Transcript: Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)
Transcript of 70mm’s Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979) Episode.
SLIM Heeey, it’s your old pal Slim and this is 70mm, a podcast for film lovers. Every Monday I’m joined by famous artist, Danny Haas.
DANNY Which had more balls, Jurassic World or The Life of Brian?
SLIM And spiritual advisor, Protolexus.
PROTO You know, Kurt Russell. I mean, he’s had — I mean, he went on a run. But you wonder did he go far enough?
SLIM And together as friends forever, we discuss recently watched movies. Later in this episode, we’re going back to Monty Python with 1979’s The Life of Brian. Is this somehow better than Holy Grail? We find out… now.
[70mm theme song ramps up, plays alone, fades out]
SLIM Jurassic Park is a franchise that people love to death.
DANNY They do.
SLIM A lot of like faves Jurassic Park. Uh, uh, uh, Goldblum is in it. [Danny laughs] And a star studded cast. But this morning, there was a hot conversation in Discord about the most recent one, Fallen Kingdom.
SLIM Bryce Dallas Howard, Pratt. And you watched it for the first time today. You ready to expand on your feelings on Fallen Kingdom, please.
DANNY Mhmm. Ummm…
SLIM Uh, uh…
DANNY Yeah, sorry. That wasn’t my Goldblum impression. I remember watching Jurassic World thinking it’s fine. It was good. And then everyone took a dump on this film before I could see it in theaters.
DANNY So I just assumed that I wasn’t going to waste my time or money. And then someone — I forget how it was brought up today. Maybe is there something else coming out that we’re talking about the new one?
SLIM I think they showed footage of some kind of press event?
DANNY And I had realized I hadn’t seen this one before the next one. So I fired it up. And I’m watching it and I’m about, I would say 45 minutes to an hour in, and I am fully entertained. Like at that point I was confused on why people hated this film so much. I do think the first Jurassic Park is a masterpiece. I’m in that camp. But I didn’t think this was as bad as people were making it out to be. And then I was super confused.
SLIM Let it out.
DANNY Just confused about it. I really was. The hate that this film got. The half stars reviews on Letterboxd, the one stars, the two stars. I mean, I don’t want Chris Pratt in these movies as much as the next person but we get what we get. And we don’t get upset.
PROTO Is this the one where they’re in the giant balls?
DANNY They get in the balls again.
PROTO Oh, so it’s a —
SLIM Jurassic World is the main one with the balls.
DANNY Yeah, that one had the balls… multiple balls.
PROTO Alright, honestly, I thought that there was three of these movies at this point. [Danny laughs]
DANNY Me too! [Proto laughs] It feels like there should be three at this point.
SLIM Marcie in our Discord, who is probably the most knowledgeable person about movies you will ever meet. Trivia stud. She gave this movie a half star. You never see a half star from Marcie.
PROTO No, no.
SLIM And I think Jurassic Park is in her top four on Letterboxd. Can anyone confirm that? Is that true?
DANNY You’d have to be really pissed, you’d have to be pissed.
DANNY I can feel — I felt the anger at this film.
SLIM I gave Fallen Kingdom I think three stars maybe? Three and a half stars? I don’t really like Jurassic World. I just pulled up my review. If I may.
DANNY Yeah, please.
SLIM Quote ‘this movie is super dumb’ that’s my two star review.
PROTO I think I’m gonna throw up my hands like Jerry Seinfeld in that movie. I think the scene at the end — there’s something that happens at the end. I can see like an image of it. I think there’s like a shark — isn’t there like a dinosaur shark?
PROTO And the Spinosaurus fighting — yeah, at that point. I was like, I’m out.
SLIM Another thing I wanted to bring up. But one other movie that you watched — really focusing hard on Danny’s viewing history right now. We have some news about next week. We are officially taking a week off.
DANNY Yeah, yeah.
SLIM This is a first.
DANNY Biiig first.
SLIM So if people — those that are listening live right now, we love you. You’re getting a free night next week. So after this episode posts, we will not be recording that week. Maybe there’s, you know, maybe there’s something special cooked up. I don’t know. Okay?
DANNY Did you cook something up?
SLIM I don’t know! I was in the kitchen. [Danny laughs] I was in the podcast kitchen cooking something up. You’ll have to wait until that week after to see what happens. So just a heads up. Last week we were talking about The Green Knight — just real quick on this. You saw The Green Knight twice. And I couldn’t really reveal the time, but you were going to guest host on the Cinenauts podcast to talk about The Green Knight.
SLIM So give us a little taste, because I haven’t watched — [Slim laughs] — Danny’s head is like a dog when their head goes sideways.
DANNY Let’s go!
SLIM I haven’t seen it yet. So I can’t listen to that segment, but give us a little bit of The Green Knight experience. Before Proto and I can finally watch this and talk about it between —
DANNY I don’t wanna — I mean you guys have surely caught a lot of spoilers at this point. It’s almost impossible.
SLIM Can I just say people were spoiler tagging things in Discord and without context. So of course I’m going to click on it! We need to set up some ground rules —
DANNY Yeah, it’s sick.
SLIM For ‘I’m spoiler tagging this because of Y, X’.
PROTO I mean, every movie got us a spoiler channel except for Green Knight. You know? I don’t know who’s setting up these channels.
DANNY It did.
PROTO Oh it did? Oh, okay. [Slim laughs]
DANNY The thing is, just like Green Knight, people were spilling everywhere. All their thoughts.
SLIM Okay, can we spoiler tag that?
