Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Directed by Somebody
Starring Monty Python, various comedy giants, This assy narrator dude
(Seriously, I can find almost no background information on this thing, probably because it was included in the MPFS boxed set.)
Synopsis Following Monty Python from the beginning of their popularity in Britain through their Hollywood Bowl performance, talking heads and archival footage (more of news stories, etc. than actual sketches) are woven together by extremely grating thread of the narration.
"In the way the Beatles changed music in America, Monty Python changed comedy forever."
The closing of the movie is a statement which I think many people take for granted, but I also believe it. I really learned a lot about the Pythons and who they influenced, from Carl Reiner talking about how their edginess shaped American television, to Hank Azaria who was inspired as a teen by the notion that grownups "could be so silly," to Trey Parker and Matt Stone lovingly admitting to ripping off Terry Gilliam all the time. This discussion was great to hear but it only reinforced my opinions. It was great to hear these (and many other) big names gush about the influence of the Pythons, but what this part did more than anything was to make me wish there were hours upon hours of extras on this DVD.
The part that really threw me and really pulled me in was the actual history. From the number of attempts, through all the appearances they had to make, and peaking with a trial over the right to retain your artistic intent this part really kept me glued to the screen. The pinnacle of their direct involvement in the US was the Hollywood Bowl show, where they sold out four nights.
The film astutely ends shortly after that bit of history, with a few of the most glowing compliments followed by the quote above. But this is the first documentary I've seen--granted, my documentary experience isn't nearly as extensive as my woman's--which was both extremely interesting and not very good. It was really difficult to like this because of the way the narrator handled himself and the way the narration was actually written. But I don't think you'd get the same impact from a Wikipedia page. If you can make it through the first fifteen minutes then you can do the whole thing... and you probably won't be disappointed.