Monthly Archives: June 2015

Inside Out Review

(CONTAINS SPOILERS)

PureFlix is – and I expect always shall be – my archenemy, but Pixar sure does come close.

Pixar seems to exist only to irk me specifically more than anyone else on the planet, and it has a few tricks for doing this that serve as “the Pixar old standbys.” To me, a movie that tries to tug on the heartstrings too soon is like a guy who gropes a woman’s bum in the first minute of a blind date.  It is blatantly violating, and yet Pixar gets away with it constantly.   Both Pixar and Disney have become notorious for killing off characters seemingly solely because they don’t know how else to hold our attention, or they think we’ll feel unsatisfied with our Disney experience if we don’t meet a certain tear quota.  I think it is largely because of Pixar that killing off a character in a children’s movie is no longer an act of courage, but ironically of cowardice, fearing that the audience cannot be emotionally moved enough by the characters without a death involved.  They also have one of the fundamental principles of storytelling backwards: anyone who’s taken a high-school-level class in journalism ought to know that empathy with a character is used to make the audience care about a situation, so to use a situation to try to make people empathize with a character is taking the horns by the bull.  Yet, somehow, projects under Lasseter’s thumb frequently use emotional, tragic circumstances in an attempt to make us care about a character – in lieu of simply writing a character that’s interesting from the get-go regardless of circumstances.

Above all, Pixar is notorious for an awe of “The Aw.”  “The Aw” can refer to either the sound a canned sitcom audience makes when a character is sad, or the sound that a stereotypical (or perhaps typical) preteen girl makes when brought joy by immense cuteness and sentimentality.  As a proud skeptical cynic, I find that watching Pixar with a crowd is comparable to being a punk rocker at a Carpenters concert – the urge to puke is overpowering.  Sometimes watching Pixar makes me feel more like being in a very strict religious school, except the intense dogma has been replaced with intense sappiness that is inflicted upon me.  Now, the studio that lives to make us cry – a prime directive I find mildly immoral and satanic – has the audacity to make a film about the importance of sadness.

So why in the name of Bing Bong do I love this movie?

Well, it was pleasant, impressive, and simply fun in every way from start to finish, and actually seemed to be aimed right at me for a change.  The film is the most imaginative commentary on the human mind I have ever seen, only closely followed by Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex.  As a big believer in the notion that the replacement of practical effects, puppetry, hand-drawn animation, and painted sets with CGI has largely been to the detriment of film, and I do think the film could have benefited from being a 2D or puppet film instead.  I must recognize, however, that this is probably the best all-CGI film I’ve seen in terms of visuals, so it’s certainly on par with The Lego Movie in at least one regard.  The way the human mind is imagined in this film is just so clever that one wants to spend forever wandering about this world, much like in The Wizard of Oz.

I also consider Inside Out to be Oz-like in terms of story structure, and unlike some films, this pulls off an Oz storyline without seeming weak or unoriginal for a second.  I think every screenwriter should study Inside Out as an example of how to write a nearly perfect screenplay.  It’s a very interesting premise to begin with, and the execution of the idea satisfies by exploring all of the areas of the mind that one would hope to see explored.  Pixar’s take on dreams was spot on, it’s take on memories was clever, and its joke about facts and opinions was absolutely brilliant.  Somehow this script is mostly a series of wonderfully clever jokes, but they never get in the way of the plot.  The characters were all delightful, and the casting was superb. I liked essentially every character in this movie – even Sadness.

This, of course, leads to my thoughts on both the portrayal of Sadness, and the use of sadness.  The role of Sadness essentially seems to be adding weight and significance to important people, places, and things in our lives by revealing how painful it would be to lose them.  This is just a modification of the age-old contrast excuse: bad must exist in order for good to have meaning.  Pardon me for getting philosophical, but I’m not a fan of this argument since knowledge of bad would actually be all that is required for good to have meaning, and no actual, existent bad is necessary in any form.  This means that sadness is still an unnecessary emotion if one has a sufficient amount of knowledge, understanding, perspective, and good reasoning. While Inside Out’s solution to the Sadness problem is not perfect, I do think it is acceptable, but I personally would have emphasized the important role sadness has in empathy.  This brings us to Bing Bong.

