?

It's fantastic as a dance routine before you get to the lyrics.

Best part of the film for me.

Am I right in thinking that I shouldn't care if it was or wasn't her who got booted from SCD that did the choreography?

itsfredtitmus

  • screwdriver lolly
Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #73 on: June 13, 2018, 01:42:06 PM »
I watched The Meaning of Life last night to have a proper grasp of what I thought of it. It's the one Monty Python film that I can remember seeing bits of as a lad of around 10 because it must have been breaking into people's homes on TV and video in the late 80's. It's a frustrating watch for me. The first 10 to 15 minutes are a real chore where you're watching a mini film about a building that is a pirate ship. Satire, brilliant. I found it very boring and almost switched off or skipped past it.

There are interesting bits like the birth (more satire), the fat guy exploding (yet more satire) that I enjoyed. I also liked the songs, especially the universe song which I've been singing in my head for the last 16 hours. There are some challenging bits too, the guys taking the liver out was just a bit horrible, not worth the joke. The finale is boring and drags on a bit and the sperm song is just more satire, an Oliver style dance number slagging of Catholics, meh. It's too preachy as a film. There were always satirical bits in Python but it seems too prevalent in this film.

Compare it to The Life of Brian and there is no contest. Brian hangs together really well, zips by as a film and there's nothing in The Meaning that comes close to the physical comedy of Michael Palin's cured leper. The way he hops around and eventually exits the screen, it's an amazing bit of physical comedy and Brian more readily represents the troupe firing on all cylinders and at the top of their game.

I could forgive it all it's flaws if it didn't bore me roughly half the time which this film did. To put it in context, it's still better than most comedy films but suffers when compared to Grail and Brian which I believe the original post was about.

The bits that dragged it down were Permanent Assurance, Sperm is Sacred, Organ Donor, Dungeon Restaurant, Grim Reaper, the tigers bit and the finale. Put it this way, if I watch The Life of Brian or Holy Grail I know I'm going to want to watch it again sometime in the next 12 months but I doubt I'll ever watch this film again.
do you like fishy fishy fish fish?

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #74 on: June 13, 2018, 01:50:48 PM »
do you like fishy fishy fish fish?

I'm still on the fence on that one. I like the sheer indulgence of it but I'm not instantly enamoured with it. I'd have to give another couple of goes.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #75 on: June 13, 2018, 02:10:06 PM »
I'm still on the fence on that one. I like the sheer indulgence of it but I'm not instantly enamoured with it. I'd have to give another couple of goes.

You make it sound like you're test driving the new Mondeo or something.

thenoise

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Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #76 on: June 13, 2018, 02:45:47 PM »
How old were you when you first watched it? My parents sat me down to watch it when I was about 8, the weirdos.
I was also much too young.  My parents had VHS tapes of various MP stuff recorded off the telly that they let me loose on when they were busy.  Grail was on there and a load of episodes, and live at Hollywood Bowl (I loved all the swears in that one).  Then one day the episodes turned into 'Meaning of Life' starting at the school sex education scene.  Readers, I was hooked.  Would have whipped it out except this was at the time where I just used to stare at naked ladies enjoying my hard on, I hadn't discovered any kind of masturbatory release system yet.
My parents wouldn't let me watch Life of Brian until I was older, because that one was 'too rude' apparently.  God bless their ropey memories.

I told my mum I had watched Monty Python and the Meaning of Life and she started singing 'Every Sperm is Sacred'.  Having missed the beginning of the film, I had no idea what she was on about.  I did eventually pick up the Meaning of Life cassette tape in a charity shop, and the song was there.

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #77 on: June 13, 2018, 02:48:51 PM »
You make it sound like you're test driving the new Mondeo or something.

With a mere ninety break-horse-power available, progress is too leisurely to be called fast, but on the motorway in fifth gear the fishy fishy fish fish's slow pace really becomes a pain. Uphill runs become power-sappingly mundane, while overtaking National Express coaches can become a long, drawn-out affair.

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #78 on: June 13, 2018, 03:00:01 PM »
Satire, brilliant.


You're not keen on satire but you rate Life of Brian? Please explain on no more than 2 sides of A4.


Surprised to see so much disdain for Crimson Permanent Assurance on here. It's sheer, joyful silliness, beautifully realised. A live action Gilliam cartoon.

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #79 on: June 13, 2018, 03:06:42 PM »
I always assumed the Judean People's Front hilarity was a satire of unions.

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #80 on: June 13, 2018, 03:08:23 PM »
I always assumed the Judean People's Front hilarity was a satire of unions.

The hard left in general, I thought. Having been to a few Union conferences, I can attest to it's accuracy.

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #81 on: June 13, 2018, 03:10:17 PM »
I always assumed the Judean People's Front hilarity was a satire of unions.


The excesses of the '70's left in general, I'd have thought. Unions, special interest pressure groups, terrorist/freedom fighters...

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #82 on: June 13, 2018, 03:11:03 PM »
Make a wish.

Blumf

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Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #83 on: June 13, 2018, 03:11:39 PM »
Surprised to see so much disdain for Crimson Permanent Assurance on here. It's sheer, joyful silliness, beautifully realised. A live action Gilliam cartoon.

Same here. One of the highlights of the film.

St_Eddie

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Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #84 on: June 13, 2018, 04:44:29 PM »
Surprised to see so much disdain for Crimson Permanent Assurance on here. It's sheer, joyful silliness, beautifully realised. A live action Gilliam cartoon.

I don't dislike it but I can't say that I particularly like it either.  It does drag on a fair bit, in my opinion.  Although, I do enjoy them hijacking the main feature halfway through.

thenoise

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Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #85 on: June 13, 2018, 05:53:35 PM »

The excesses of the '70's left in general, I'd have thought. Unions, special interest pressure groups, terrorist/freedom fighters...

Yeah, my mum seemed to think it was all about the various breakaways of the IRA (real IRA, old IRA, Continuity IRA, ...), but it could just have well been about the SWP, unions, the National Front, ...

SpiderChrist

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Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #86 on: June 13, 2018, 08:27:04 PM »

Surprised to see so much disdain for Crimson Permanent Assurance on here. It's sheer, joyful silliness, beautifully realised. A live action Gilliam cartoon.

It's wonderful is that. Love Crimson Permanent Assurance to bits.

SpiderChrist

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Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #87 on: June 13, 2018, 08:31:24 PM »
And, while Brian is my favourite Python film, I love Meaning Of Life more the older I get. I think each Python film has it's own distinct character, apart from being Python films, and MoL just has so much bile. The Derek & Clive comparison earlier in the thread is entirely apposite.

Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #88 on: June 13, 2018, 09:05:37 PM »
Genius

MANDY: What star sign is he?

WISE MAN #2: Uh, Capricorn.

MANDY: Uhh, Capricorn, eh? What are they like?

WISE MAN #2: He is the son of God, our Messiah.

WISE MAN #1: King of the Jews.

MANDY: And that's Capricorn, is it?

WISE MAN #2: No. That's just him.

MANDY: Ohh, I was going to say, 'Otherwise, there'd be a lot of them.'

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Talking about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
« Reply #89 on: June 14, 2018, 02:44:59 AM »
It's wonderful is that. Love Crimson Permanent Assurance to bits.

It’s tremendous. How could anyone dislike it?