Friday, July 1, 2016

Family Movie Night: Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Title: Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Directors: Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam
Original Release: 1975
Choice: Purple Penguin's
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
Surely one of the most delightfully ridiculous films ever made, Monty Python and the Holy Grail has long been a favorite at our house.  For the comic genius Pythons, Holy Grail was a new kind of project.  Their previous feature film, And Now for Something Completely Different, was simply a compilation of sketches from their TV series.  Holy Grail was all new material.  Their $400,000 film made $5 million at the box office.  Surely, they've raked in plenty more from VHS and DVD sales in the years since.

King Arthur (Graham Chapman), accompanied by faithful squire Patsy (Terry Gilliam), is roaming England in search of brave men to join his Knights of the Round Table.  Once assembled, they are given a quest by God himself to find the Holy Grail.  Simple enough.

But this is Monty Python.  We don't want historical epic.  We want sketch comedy and sketch comedy we get.  It's non-stop absurdity: the taunting French soldier flinging insults and livestock at Arthur and his knights, the duel to dismemberment with the Black Knight, the Knights who say Ni, the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, the Bridge of Death.  These are all scenes which any teenage geek worthy of the title can quote on command, even 41 years after the movie's release. 

Holy Grail undoubtedly pushed the limits of the PG rating in 1975.  Most of the dirty jokes go by pretty quickly - certainly fast enough for our daughter to miss most of them.  But my wife did explain the bit about "huge tracts of land" this time.  I can't remember if the Purple Penguin ever noticed the farting trumpeters before but she did this time and responded appropriately with "Ew!"  Good family fun.

31 comments:

  1. I remember this film in a spirit of joy. The Knights who say "Ni" were designed to remain in human memory --and their demand of a gift of attractive but not too expensive shrubbery to cross their domain. Excellent film!

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    1. They invented a new job title, too: shrubber. Brilliant!

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  2. One of the top three most quoted movies in my house.
    Can you guess the third one?

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    1. I feel like we've had this conversation and I should remember. Star Wars is one of the three. The third is... Ferris Beuller?

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    2. Bueller is close. It's actually Better Off Dead.

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    3. Great flick! I love the Japanese drag racing brothers.

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  3. OMG! We almost watched this film last night too! The operative word meaning "almost". We bought a whole bunch of dvd's recently and decided to place them in a bag and, without looking, grab a film and we have to watch that one. I love doing that but last night, my hubby pulled out Holy Grail and he vetoed it!! I'm not happy about that but we will be watching it. I love this film and do quote it and my favourite colour is Blue!

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    1. He vetoed?!!! Surely he's delirious from his recent illness...

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  4. Monty Python!! My teenagers and we watched MP so many times. Holy Grail is amazing. "Shrubbery" and "It's only a flesh wound". Coconuts to simulate horses hooves. Good stuff. Good times.

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  5. Awesome movie of course. One of the first things I downloaded from the internet in 1989 (when it was still ARPAnet?) was a meticulously transcribed script of the full movie.

    Still, those last 5 to 10 minutes always kind of creep me out. Reminds me of surrealist films, like Bunuel.

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    1. I've never cared for the ending. All of the energy built up over the course of the film peters out in a whimper. With a better ending, Holy Grail is a 5-star film for me.

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  6. I love the Knights who say Ni, and the taunting French soldiers, and especially the water tart speech:

    WOMAN: Well, 'ow did you become king then?
    ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur
    from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur was to carry Excalibur.
    That is why I am your king!
    DENNIS: Listen -- strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives
    from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
    ARTHUR: Be quiet!
    DENNIS: Well you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

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  7. No No No you didn't mention the best part. . .
    The Rabbit Of Caerbannog !
    Sweet, cute but bloodthirsty rabbit.
    We always had rabbits at pets along with hamsters , dogs, cats and
    snakes. The bun buns were daughter's favorites so this part of the movie
    was very funny for us.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. Nothing to do with The Holy Grail but...
      Oh My goodness Djokovic out !

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    2. Did you watch the match? Querrey served the match of his life. Someone said at the beginning of the tournament that Djokovic might be vulnerable to a big server. I think said someone had Raonic in mind. Turns out, the Djoker didn't even make it that far.

      Sam also returned well. Sampras (who would certainly know) wrote in his autobiography that winning Wimbledon is really more about the return than the serve. Going in, anyone could have told you Querrey's serve was superior to Djokovic's. No one would have expected him to return better, especially important in the two tie breakers he won.

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    3. I did and all I can say is Oh My Goodness !

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    4. Moments like that are why we watch. If sports were predictable, they'd be no fun at all.

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  8. Sounds a great movie...which I haven't watched!

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  9. Why haven't I watched this yet?!

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    1. Excellent question! I hope you will soon.

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  10. Every other day I hear about this movie. Since I'm the most notorious Anglophile, I cannot believe--nay, I'm ashamed--I have not seen it.

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  11. Truly a classic. This is what we've been missing in comedy recently, although Edgar Wright has been pretty good for stuff like it.

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    1. Interesting comparison. I would bet the Pythons enjoy his movies.

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  12. I love that this movie has become one of our boy's favorites, and his friends love it too!

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    1. Has he dug into the Flying Circus at all? We have the whole series if you'd like to borrow it sometime.

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