DANNY Sorry. I saw this twice. The first time was I felt like was a bad theater experience. So I was kind of frustrated leaving it. Saw it again alone in a theater, had a great time. I love this film. I think David Lowery did an amazing job. I really am looking forward to more stuff from him, especially when he’s going to be doing Peter and Wendy for Disney because Peter Pan is my favorite Disney —
PROTO Finally, someone’s doing Peter Pan!
DANNY That’s Hook.
SLIM It’s been too long since Peter has had his time in the limelight.
DANNY I agree. So I’m looking forward to that.
SLIM Proto, what did you watch this week?
DANNY Wait, no, no, no, no, no.
DANNY You don’t get to pick what I talk about —
PROTO Thank you.
DANNY Without asking me what I watched, Slim.
SLIM Go ahead.
DANNY Because I watched the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. [Slim laughs] Okay? Please! We got all these teasers coming out for this new Spider-Man movie. I got the itch to come back around to watch these films again because they were a huuuge part of my life as a teen. Okay? [Slim laughs]
DANNY These first two films are quite perfect. I love them dearly. Especially the second film. The second film is… it just is magic. Alfred Molina as Doc Oct is one of the best things ever. I love him in that film. Like absolutely love him. I love Toby in these films. He’s so awkward!
SLIM Doesn’t the second movie end on like a real somber note? You know it’s like a sad — like they’re together but he’s realizing that he’s Spider-Man and kind of we’re in a dangerous time.
DANNY Sorta. Because he — spoilers if you haven’t seen 2. But yeah, she goes off because he tells her he can’t be with her again still. So she goes off to marry space boy. JJ.
DANNY JJ’s son. And then but she runs out of the wedding to be with him. And that’s how it ends. So it is a good note. It ends on a good note. Her running in that wedding dress through New York? You kiddin’ me?
SLIM Sam Raimi does it again. Paul in chat. Can we talk about Chad Kroeger doing a song for Spider-Man 2?
DANNY No, because we can only talk about Dashboard Confessional’s song for Spider-Man 2, Vindicated. [Slim laughs] And then I watched the third one. The third one is not as great. There’s too much going on. But there’s a lot that’s kind of fun about it still. I actually liked Topher Grace in it. I think he was pretty fun as Edie. And I liked the design of Venom. I think it matched the —
SLIM The comics?
DANNY It was a cool little matching up of him and the Spidey suit for that film.
SLIM Proto, do you have any thoughts on the original Sam Raimi trilogy?
PROTO I would love to rewatch these at some point I just thinking of the first one. There’s so many scenes and lines that are in my memory from that movie. So many memorable moments. And yeah, that movie was like a very — like a cultural moment. And I think Spider-Man was for me, since I didn’t really watch the Batman movies, it was like the first real superhero movie that I was like, oh, wow, they can actually make superhero movies now. That was the first time I felt like that.
SLIM It was like our Batman 1989. You know?
DANNY Yeah, I agree.
SLIM Seeing the comics that we read growing up on screen for the first time was wild. Danny, am I allowed to move on now?
DANNY Yeah, you can move on. Yes, you have my blessing.
SLIM Thank you. Before we get to Proto, we have some new friends this week on Patreon we should call out. Eleanor, Austin, Kingston, Moviecat, John. All signed up on our Patreon you can find at 70mmpod.com. We’re at 187 patrons right now. Just a reminder, 13 more, the Harry Potter episodes will happen for our patrons.
PROTO We’ll have to do it. [Slim laughs]
SLIM Contractually obligated. It’s never been this close, Proto. How do you feel getting this close to the Harry Potter movies?
PROTO I just see that little Daniel Radcliffe, that head the size of a basketball with those tiny little glasses. [Danny laughs] I know it’s my future.
SLIM I thought you said Daniel Rat-cliffe.
SLIM Poor little guy.
PROTO Honestly I don’t know — I don’t know the exact spelling of his last name. So I was just kinda — [Danny laughs] — I might have said Ratcliffe.
SLIM We’re very, very close to kicking off that journey. So much so that I’ve actually started to download the movies on my tablet on this vacation. Like I don’t know how close we’re going to get. Do I need to start watching these movies? I actually, before we even got this close, I just started downloading the books. Because I was going to read the books on the plane ride. And I don’t know if I have time now! It’s getting closer —
DANNY I’m on the Prisoner right now.
PROTO You can’t read all the books on one plane ride.
SLIM Proto, what did you watch this week?
PROTO Oh, man, I watched a great movie this week. Ever since we did In the Mood for Love, I knew I was going to need to get back to Wong Kar-wai at some point. So his movies have been on my my watchlist for a while and I finally watched the Chungking Express, which is a movie came out in 1994. This movie you see all over people’s top fours.
SLIM Paul says it’s in his top four right now.
PROTO I mean, it’s like in every one’s — I think all of his movies are in Criterion. Like he just releases one. And they just put it in sight unseen. They don’t even watch it first. [Danny laughs] It just goes in there. So I wanted to watch it. And it is — it’s really something special. I gave it four stars. The thing that struck me most about it is that it feels like a movie that could have been shot by like a student. Because it looks like there’s like zero budget in terms of like, you know, costumes or sets, locations, you know, action sequences, whatever. But it gave me Blade Runner vibes as I was watching it, and that might just be because it’s set in — I think it’s like in Hong Kong. But it just has like an amazing look and feel and when there are action sequences — like he just does things with the editing and the approach to filmmaking that is some things I’ve never seen at least in like Western cinema, that are really cool. It just felt like incredibly fresh. You see some of it in In the Mood for Love. But in this it was much more pronounced. And the story is just really something. The writing, you know — it was also a great time to watch it because, you know, we’re going on this Noir journey right now. And this movie, I would, I would say it’s a Neo-noir.