Somehow they found a way to incorporate death, and it’s in the most bizarre way, especially when one considers that people can recollect things that they’ve long forgotten, so a mere mention of Bing Bong from Riley’s mom could resurrect him.  Still, the decision to kill of Bing Bong is an odd one simply because it’s not really necessary, which just makes it feel like an excuse to get the audience crying. I suppose that he was, by the end of the movie, just dead weight, but he could have stuck around.  The cleverness of using his wagon to get back up over the Cliffs of Insanity made that scene powerful and impressive enough as it was, and the wagon had no need to stall.  This is, however, nitpicking.

Amazingly, nitpicking is all I can do to criticize it. This comes so amazingly close to the perfect screenplay that I am just as impressed as I’d hoped I would be.  I am so happy that Pixar finally made a hilarious, charming, and imaginative movie that’s right up my alley.  At last I can congratulate Lassiter, Docter, and the rest of the Pixar team for a job well done.

62 Inside Out

A Night at the Roxbury Review

I thought it would be interesting to follow up my review of Blues Brothers with a review of another SNL spin-off, so I chose Roxbury since I enjoy the old “What Is Love” sketch. I went into the film expecting a weak, virtually plotless story about detestable characters, and perhaps it was my low expectations that allowed me to kind of enjoy the film.  I could tell I was watching no masterpiece, but it was surprisingly easier to watch than Blues Brothers.  Why?  It was simple.

I’m all for movies that get a bit complex in terms of story structure and details, such asCLUE in terms of a detailed screenplay or Pulp Fiction in terms of a unique story structure.  The problems occur when a movie is more wrapped up in details and complexity than it is in showing/telling the plot.  The Dark Crystal suffers from this, although I still respect it deeply, and I wonder if Blues Brothers is in a similar category.  Blues Brothers is hard to follow only because it seems to forget where it’s going, and there is something unsettling about following an unfocused movie. After all, a filmmaker is, to a large extent, the tour guide through an unknown world, and it’s a little disrespectful to the tour group to wander about aimlessly instead of focusing on what the tourists came to see.  (I am unwavering in my conviction that audiences don’t go to theaters to see films, but rather to experience stories, so I naturally propose that the story ought to be the focus of nearly every movie.)

While I do not mean for this to become another review of Blues Brothers, I think the comparison is important to me because of how much easier it was to watch Roxbury, if only because it was more focused.  I know on an intellectual level that Roxbury is a weaker film, but it felt easier to watch, and I think that’s where simplicity and focus come into play.  It’s pretty clear from near the beginning that the story is simply two idiots trying to get into a nightclub, and I suppose Blues Brothers has a story with about the same simplicity.  The difference is that Roxbury is only about 80 minutes long, whereas Blues Brothers, which could have been the same length, is over two hours long.  Roxbury was kind enough to get to its point … the problem is, it doesn’t have much of a point.

It’s severely lacking in humor, and some critics have gone as far as to say that the film only has one joke: the protagonists are idiots. I contest, as I think the butt-touching gag was fun, but it’s not good when the best joke in the film is butt-touching.  I didn’t hate the protagonists as much as I thought I would since there seems to be some kind of innocence about them.  They clearly just never grew out of middle school, and they very much reminded me of my younger self, so I was able to empathize with the characters.  I honestly was routing for them, wondering how the story and conflicts would all be resolved, which I suppose means it didn’t fail as a movie.  It just failed as a comedy, and certainly did not reach the heights of the comedy films I most enjoy.  I certainly don’t hate the film, since it is basically harmless; I just think it’s best for the viewer to be doing something else to keep his/her mind busy while it’s on, lest the mind be weakened by the stupid.

61 A Night at the Roxbury

The Blues Brothers Review

I must confess that I’m a little disappointed in this one. Having heard such great things about it for so long, I was hoping for a very exciting comedy, but instead got a strangely-paced artsy musical.  I enjoy musicals a lot, so I had a good time during the musical sequences, but the rest of the film felt kind of pointless.  The story may not actually be as weak as it felt to me personally – it might just not be my kind of story – but something about the pace of the thing is certainly off, and there’s something else missing that kept the story from being interesting.  Unfortunately, I can’t put my finger on what that missing element is.

I know I like the actors’ performances, and the characters were fine.  The music was good, but the humor was lacking.  I’m okay with a movie that’s lacking in humor, so long as it has good drama, like in The Graduate.  I really love a great soundtrack, which is what makes it difficult for me to be as hard on this film as I think I ought.  What my problem boils down to is the fact that I don’t believe a film should be considered great purely on the grounds of its visuals or music if the story is weak.  (I even go so far as to argue with the saying that “film is a visual medium” – I say it’s a storytelling medium, and if the particular story being told requires the audio to lead and the visuals to follow, so be it.)  So, am I willing to own up to my claims and condemn the film of mediocrity in spite of its soundtrack?

