Monday, December 11, 2017

Movie #437: Monty Python & The Holy Grail

Monty Python & The Holy Grail is the first feature-length movie from Monty Python, and as such stars John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, and various other Python regulars like Carol Cleveland, Neil Innes, and Connie Booth.

In AD 932, King Arthur (Chapman) and his faithful servant/horse Patsy (Gilliam) ride across the land, first looking for knights to join them in Camelot and then, after deciding not to go to Camelot (as it's only a model, and is also a silly place), receive a quest from God: Find the Holy Grail. What follows is them bumblefucking their way through multiple roles, trials, and tribulations until finally they discover the resting place of the Grail...and promptly get arrested by fourth-wall-breaking cops, ending the movie.

Seriously, though, if you're reading this, the odds are that you've seen this movie at least once. It's probably one of the most-quoted movies of all time in geek circles, and even if you don't know it, you know parts of it. It's spawned a hit musical and a whole bunch of other merch. But how is the movie, really?

It's actually really funny the first couple of times you see it. The problem is over-saturation, and I've been through the period in my life where I had a Grail quote for every occasion (Futurama probably takes up that position in my life now, if I'm honest). But the jokes are good; the right mix of Python-esque absurdism and enough of a story that it doesn't just feel like random craziness (which was my problem with Meaning of Life). Watching it with Teagan was fun because she hadn't seen it, just a few clips here and there, and then listening to her start to quote it with Al was like watching myself as a teenager, and it's a testament to the movie's staying power that the silliness carries through.

If I have a complaint, of course, it's that like a lot of Python things, there's nothing here for women to do. The only time in the movie we get any women of consequence is the Castle Anthrax, and then it's a bunch of teenage girls getting really worked up over Galahad the Chaste, which is funny as far as it goes, but then beyond that the only women characters are fairly inconsequential or Terry Jones in drag. So that's a bummer. Otherwise, though, it's a fun, light movie, not really parodying anything in particular.

My Grade: A-
Rewatch value: High, though higher when I was younger

Next up: Moonstruck