SLIM Excuse me?
PROTO Just incredible writing. It’s just like one of those movies where I would recommend this to anybody if you’re willing to read subtitles. You know, you’re gonna have a good time. I can’t imagine anybody watching this and not getting something out of it.
SLIM Strong words. You also watched a John Carpenter jam.
PROTO I did.
SLIM Escape from New York. There’s such a variety of movies that you checked out last week. It’s very impressive.
PROTO Yeah, well, listen, this is what happened. [Danny laughs] So I watched the Wong Kar-wai and I wanted to watch another one of his movies, but I was sick this week. And I was confined to my bed. I think it was Sunday. I had nowhere to go. You know, I couldn’t move. And I just wanted a movie where I could put it on and I knew I wasn’t gonna have to like think much, or you know, be invested in that much and I could just kind of like be along for the ride. So I was like, alright, this John Carpenter movie, I’ve read other reviews about it. You know, people say it’s dumb. I think Danny even said this is a stupid movie, but I loved every second it. So I was like alright, that sounds —
DANNY Sounds like something I would say.
PROTO Lke alright, that’s kind of what I need right now. So I put it on. And it’s exactly what I needed in that moment! [Danny laughs] It was just that. I mean, you know, Kurt Russell, I mean, he’s had — I mean he he went on a run.
SLIM Went on a run.
DANNY He did.
SLIM Went on a friggin’ run.
PROTO But you wonder, did he go far enough? [Danny laughs] I kind of feel like he should have went for it. Like there should be more of movies of him from this period. And maybe I just haven’t seen them.
SLIM Tango and Cash. When you watching that? Him and Sly Stallone is two cops that butt heads.
PROTO And butt butts, don’t they?
SLIM Oh the H in that movie, when they’re hitting the showers. Are you kidding me?!
DANNY Oh my god.
SLIM The suppleness.
DANNY Have you seen Tombstone?
PROTO Yes. Oh man. What a movie.
SLIM Marcie’s watching that right now. I looove Tombstone.
DANNY Does anyone have a better head of hair in Hollywood than Kurt Russell?
SLIM Who’s that young kid from Stranger Things that was in Free Guy?
DANNY No. Next. [Slim laughs]
SLIM What’s that guy’s name and Stranger Things? Anybody?
DANNY Hopper? I don’t know.
PROTO Dennis Hopper.
SLIM Nobody in chat watched Stranger Things?! Steve! Thank you.
DANNY Who are we talking about?
PROTO The boyfriend.
DANNY Ohhhh. From when he worked at that Chips Ahoy place or something? That everyone memes up.
SLIM He’s a young Kurt Russell.
DANNY A young Kurt Russell, interesting.
PROTO No, no, no, no, no. He doesn’t have the jaw. He doesn’t have the jaw!
DANNY He’s an old Timothee Chalamet. That’s what he is.
SLIM Any other movies you want to talk about Proto?
PROTO No, that’s it. I had a good week though watching movies.
SLIM Great week. If you wanted to join us on Letterboxd, you can do, so we have a 70mmpod account which we link in the Episode Notes. Our accounts are on there as well, linked to 70mmpod and every week we give out a free year of Letterboxd Pro, so it gets rid of third party ads. Gives you some stats for your own viewing habits. And more importantly, you can see where all these movies are streaming — ugh! [Slim laughs] A photo just got posted by crash, disgusting! You can see where the movies are streaming that you want to watch. So you can kind of see do I want to watch this? Can I watch this? You know with my Netflix account or whatever. And this week’s winner, Nedjorts on Twitter. Just won a free year of Letterboxd Pro.
DANNY Congrats, Ned.
SLIM But if you did not win and you wanted to support Letterboxd and upgrade to Pro or Patron status, you can do so at 70mmpod.com using that fancy link on that page. Usually I asked what I should talk about and then Proto usually spotlights a movie that he thinks I should talk about. Proto, do you have any suggestions? Have you perused my list this week that you want to talk about a movie?
PROTO Well, I mean, you’re continuing to go on the Seagal run. Are you doing these chronologically? From release?
SLIM The Seagalissance.
PROTO Are you going to commit now on the show, on the record, that you’re going to watch all of Steven Seagal movies in completion?
SLIM I feel like I can say that I will.
PROTO Will you rank them for us? For the people? [Slim laughs]
DANNY Will we get an LB list of rankings.
SLIM That’s not a bad idea. A definitive Steven Seagal litter — litterboxd [Slim laughs]. Some people might say his movies belong in a litter box. [Danny & Proto laugh] The Definitive Seagal list. That would be a lot of fun for me. Honestly, I love watching these movies. What’s my completion list? I can find out that right meow. So this week, I watched Executive Decision, which is a Kurt Russell movie, believe it or not that Seagal is in. I’m at 14% so far, he’s got a lot of movies.
DANNY That’s it?! You’ve watched like 50 films! [Slim laughs] You got 14%! What?!
SLIM It’s gotta be a journey!
DANNY Ohhhh my.
SLIM According to Letterboxd he has 71 credited roles. So, we’ll see how this journey goes.