Well, the music isn’t the only thing I like about it. There’s a really neat atmosphere that I think is unique to the film, and Landis adds a special vibe somehow that creates a very “bluesy” feeling.  Landis also shows off his Muppet fandom with a part played by Frank Oz, and a heck of a lot of Muppet merch in one scene, which I just adore.  There is ample cleverness throughout in both the circumstances that arise and the way they’re handled, but I still get too much of a Pee Wee’s Big Adventure feeling from the writing.  The fun cameos by great performers reminded me very much of my favorite movie, The Muppet Movie, which made this movie even more fascinating.  The film really impressed me with its visuals, as I think it’s a very, very well-shot film, so I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in cinematography.

Yes, there is a lot to like about it, but it somehow just didn’t quite grab me.  (This may have something to do with the fact that, from what I’ve read, Aykroyd had written an unconventional, dysfunctional script that had to be reworked by Landis.)  In the end, it was a movie I felt like I could just stop watching midway without missing much.  Finishing it felt like a chore.  That’s not a good sign.  So, in spite of all its strengths, I can’t give this the high rating other critics/historians do because it fails at simply holding my attention.

60 Blues Brothers

This Is Spinal Tap Review

I don’t review documentaries.  I just wouldn’t know how.  Generally speaking, the world of film production can be split into two career paths: documentary and narrative.  The difference is actually pretty big since it is the role of the narrative filmmaker to tell a cohesive narrative story with a plot, whereas the documentary filmmaker has to find an interesting way to document history, which generally includes a story of sorts.  Because of this, a documentary can be done in many different ways, and most of them are valid, just as long as the information being conveyed is accurate and/or expressed effectively.  To me, that makes a documentary harder to judge.  Add this to the fact that the writers have limited control over the story since it’s based on reality, and the fact that a lot of documentaries are made for television (while I only do theatrical releases), and it should be pretty clear why I can’t bring myself to review the docs I watch.

Then there’s This Is Spinal Tap, which is a scripted story with fictional characters, making it more like a narrative, but it’s done in a documentary style.  Those in the know refer to this as a mockumentary, although this film calls itself a “rockumentary” because it concerns the lives of members of a hard rock group in the 1980s.  There’s actually very little story, and it seems more like a compilation of SNL-like sketches than a real movie, but that’s where the documentary style really helps.  When I watch a documentary – especially one that’s largely just following musicians around – I don’t expect plot.  I just expect to learn about interesting characters, which is what this film provides.

One of the rules I have for movies is that it should be difficult to watch broken up over a span of days.  Ideally, I should hate to pause the movie for a second (if I’m seeing it first viewing).  If I wouldn’t mind pausing it to go watch something else, coming back to the film to watch the rest the following week, that’s usually a sign that the story isn’t right.  This film, which I felt fine with pausing, can get away with it because it’s simply understood that the story isn’t the point – the only goal is to get laughs. Thankfully, the film meets that goal, although I did not laugh as much as I wanted to.  Instead of laughter of various degrees throughout the film, I actually had a few really big laughs during specific, spaced out parts of the film. Most of the times when I was not getting a good laugh felt like filler, but I may have just been missing the parody of other music documentaries at the time.  Either way, this mockumentary is a good time, and I highly recommend it to fans of documentaries, rock music history, or comedy in general.

59 This Is Spinal Tap

Tomorrowland Review

When approximately 22 minutes had passed, the critics checked out. The first trailer for the film, which screamed with unwarranted mediocrity, instantly brewed a batch of immense apathy in the moviegoers’ heads.  The marketing was dreadful, so the critics were eagerly awaiting the chance to convict the movie of being dreadful as well.  They got their chance about 22 minutes in, when the film reaches the pinnacle of preachy.  All of the teachers tell the high school students that doom is inevitable – the end is near – and while our optimistic protagonist raises her hand to argue, they all choose to ignore her.  When she finally is given the chance to speak, she asks the obvious question, “Can we fix it?”  The teacher is stumped by the question, because apparently everyone in this movie lives in a world where no one has bothered to ask what we can do to make the world better.

