It just may be the best religiously themed movie ever made, and it's back in theaters, thanks to divine inspiration and Mel Gibson. The best of the Python pictures, Monty Python's Life of Brian is also, along with This is Spinal Tap, the pinnacle of perfectly aimed cinematic satire.
Something about Life of Brian feels sharper and truer than the other Python movies. Sure, it's scattershot; the screenwriting method was much the same as any Python effort, with the various members contributing gags based around the general theme of the biblical Gospels, and there's precious little effort to make it all conform to a single story. But at least three-quarters of those gags strike their pious marks right in the stigmata, and as the random weirdness fades rapidly from memory, the direct hits are resurrected with renewed power.
Hard to believe, really, that the 1979 release of the film drew pickets at theaters and condemnation from pulpits (including my Chattanooga congregation). Because Life of Brian makes the most sense to the religiously savvy. Draw a chalk outline around me, and you've got the target audience: biblically literate (the best scene, with Michael Palin as Boring Prophet, depends on inside knowledge of Amos and Hosea); historically curious (I've always figured there's more to the relationships between Jewish leaders, Roman rulers and death-by-crucifixion than the measly outline in the Gospels); possessed of firsthand experience with well-meaning fanaticism (I've been to church camp); and with five years of secondary-school Latin (the gales of laughter in your theater during the "Romani Eunt Domus" scenes are coming from Harpeth Hall and Father Ryan graduates).
Is it skeptics, atheists and agnostics who go around telling jokes that begin, "A Methodist, a Presbyterian and a Southern Baptist all die and meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gates"? No. The people who appreciate jokes about religion are religious people. And so it is with Life of Brianor so it should be, if the aura of impiety around the film didn't scare some of those people away. Really, it's perfect for moviegoers who've just come sniffling from 40 days of scourging in The Passion of the Christ. Christianity is only infrequently about what happened to Jesus, after all. It's mostly about churcharguments over policy, humbler-than-thou posing, frenetic following of incompetent leaders and yelling "splitters!" at anyone who disagrees with you.
Wouldn't it be great if church groups reserved theaters for semi-compulsory viewings of Life of Brian, just like The Passion? Yeah, right. Expect that around the time the meek are getting their blessings.
I just got done reading your article, and really enjoyed it, thank you. Here is…
I hope Bonnie and Clyde is better than Mob City, which was - as far…
The only website you can call directly is 1-800-FLOWERS.com.
Not the first time Mario Lopez has been snubbed (see Kapowski, Kelly).
I was all like "how do you get the phone number for TMZ?!?!" you can't…