PROTO Maybe we just do like lead roles. [Danny laughs]
SLIM Maybe. I wasn’t sure how far I was going to go because Executive Decision he has a secondary role and shockingly he dies in the first 30 minutes. So I just openly wondered why he was even in this movie, which I talked about in my review. But Glimmer Man was the next one with Keenan Ivory Wayans and Steven Seagal and I wrote in my review, this is the quintessential beginning of modern Steven Seagal. He’s wearing very colorful smocks, black smocks. [Danny laughs] No visible buttons. It just looks like a priest like clothing that he just went in the rectory to get. And he’s wearing kind of like bead necklaces. Buddhism beads that he holds in his hands and like as if he’s doing a prayer. And he doesn’t do a whole lot of movement. His Akita was very limited. He’s just destroying people.
DANNY So you’re telling me you’re 14% and and we’re already at this Stephen Seagal? [Slim laughs]
SLIM We’re already at modern at 14% in.
SLIM Oh, lots of incense he uses in here. And I had fun! Another three star movie for Glimmer Man. [Proto & Danny laugh] See, I’m watching this movie, he appears on set wearing this outfit. I’m like, hell yeah, we’re getting it right now. It’s a lot of fun. His belly is definitely starting to pop a little bit here. I think he’s kind of appreciating his celebrity. This is a 2.3 on Letterboxd. So I’m ahead of the curve here.
DANNY Look at you.
PROTO His belly’s poppin’ and we’re in 1996. Buckle up.
SLIM It’s 1996. If I’m going in chronological order, next on my list — let me sort here by release date earliest first — I have Fire Down Below next. And some of these covers are starting to look real bad. [Slim & Danny laugh] The cover for The Patriot in here — let me just link this in chat. It looks like he’s in the Civil War. Fighting on the side of an Indian community.
DANNY Oh, so this isn’t Mel Gibson?
SLIM This is different. This is 1998. This is a 2.0 average on Letterboxd.
PROTO Did Mel steal this from Steven Seagal?
SLIM But this isn’t even like — a deadly virus threatens to wipe out an entire Rocky Mountain town, leaving the town doctor to find some way to escape the soldiers who enforced the town quarantine. Sounds very relevant right now.
DANNY Ohhhh my gosh. Oh lord.
SLIM He’s a chameleon. He’s an actor chameleon. But we need to move on.
SLIM Life of Brian. Last week. Proto made a shocking announcement that he could not find any comedies in the 21st century summertime that would fit the bill for this month’s theme. So we pivoted again. And chose Monty Python’s comedy Life of Brian. Proto, can you guide us through this comedy — religious comedy?
[music from Life of Brian plays]
PROTO In the year 33 BC, a Brian is born. Although half Roman on his dad’s side, Brian is a Jew through and through. Living through the much hated but rather socially worthwhile occupation of Israel by Rome. Wanting to end it, he joins the people’s front of Judea and participates in a plot to kidnap Pontius Pilate’s wife. When the plan goes bad and Brian is captured, he must use all of his guile to survive, including posing as a Messiah. Unfortunately for Brian, he’s pretty good at it and gains a following which leads to his capture, once again by the Romans, and he is sentenced to crucifixion. Brian will need a miracle to get out of this one. But this ain’t scripture. This is the Life of Brian.
SLIM Imagine you putting a feather pen in its little ink capsule after writing that one. Being like, ‘yup, time to clock out after that!’ [Danny & Proto laugh] I don’t remember anything about Life of Brian growing up. I feel like it was just a vague movie made by the people who did Monty Python the Holy Grail. And I had never seen this I don’t think before this week. I had like barely any recollection of this movie. I remember the ending scene. I feel like I’ve seen that on some kind of clip show or montage. But Danny, do you remember this movie growing up? Had you ever seen it?
DANNY No, no, no, no, no. And knowing it’s heresy, there’s no way in my circles of church that anyone was talking about this film. That’s not possible. I know how they treated Harry Potter. There’s no way Life of Brian was being spoken.
SLIM Sin. Harry Potter books are a sin.
DANNY So yeah, no, I hadn’t heard about life and Brian until later and then I still never watched it.Just more of a Holy Grail person.
PROTO At one point, my parents started watching Fawlty Towers, which is a British television show featuring John Cleese where him and his wife run — and I don’t remember the name of the the actress but I think she was a part of the troop or she was at least in the Holy Grail. And where he they ran a hotel or a bed and breakfast. It’s a very funny show. I loved it. That was like my first introduction to British comedy, for the most part. And I remember, I can distinctly remember like us laughing and talking about it, and my dad mentioning Monty Python and saying, oh, we have to watch the Life of Brian at one point. It’s so funny. It’s this guy who gets confused as Jesus. It’s hilarious. And that was the only thing I’d like ever heard of it. I never watched it. So this was my first time seeing it. I had seen the Biggus Dikcus scene before. I don’t know where, maybe on some, you know, it’s been linked probably a bunch of times in my life. So that was the only scene I knew of.
SLIM I had like a wrong interpretation of what the plot of this movie was. I always remembered something about vaguely, Brian was thought to be Jesus, or like he had a screwed life because he was supposed to be Jesus. And then all of the plot revolved around this guy’s life sucking, because he wasn’t picked. Do you guys have like a memory of that?
DANNY That was the kind of vibes I got.
PROTO The memory I have is that his life is like unfolding side by side with Jesus. And the way I pictured it was that you see Brian, but then you see like Jesus, like in the background, right, doing like similar things. And that’s what I thought it was gonna be.
DANNY I had the same opinion, I actually thought we’d see more of Jesus in this film. I thought there would be more of like, Jesus stepping on Brian’s toes are like kind of in the way of Brian. We only see him in the beginning scene. And he’s actually never really talked about much either. So I thought it was kind of interesting, especially with how much backlash was given this film that I read about.