But that’s not where the story really starts.  Let’s start earlier, at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Yes, the film starts there, at what was perhaps the biggest display of optimism about the future in history. The movie starts (as more Disney films should) by getting us excited about the movie we’re starting to watch, and giving us a dose of nostalgia while playing great Sherman Brothers music is a really good way to do that.  This is where audio-animatronics were revealed to the public, most notably in the attraction “It’s a Small World,” which is where audio-animatronic children can transport people to another dimension.  … No, really, that’s the ride’s purpose according to this movie. It takes them to a dimension where cliché visions of the future are re-hashed with gray CGI, creating a world of half-hearted semi-wonder, with a side of Diet Whimsy.  However, when viewed through the eyes of the child we’re following, Frank, there is some wonder to be found in it.  Fortunately, there are a few clever details and touches that seem rather original – especially the magic floating swimming pools – which make the clichés far more bearable than one would expect from just watching the trailer.

This, however, is not the focus of the film.  The focus of the film is Hugh Laurie’s speech at the end. The entirety of the film builds up to the moment when he finally explains what has been going on this whole time.  Essentially, visions of what will happen at the end of the world have been subtly broadcast directly into the minds of the people of earth.  This should obviously be a wake-up call to get to work on fixing the problem, but instead, humans acted like humans.  They ate it up, they yelled and fussed and complained about it, they preached that the end was near, and in the end, it became an excuse.  It became an excuse to act like they cared about what was important, while in reality they used what could have been a great chance to do some good as a chance to be lazy.

The cleverness of the film is that the whole movie builds up to the unveiling of a self-fulfilling prophecy machine (arguably a sci-fi equivalent to American cable news), and ultimately humankind is more to blame for the end of the world than any villain.  The problem with the film is in the delivery of this great concept. The use of real people, places, and events creates the sense that Tomorrowland is trying to depict the real world somewhat accurately.  This becomes a problem nine minutes in when “It’s a Small World” has a secret built-in tunnel to another dimension, at which point the suspension of disbelief is gone since not even Disney could pull of such a feat in the 1960s.  However, this part of the movie was not absurdist enough to effectively communicate to the audience the message they needed to hear: “THIS IS NOT YOUR WORLD; it’s a silly caricature of it.”

But Disney wouldn’t be brave enough to say that, would they?  Naturally, they think they must make the audience believe that it is the world we’re living in so that we’re shocked.  Disney seems to think we won’t be invested in the film if what’s on screen is too surrealistic.  Therein lies the irony – the movie itself becomes the machine it antagonizes by saying, “This is reality and it stinks,” rather than saying, “This could be reality.”  (As if that isn’t bad enough, it commits an even worse crime by saying that our reality includes certain special people who inevitably improve the world.  So if I, the viewer, don’t think I’m one of those people, why would I feel motivated to make the world a better place?)  This could have been avoided had the film been an absurdist comedy, creating a world with obviously stupid caricatures of mankind, which takes away the preachy tone, while simultaneously allowing the filmmakers to scream to the world, “DON’T YOU DARE LET YOUR WORLD BE ANYTHING LIKE THIS LUDICROUS ONE.”

To be fair, there are other interesting elements of the film to discuss as well, such as the clever concept of a society where all the world’s geniuses got together in another dimension.  In terms of characters, I find it hard to believe that the lead actress is a genius, but I suppose she at least does a decent job at making the character likable.  Frank’s a pretty good character on the whole, and Hugh Laurie does a nice job with his part too, but none of them are as charming or impressive as Raffey Cassidy, who plays the little girl named “Athena.”  She’s kind of amazing, and I really like this character, but I spent half the movie waiting for the writers to kill her off since I could tell they’d do it eventually.  Her death was probably the most predictable part of the story though, as most of the film kept me wondering what was going to happen next.  The movie surprisingly handles exposition well using the old trick of making the audience want answers, and then providing them, rather than explaining to the audience what we haven’t asked to have explained.  Still, part of why the story took interesting and surprising turns that kept me wanting answers is the lack of any logic in the story whatsoever.  I was constantly finding things that the robotic characters, being computers at heart, should have handled much more logically, so I felt more like I was watching a to-be-CinemaSins than a Disney classic – another issue that could have been dodged with a tongue-in-cheek approach.

