Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Directed by Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin
I feel that by publishing this I may alienate my friends, or at least lose some… ah well, let’s get to it.
I liked Monty Python briefly.. as a teenager. I enjoy the skits more than I enjoy the story films like this or Life of Brian. But generally I think this movie is less fun for me because I’ve had to listen to so much of it quoted back to me by enthusiastic fans. It’s wearying to be honest. I hang out with a lot of geeks: at Armageddon, at roleplaying conventions, science fiction conventions and just.. my friends. I have a lot of geek friends. It seems like everywhere I go there are people who want to quote Monty Python and laugh.
Generally I am a fan of nonsense, so this comedy is more up my alley than say, Dumb and Dumber, but it isn’t on the mark for funny to me. I’ll try and unpack why. There’s a lot of the same type of joke – long takes of something happening, like someone ‘riding’ towards the camera and you think they should be getting closer faster only they don’t. Or the repeated joke of poor peasants being incredibly well spoken and educated. These themes happen over and over, and although I am a fan of a repeated joke when the Muppets do it I feel they’re its too frequently used in this film.
Does it make me love the people? I had a fondness for Robin’s Minstrels. It’s not the sort of film for examining the human condition and breeding love for people though. I didn’t particularly care for any of the knights or Arthur.
Bechdel test: You’d be lucky in a Monty Python sketch. In the Sir Galahad sequence there are several named women, such as Zoot and Winston and the other Dr but they only talk to Galahad, through Galahad or about him, so that’s a no.
Arthur: On second thoughts, let’s not go to Camelot, it’s a silly place.
Minstrel: [singing] He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp Or to have his eyes gouged out and his elbows broken To have his kneecaps split and his body burned away And his limbs all hacked and mangled, brave Sir Robin His head smashed in and his heart cut out And his liver removed and his bowels unplugged and his bottom burnt off And his penis…
Sir Robin: That’s enough music for now, lads.
Roger the Shrubber: Are you saying Ni to that old woman?
King Arthur: Um, yes.
Roger the Shrubber: Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.
King Arthur: Did you say shrubberies?
Roger the Shrubber: Yes, shrubberies are my trade. I am a shrubber. My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.
State of Mind: I felt like I got stupider as I watched it and Anna concurred that she felt similar. I suspect it’s one of these movies which is brilliant if you watched it as a kid or a teenager, but without the nostalgia element it’s just sort of tiresome. I did chuckle a few times, but I don’t remember ever seeing it before all the way through – but so many of the lines I recognised from having them quoted at me, it’s almost like I’ve seen it before.
Note to readers who know me in real life: please stop quoting Monty Python to me 🙂