SLIM Yeah, we were talking a little bit before we started recording. I feel like this is like one of the tamest movies we’ve ever seen. [Slim laughs] There’s like nothing in here that felt risque. I guess at the time in 1979, maybe? But like you said, Jesus is like not even in this. And you’re like, bashing the culture that was around Jesus at the time. You know, those that like, crucified him. So like, you know, what’s the big deal? At least that was my view watching it.
DANNY And honestly from the perspective of like, I can understand why people would take this the wrong — like, would be offended by this in the church, for sure. I mean, it makes sense to me. But honestly, the opening scene with Jesus, and them not being able to hear what he’s saying. I was cackling. Like, blessed are the Greek or the equal inherit? I mean, I was laughing so hard at the big nose bit. And when he punches that woman. I mean, cackling. It was so funny to me.
PROTO Yeah, I was reading about it mostly just on on the Wiki. But it seemed almost like the Monty Python troupe was intentionally respectful of like Jesus as a figure. Because like the scene he is in, like, they don’t they don’t in any way, like mock Jesus, or like put him in a bad light. But you can totally see why anyone would like be pissed off about this movie. I mean, I remember when Aronofsky’s Noah movie came out. The fact that it just wasn’t — that it in some way had anything to do with, you know, material that wasn’t in the Bible. Like people immediately wrote it off, like, oh, you can’t have this. You know, it’s not accurate to the Bible. And then even I read something in the Wikipedia about this, like a debate that they had. Or some commenter said, oh, well, the idea that the Wise Men would go to the wrong stable, like there’s no way that would happen. But with that completely like misses — it’s so out of orbit of like what they’re trying to do. That’s not even like relative — they’re not in any way trying to communicate what did or could have happened, you know? So yeah, it’s kind of bizarre, but like the way they talked about it, it was like they found that they were — it was definitely heretical, but not blasphemous. They weren’t trying to anyway be disrespectful to the character of Jesus, or like someone’s religion. They were more mocking like the institution itself.
SLIM Right, right. What’s the first thing on your list for Life of Brian, Danny?
DANNY I mean the my first biggest note is Michael Pailin in this film. And he steals the entire show. And every character that he has in this film. It’s almost like Graham Chapman doesn’t exist as Brian.
SLIM Yeah, he’s a non-character.
DANNY Right. I even feel like the story unfolds without anyone over-shadowing the acting. I don’t feel like Brian is the very center point of this film. But I feel like every scene Michael Pailin is in, is the funniest scenes ever. I can’t get enough of him. I mean, Biggus Dickus, that whole bit —
[clip of Life of Brian plays]
PONTIUS PILATE [guard chuckles] What’s so funny about “Biggus Dickus? “
CENTURION Well, it’s a joke name, sir.
PONTIUS PILATE I have a vewy gweat fwiend in Wome called ‘Biggus Dickus’.
PONTIUS PILATE Silence! What is all this insolence? You will find yourself in gladiator school vewy quickly with wotten behaviour like that.
BRIAN Can I go now, sir?
BRIAN Aaah! Eh.
PONTIUS PILATE Wait till Biggus Dickus hears of this!
[clip of Life of Brian ends]
DANNY I mean, I was in tears. It’s so immature. It’s so stupid. It’s something I would do just to say something to make someone crack. And I was getting the biggest kick out of the scene. I watched it twice this week.
DANNY And both times I am just laughing at it. And it’s because of Michael Palin’s delivery. I mean, even in the beginning when he’s fighting about his big nose, or if he was picking his nose or scratching his nose, or when he’s checking people in to get crucified. Telling them you know, only take one cross. [Danny laughs] It’s just his delivery in this film. Like for me and Holy Grail, Graham Chapman is so funny, like so on point, everything he’s doing. But in this film, Michael Pailin is just just straight up the king of this film. Every bit roll. The leper who was already cured, but still mad because Jesus took away his livelihood as begging. I mean, it’s so funny. Like he’s just — everything he does in this film for me. He was literally my first note is Michael Pailin. He’s just a king in this film.
PROTO Yeah, I agree. I think he is the best part of it. And you’re totally right about Graham Chapman. Like, I feel like Brian, the character’s the weakest part of this whole movie, and maybe that’s because he is like, the straight guy that everyone’s riffing off of. You know, he’s kind of more of just like a plot point that’s kind of guiding the story, then, you know, he’s like the straight man. But I don’t know, I think there could have — there should have been more funny bits with him of just playing it straight. Yeah, a lot of his stuff just didn’t really, didn’t work so much for me.
SLIM Yeah, the best part that he was in, I think in my notes, was when they have his sandal and they’re like, following him around. I think Mikey even posted his thoughts on what the art would be, that nude guy coming out of the hole. [Danny laughs]
[clip of Life of Brian plays]
BRIAN What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah!
FOLLOWERS He is! He is the Messiah!
BRIAN Now, FUCK OFF!
[clip of Life of Brian ends]
SLIM That was probably my favorite scene with him in it. Proto, what do you got on your list for Life of Brian?
PROTO My favorite scene in the movie is when he goes to do the graffiti on the wall. [Danny laughs] And then John Cleese’s character comes over to him and is correcting him. That whole bit of the grammar of Latin, I just thought that was so funny. Like it just went on and on. Like, it went on, like three times as long as it should have. But I just found that like, so hilarious. And then you know, he’s there. He has to paint it 100 times and then it’s like morning and it’s over this whole wall like on different layers of walls with, you know, giant versions of it. I just thought that was hilarious.
