The Meaning of Life (1983)

Monty Python's popularity had it's height before my time, but it's notoriety persisted into my era. I had only seen Jabberwocky and it only coaxed a couple laughs out of me. I decided to give The Meaning of Life a shot.

Farce is a delicate genre. At one point it has to be completely pointless and at the other end it has to be entertaining. This film is a series of episodes discussing aspects of life, and mainly life in Britain. At the beginning you begin to wonder if it is just a collection of skits that had been produced ahead of time and decided to throw together to produce a movie about "life." It does come around again in the end.

The prologue "Short Feature" called The Crimson Permanent Assurance is perhaps the least funny and least interesting of the scenes and it had me discouraged about the coming 90 minutes. The "Feature Presentation" busted my gut the moment it began however with a woman in labour being pushed on a guerney head first through a hospital corridor while the double doors are crashed through every few metres.

I'm tempted to go through each scene and tell all the jokes, but I'll leave that to the movie. For me the true highlights were the philosophy discussion by two American tourists in Hawaii, the farewell ceremony on the battlefield where they start handing out parting gifts, and the vomitting fat patron in the fancy restaurant. The film is full of musical numbers such as "Every Sperm is Sacred" and the astrophysical "The Galaxy."

There were some dead point in the film for me, likely because of the film's focus on British culture. I did laugh pretty steadily thoughout.

Monty Pythton's films pushed the limits in cinema and humour with crude, nude, and bizarre sketches. It opened up the way for filmmakers like the Farrelly brothers and Jude Apatow. It does serve a terrific purpose in helping us look at life in a more relaxed way and to deconstruct the ridiculous things we sometimes take very very seriously.


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