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George At 

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Monty Python's Life of Brian

In 1979 when Monty Python's THE LIFE OF BRIAN hit theatres, it was hugely controversial. I had to cross a big line of upset folks picketing in front of the Chris Town theatres in Phoenix to get in.

I'm so glad I did, I fell out of my chair laughing. More than 40 years later, it's just as funny, smart, wickedly pointed and adult as the day it was released.

Our favorite comedy troupe uses the story of Brian (Graham Chapman), mistaken for the Messiah, as a backbone for skewering of everything from politics, religion to racism and even manage to sneak in a great musical number.

My life long friend Gregg Stultz and I can quote long passages of this movie, verbatim, tossing lines back and forth at each other for hours. It never gets old.

Classic scenes abound, but personal favorites include the Three WIse Men arriving at the wrong manger where Brian's mom says "what are you doing creeping around a cow shed at two o'clock in the morning? That doesn't sound very wise to me".

The Sermon on the Mount becomes a laugh-out-loud, ten minute riff on people who cant hear Jesus from a couple hills away. "Better listen closely, might be a part about 'blessed are the big noses""

Brian gets involved with the Judean People's Front, not to be confused with the People's Front of Judea (wankers!).

And of course, Pontius Pilate (unable to say his "R"s) enlisting his lisping friend Biggus Dickus for help reading a list of who to release from prison is an all time great. Pilate is baffled as the laughing mob chants "wewease Bwian!!" If you've ever got a case of the giggles at the wrong time, you'll feel bad for Pontius guards. "Thwow him to the gwound vewy wuffly, centuwion!" has never been delivered anywhere near Palin's perfectly timed tiwade.

With many crucified prisoners singing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" in the film's final moments, its a near perfect ending to the Python's most complete and consistent film.

John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin play a dozen hilarious characters each, all brilliantly.

Since Jesus is never seen in the film except in his manger for two seconds in the opening of the film, I'm still not sure what everyone was picketing about, but I guess its easier to bitch and moan if you haven't actually seen the film.

In the years since, "The Book of Mormon" took Brian's legacy and blew it through the roof, taking the same spirit of intelligent satire and morphing it into something even more powerful.

Tamara and I were fortunate enough to see Palin and cast Live at the Hollywood Bowl in their attempted musical follow up to "Spamalot" called "Not The Messiah" and it was a hell of a night. Hilarious from start to finish. You can see a preview of it in this You Tube clip

An all-time favorite, THE LIFE OF BRIAN slays me everytime I see it.

A favorite of Gregg and mine:

Ben the Prisoner: Quite the jailer's pet, are we?

Brian: What do you mean?

Ben the Prisoner: You must have slipped him a few shekels, eh?

Brian: Slipped him a few shekels-you saw him spit in my face!

Ben the Prisoner: Oh, what wouldn't I give to be spat at in the face? I sometimes hang awake at night, dreaming of being spat at in the face.

Brian: Well it's not exactly friendly, is it? They have me in manacles!

Ben the Prisoner: Manacles! Ooooh, my idea of heaven, is to be allowed to be put in manacles. Just for a few hours... they must think the sun shines out your ass, sonny!

An irreverent A+ with a well deserved, often revisited spot in my all time Top 100.

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