SLIM Yeah, one of my notes was when the Three Wise Men first go to the house, and they realize that they went to the wrong one. They like facepalm her out of the way, his mother. [Slim & Danny laugh] That was like my first note. I was cracking up. It was such a dumb end to that scene, but I was howling. How about the alien scene in this movie?
DANNY What the hell.
SLIM So I am so unknowing of the plot of this movie, that I actually thought that this was going to be the turning point of it. I was like, wait a minute. Does he like another planet at this point of the movie? Like I was clueless! And then he just gets dropped off like two minutes later.
PROTO Yeah, I was totally confused. I was like, what, where’s this going? I thought it was gonna take like a crazy turn that I had no idea about.
DANNY I think that’s what I kind of love about these guys is they just write whatever they want to do. And then they perform all these different roles. I’m so like, enthralled by this. I don’t know why. It’s just amazing to me.
SLIM There isn’t a real — I don’t know, like, what’s the modern day troupe?
DANNY There isn’t. Literally try to think about this.
SLIM Is it The State?
DANNY We’re gonna have to pretend it’s SNL or something.
SLIM Delete that. Slim, edit note. Delete the SNL mention. What was the other show? Was it like The State? Is that what Dale talks about? He watches that comedy troupe. Lonely Island, Paul says. Maybe there just isn’t a market so much for like skit, like long term skit mainstream comedy. And maybe at least not in movies. It probably exists in other forms.
DANNY I feel like it would be so funny now if someone pulled this off.
PROTO I think recently, it’s probably been more separated between like writers and actors, like the people who are writing this stuff might not be performing it. Because I think of like, I mean, Judd Apatow went on a run. I think of his name, but I think it was like a group of writers, right? Who did movies, but they also didn’t necessarily act in them.
SLIM It reminded me, actually, James and I went to see Free Guy. And there was a trailer for Jackass Forever. And this was the first moment in my life where I realized that maybe it’s time for me to show Jackass to James. [Danny laughs]
DANNY Oh my god!
SLIM Because I mean, like the Jackass movies and TV show are right up there in terms of like the most formative comedy that I’ve seen in my entire life. And so like after the trailer, I was like whispering to him was like, there are three other movies before this that I grew up on, FYI, and it made me who I am. So after the movie, he was like, I want to see that movie. [Slim & Proto] I just had like a vision, I was like, oh, this is a big deal for us right now.
SLIM The real trilogy, Ian says. Let’s see, one of the other lines I wrote down, the scene where they’re going to get the crucifixes and the one guy lies to say he’s like, I’m free. They said I can go free and he was like ready to just let them go. And then he admits he was just pulling his leg. I like that kind of bit that was a recurring theme towards the end of the movie. Biggus Dickus we talked about. I had never seen that. I hadn’t even seen that seen on YouTube before.
DANNY Yeah, I had never seen it until now.
SLIM That whole thing just never came across my desk.
PROTO When he’s laying on the couch, can you see his schlong for a moment? I feel like that was gonna be a bit where —
DANNY When Graham comes in as Biggus?
PROTO Yeah where he’s like lounging there, I’m like oh, it’s gonna like hang out or something. [Proto & Danny laugh]
SLIM I mean, I definitely saw nethers at a certain point in this movie. Definitely some nether regions flopping around. [Slim laughs] God dang. That is repulsive.
DANNY Which had more balls, Jurassic World or The Life of Brian?
SLIM Life of Brian I feel like had more Bs. For sure. Proto, what’s on your list?
PROTO So Terry Gilliam he has a role as the jailer in this. The part that really like killed me in the Holy Grail is where John Cleese — and I forget — they go talk to the old guy, the old wise man. And that’s Terry there in that scene, like him just like laughing. And then he disappears. He has such a way of like moving and like his laugh and like his whole physical presence that I just find so funny. So when he’s playing this like hunched over jailer, with I don’t know what’s going on his head, it looked like he had a lobotomy on both sides of his head. [Danny & Proto laugh] Like completely shaved, like stitched together. But just that conversation in the jail, any any small scene with him I loved. And then at the end, he has like the guy who stutters who’s like explaining for him. But then John Cleese is like, alright, forget it, forget it. And then when no one’s in the room, they just like reveal that they’re like normal people. Like just like putting on this performance. Pobably so that they can like you know, not get killed being a foot soldier. I thought that was brilliant.
SLIM Danny, what else you got for Life of Brian?
DANNY My notes kind of dwindle halfway through this film. I get kind of bored with it. When Brian kind of becomes the like leaning into like becoming the Messiah or kind of around when they kind of try to steal Pilate’s wife, I just kind of get — it just is okay. There’s not much keeping me kind of entertained. There’s little kind of funny chunks, but I don’t really enjoy the second half of this film. The beginning of it feels like straight fire, like hilarious, funny bits. They’re firing on all cylinders. But there’s just something about the end. And maybe it’s because Brian’s story isn’t very well written. So I don’t really enjoy when they really start focusing in on him being the Messiah. There’s just, I don’t know, there’s just some parts of it where I was just like, I don’t know, not doing it for me.
PROTO I kinda feel the same way.
DANNY I mean, it ends great to me. And great as in like funny, with the crosses, everyone being crucified. And the song.
SLIM You love crucifixion. You’re a noted fan. [Danny laughs]
DANNY I’m a big fan. I don’t know. It was just some funny bits when the guy that already says he was being set free by Eric Idle’s character, and then he jokingly says he’s Brian. They bring him down. And he’s like, no, put me back up! [Danny laughs] So stupid. Ohhh man. But yeah, it’s really weird. Like with Holy Grail, I vibe from beginning to end. I think it’s hilarious masterpiece. But with this, I mean, I thought it was going to be something great. I thought I was going to love it all the way through. But there’s something about when it turns in the middle, maybe post the weird spaceship moment. I don’t know.