Still, at the heart of the film is its message, and while the message seems straightforward, I don’t think the critics and I agree on what the message is.  The message I choose to take from the film is that I need to get off my butt, roll up my sleeves, and get to work on making the world a better place, but I suspect that that resonated with me since I’ve already felt that way for so long.  For the average viewer, I fear that this may not have been received the same way.  There is always a danger in an optimistic message as such messages tend to ignore reality and substitute it with the way they’d like to see the world.  This movie is, to some degree, guilty of ignoring reality, which does bother me.  It does, however, use clever ideas, a fun story, and interesting characters to give the world the slap in the face it needs and say, “You have no excuse now – go get to work and make the world better.”

58 Tomorrowland

The Commenting Editor Technique

While a film is by no means the sum of its parts, it is probably safe to say that a film is the edited union of its parts. The editing can determine the nature or genre of a film, the film’s pace, an actor’s performance, the order of the story, and much more. The editor is rarely noticed, however, for two main reasons. The first is that a film is very much seen by audiences today – especially by critics and movie buffs – as being the vision of the director. So, if the editor determines the essence of a film, people with naturally attribute the essence of the film to the director, thus ignoring the editor completely. Secondly, part of the editor’s job is to remain unnoticed, in much the same way that it is a puppeteer’s job to remain unseen as he/she performs. I expect, however, that we have reached a level of video literacy at which we can soon expect to see the film editors break a new kind of fourth wall and blatantly converse with the audience.

Along similar lines, it is traditionally bad form for the camerawork to be done in such a way that the audience is conscious of the camera, and the goal in film was, for many decades, to make the camera unnoticed. (This is comparable to the way that the lighting crew in a theatrical production is essential to making the performance visible/possible, but is seldom noticed unless it makes a big mistake.) In recent years, we have seen experiments in filmmaking in which the audience is supposed to be conscious of the camera, particularly in the genre of found footage horror films. This new direction is possible only because we are used to seeing the camera since the innovation of home video, in which awareness of the camera is nearly inevitable. It follows that one would expect an innovation to become popular that makes viewers aware of the editor, which will allow for movies that mimic the same techniques. I propose that this innovation does exist, and it is online video.

To best explain what online video means for the evolution of film editing, I should clarify what I do and do not mean in regards to an editor conversing with the audience. I am not merely talking about films in which the editing style is unique, drawing attention to itself. Films such as the 2008 Speed Racer film or the works of Robert Rodriguez are not necessarily conversational in nature. Annie Hall comes much closer to a talkative editor in the scene in which Woody Allen and Diane Keaton have one conversation while subtitles show what they truly want to say, but this still comes across as the voice of writer/director Woody Allen. Television has come close by using frequent cutaways in shows such as Family Guy, but these feel very much like they are a part of the pre-production and animation/production phases, and they are not primarily editing. The Colbert Report used a regular segment called “The Wørd” to provide a sort of visual commentary on what Colbert said, and while this may be a little too involved in the pre-production and production (a.k.a. principal photography) phases, this does succeed in providing a form of “editor’s commentary,” which is what has become a big part of online video.

Online, it is common to see a video or YouTube channel that has a host-to-viewer format, such as the PBS Idea Channel, using little pictures, GIFs, and other brief visuals to not only depict what the host is saying, but to comment on it. This takes the type of commenting common on social media, in which a the Ben Stiller “post for ants” meme might be used to comment on a post that’s not legible, and makes it a part of the post itself. On YouTube it’s common to see a picture flash on screen for half a second just to make a joke, even though the picture is not necessary for the speaker to make his/her point, or for the story to be told. Rather, these very brief visual gags are comments on the video more than they are a part of it, since they are not usually diegetic in nature. This is actually very similar to a director’s audio commentary on a film, except an editor’s commentary is generally not continuous throughout, and is a part of the video instead of being a bonus feature.

If I must give specific criteria, an editor’s commentary is:

  1. post-production-driven,
  2. non-diegetic,
  3. not a part of telling the work’s main story,
  4. nonessential to the clarity of the work,
  5. not long enough to be its own scene.

For example, when a character in a movie notes that everyone is freezing, a picture of Elsa might flash on screen for a split second. When characters discuss their favorite science fiction films, the scene might conclude with a Star Wars-esque wipe transition. When a scene begins with lots of text to read on screen, the CinemaSins “ding” sound might be heard. When an actor flubs a line, the mistake can be left in and just corrected later by cutting to a frame with a title joking about what he meant to say (which is pretty much what they did for a little documentary about Star Trek IV when one of the interviewees mixed up his words a little). There are plenty of ways to do it creatively and in a style unique to the editor and director making the film.