SLIM It’s funny, because I’m looking at my notes. I also didn’t take a lot of notes. So I wrote the aliens. And then the next line I have in my notes is I’m pretty bored. I was expecting some major funny deals on religion.
DANNY Literally spaceship is my last note. [Slim laughs]
SLIM I don’t know if maybe it was my preconceived notions of this movie where I was expecting some like really cutting Monty Python, religion humor. You know, like some purposeful jabs at Christianity. Maybe that’s my own fault for going in and saying like, oh, yeah, Monty Python’s gonna tear him a new one. And I didn’t get that at all. It was just, you know, the usual Monty Python bits. You know, the skits that kind of rotate around with different characters. So I was really bored during the entire movie. I was like, majorly let down after the Three Wise Men stuff. Even Amanda actually, like I turned to her, and I was like, this isn’t as funny as we thought it would be huh? I don’t even think we laughed out loud like once, to be honest. [Slim laughs]
DANNY Oh no!
SLIM Proto, what about you in the second half of Life of Brian?
PROTO I mean, I’m kind of in the same boat. I don’t know what I was expecting. I guess I was expecting something on the level of the Holy Grail. But this definitely was nowhere near. Where as in that, there was a few scenes where I was doubled over laughing like trying to catch my breath. This, yeah, I didn’t have a single moment like that. I think though, I definitely was able to I think appreciate it and more just being familiar with what they do, a little bit. Kind of like just taking it for what it is. And I read a lot of that in some reviews where people were like, you know it’s kind of like a sketch comedy where you’re going to have hit or miss bits and that’s just kind of what you get with this. Which kind of does strike me as weird. I don’t know, I mean, it’s a major motion picture.
SLIM They should all be hits.
PROTO You would think like if a bit doesn’t work, wouldn’t you like take it out?
DANNY Cut it out. Yeah, this isn’t live.
PROTO The part where he is like addressing the crowd in the window and they’re like saying everything all together. That was like really bad. I was like how did this make it this far?
DANNY It’s not funny.
SLIM Get some editing people in there.
DANNY Like they’re trying to laugh at both him and Biggus’ speech impediment, but they’re not saying anything that makes them sound funny. Like it was just weird. It was a long bit too!
SLIM Really long. Brutal bit.
PROTO Yeah, and I think I think the like big clever stuff might have been like, a little bit like to have a deep cut. The whole — what was it? The people’s front of Judea. You know, there was definitely like infighting between like different sects at that time. But I mean, you would kind of really have to know that to I think get a rise out of that, I guess. But I’ve read that that was also like relevant to like what was going on in England at that time. So maybe some of this is just like lost, you know, by time of just not being — or you know, where it was relevant when it was made.
DANNY I wonder if I would have a different opinion on this if I had seen it before Holy Grail? Because, well, I mean, you have a film that Monty Python makes that is considered blasphemous and is banned from some countries. And you expect that this whole film is just fire jokes, like and these bits are just funny, and just — I don’t know, but I didn’t get that. I mean, hat’s just really weird to me. I just wonder that if I hadn’t seen the perfection that is Holy Grail before I saw Life of Brian, would I feel the same way?
SLIM I just looked at VGER, the supercomputer who loves movies, that Proto built. The average of Villager rating is still three and a half stars, which I think was the Signs average, believe it or not. [Slim laughs] So take that for what you will. Paul, we actually did, we did do a Holy Grail episode. It’s in the backlog. It’s an older one, check it out. That is the majority of my notes so I don’t want to give my final thoughts yet unless either of you have have some scenes that you want to talk about first.
PROTO I don’t know who said — I want to say was Michael Palin, because he was hilarious. I thought it was kind of funny the bit about the the one guy who wanted to be a woman. And then it was like, you know, he wanted to have babies or like he wanted to be able to like the idea of it. And when they were having a meeting, a guy says ‘A little ego trip from the feminist eh?’ That was funny. Oh, and then also the the women not allowed to go to the stonings so that there was the guy selling the beards. That was pretty good.
DANNY The beards, oh man.
PROTO I like that. But yeah, I’ll give my final thoughts. Yeah, I was disappointed as well. I didn’t laugh as much. Even going into it, like the first half. I was like, alright, this hasn’t really picked up. But for me, Holy Grail didn’t really pick up into the second half. But then really, like nothing really worked for me in the second half. So I didn’t laugh that much. And when I’m watching a comedy, if I don’t have a serious laugh throughout the whole movie, it’s hard to give it a high rating. So I mean, this is a two star movie for me.
SLIM Wooooww. Wow.
SLIM Let’s ride the Proto train.
SLIM Let’s ride it. I am in a very similar boat. I was really bummed watching this. I love Monty Python. We had a lot of fun in that episode. I love doing those impressions from the Monty Python episode. God, the memories we had watching Holy Grail. However, I also am two stars for Life of Brian, I did not enjoy it at all. I was expecting some really fun Christianity jokes, but I didn’t get it. So that could be my own interpretation of what I was expecting this movie. So that’s me, two stars for Life of Brian. That’s me, you know. Danny?
DANNY I am not on the same train as you guys. So I found the first half of this film really funny. I was laughing quite a bit. This I mean, I’ve said it. Michael Pailin is a king in this film of comedy. There’s every scene he’s in, he’s just A game. I’m laughing my ass off at him. So I did have my laugh out loud moments. It’s no Holy Grail, that’s for sure. And I do get bored with the ending and the second half and it’s a little bit of a letdown. So for me, I’m sitting at three and a half stars.
SLIM Three and a half stars. Gabb pointed out that the average I think for Signs is 3.7, while Life of Brian is 3.2. So there is a big difference there from VGER. But that’s it. That was our — oh 3.13, I’m sorry. It’s getting a little lower now.
SLIM Art ‘more like three point poo.’ [Slim laughs] Let’s see. I just wanted to pull up a DM now. I can’t know which account I came into. I put up a poll in our IG between Holy Grail and Life of Brian. What’s your number one?
DANNY It’s a landslide.
SLIM Holy Grail with 80% of the vote. Says it all right there.
SLIM That says it all. I can’t find the DM but I think it was Dirk. Dirk was upset with this voting. He says Life of Brian quote — I’m gonna quote from Dirk here. This is our feedback segment of the week. ‘Life of Brian is the superior. I am aghast at the vote.’
SLIM That’s a real quote from dirkfeelgood, friend of the show.
DANNY The superior.
SLIM There you have it.
SLIM Life of Brian in the books. That’s what happens when you can’t find — [Slim laughs] — that’s what happens when you can’t find a 21st century comedy. You got to dig deep. 1979 Life of Brian. We have to move on. We got our listener feedback this week. I said at the top of the show, we’re taking a week off. So we’re going to pre-announce the next theme for September. And I hope everyone is sitting down. Because this has been a long time coming. Ismael. Is he around? Not sure if he’s here right now. He has been a proponent for a long time of doing a Mexican Movie Month. And it just so happens that this month is Hispanic Heritage Month. What are the chances that the stars would align. Proto, you chilled up right now?
PROTO Very chilled.
DANNY I’m chill.
PROTO I mean, it’s 85 but I’m chill. [Slim laughs]
SLIM You might have another fever, if I’m being honest. But why not go bigger? Latin American Movies Month at 70mm. It’s time to expand our horizons. And we have a list from Ismael that I’m going to link in the chat. This is like his guide, he suggested this for a long time, you guys should check out these Mexican movies. There’s so much out there that you need to watch expand your mind. And let me just pull up this list. Just as a guide. You know there are other movies out there but he put this list together for us on Letterboxd, we’ll share the list. Roma is on here. Coco. Los Lobos. Cronos from —
DANNY The king. Del Toro.
SLIM You said it. Guillermo del Toro. Frieda. El Topo. These are just a few of the selections in the Letterboxd list. So we will be choosing the movies for this month. So thank you so much to Ismael for pushing this for so long. We’re finally doing it. And Danny is the first pick.
DANNY Am I announcing it now?
SLIM Yeah. We’re taking a week off. This starts in two weeks. Danny is going to start the month off. Latin American Movies Month.
DANNY So I was sweating reading Ismael’s list because there’s so much on there.
SLIM Y tu mamá también is on this list. [Proto gasps] Just throwing that out there.
DANNY Correct. But I didn’t go with that. I was going through the lists and I came across one because the poster I liked. [Slim gasps] It caught my eye and come to find out it is streaming on the Criterion Channel.
SLIM Oh my god.
DANNY You could rent it on Amazon. This movies from 1962.
SLIM Excuse me?
DANNY Directed by Luis Buñuel. The Exterminating Angel.
SLIM What a title! Exterminating Angel.
DANNY After a lavish dinner party the guests find themselves mysteriously unable to leave a room.
SLIM Oh my god!
DANNY 4.1 on Letterboxd. Ismael has a four and a half star review on this one.
PROTO Lock it in.
DANNY So I’m very excited about this film.
SLIM I just looked up the genres for this movie. Fantasy drama comedy. Are you kidding me?!
PROTO Our wheelhouses. Wow, this is awesome.
SLIM 4.1 on Letterboxd right now. Criterion Channel streaming. Holy cow. I’m looking at some of the rating that I have some friends on here. I see several five bangers.
DANNY Yeah, that’s impressive.
SLIM Okay. Big week.
PROTO A cool 94 minutes too. Thank you Danny.
DANNY Cool 94. Yeah, I’m very excited guys.
SLIM Hope everyone is going to join us on this journey. It’s gonna be a big month. It’s time to change it up. You know? Learn a few things with each other. Experiencing new things. I’m pumped.
DANNY Cool, I’m glad.
SLIM Proto, closing thoughts to take us out into the evening for our break next week.
PROTO Well, I mean, you know, what’s great about this is, you know, collectively we gave Life of Brian seven and a half stars. That’s pretty low. I mean for us that’s a miss. Missed on Life of Brian. But you know what? 70mm, we’ve never missed twice in a row. And we’re not going to start now. [Slim laughs] So get ready for this next month. It’s gonna be a good one.
SLIM We’ll see everybody next week.
[70mm theme music ramps up, plays alone, fades out]
SLIM 70mm is a TAPEDECK production with original artwork provided by Danny Haas. Spiritual guidance and VGER, the robot who loves movies created by Protolexus. Producer emeritus Dale_a. Transcript provided by Sophie Shin. Prints and other merch are available on 70mmpod.com. This episode was mixed, edited and produced by me, Slim. Support our Patreon for access to the VHS Village Discord to talk movies with new friends, access to exclusive episodes, discounts on merch, and a physical membership card mailed to you. To check out other TAPEDECK podcasts, find the link in the episode notes. And if you’d like to support our friends at Letterboxd and upgrade to Pro or Patron status, you can do so with a 20% off discount using the links at 70mmpod.com. Goodbye!