While the possibilities are theoretically endless, the concept of the Commenting Editor is limited in a few ways. First of all, it should probably be used sparingly and carefully so it doesn’t become gimmicky. Secondly, there is great difficulty in doing this in such a way that the commentary is nearly exclusively created in the realm of post-production where the editor is king. If it is not very exclusive to this realm, the other areas (where the writer and director are supposedly the rulers) will receive the attribution. Whenever clever text is put up on screen, it is assumed to be clever writing, and the goal is to create the sense that the editing is clever, even if the editor’s comments are written into the script. The main limitation, however, is that the Commenting Editor is comedic in nature, and I don’t see it working well for anything but comedy.

The comedy in the Commenting Editor concept comes from both the fact that the viewers must quickly make connections, causing their brains to trip over themselves, as is the case with most jokes, and the fact that the editor has broken the unspoken rules. Since everyone knows that no one is supposed to talk during the movie, there is something chaotic and comedic about the editor himself (or herself) stepping out of the film to talk about the movie the whole time. While this concept could add to the aesthetic distance by reminding the viewers that they are watching an edited production, it could also decrease aesthetic distance by putting the editor in the audience, joining the viewers in the experience. This would make for a fascinating and important development in film because it creates a kind of movie that is self-aware, but not just by breaking the fourth wall. If a movie is essentially the editing, the movie can become a character of its own by talking to the audience about itself, and the viewers will not only enjoy the experience of relating to the characters in the film, but also the experience of conversing with the film itself.

(Monty Python’s) Life of Brian Review

This film is not sacrilegious.  This film is not about Jesus.  It is about the importance of rationally thinking for oneself rather than just accepting what others say is true.  It mocks group think, pokes fun at activists, and challenges people to be critical thinkers, making it very much the skeptic’s film.  In fact, Pythoner John Cleese has said that a number of Christians have told him how much they enjoyed the film, because they understood that making fun of religion is not the point.  Cleese has also gone on record saying that he has always thought Life of Brian would be considered the best Python film ever made, but I have to ask myself, would I say such a thing?  Well, let’s analyze the story, characters, and comedy, comparing it to what has been my favorite of the Python productions, Holy Grail.

In terms of story, Brian works better.  Its story has far more structure to it, and the plot is more conflict driven, with a narrative that would work well even if it was not a comedy piece.  The pace is actually a little slow, but it’s still a very interesting story on the whole.  The main character, Brian, has much more reality than King Arthur, making for more investment in a relatable character.  This also lends itself to a great comedic situation as Brian is a voice of reason in a world of lunatics, and no one really listens to him.  Also, the supporting characters are fun, will-written, and performed excellently, but this film is still not as fun or funny as I had hoped.

There was little to make me fall out of my chair laughing, but most of the movie did manage to put a smile on my face or get a chuckle out of me.  Part of the problem was the culture-specific jokes throughout, such as the parody of the British political activist groups at the time, and the jokes based on the Pythoners’ mutual experience with learning Latin in school – something that is not as common in the US.  In a way, the film is more of a tragicomedy than a comedy, largely because the audience cares a bit too much for Brian to be okay with his suffering (or at least I did).  I tend to be very empathetic concerning movie characters I like, so I was legitimately happy when Brian was happy, but in turn, some of what he dealt with was hard to watch.  Particularly the stupid people who didn’t really listen to him no matter how well he communicated – I knew I was supposed to laugh, and I suppose I did some, but I couldn’t help but empathize with his misery too much.

Comedy is a tricky thing since it requires keeping people interested in what the characters endure without letting them get too invested.  So, in the end, I do not find Life of Brian to be their funniest film.  I do, however, think it’s Monty Python’s most important film.  I cannot help but respect this movie immensely for making a piece that helps us see why we must be critical thinkers, while making us smile at giggle at the same time.  This film serves as a perfect example of how to make a message movie: its focus is on a strong character in an interesting situation; it makes it clear that this is not our world, but rather an absurd variation on our world; it is not at all preachy, but instead puts fun first; the audience is left smiling, but still thinking about the nature of humanity.

For this reason, I highly recommend the film to everyone, because in a way, it may be Monty Python’s finest achievement.  (Not to mention, “Bright Side” is pretty great.)

P.S.  My next movie review concerns another message movie that needed to learn a lesson or two from Life of Brian, so stay tuned . . . .

57 Monty Python's Life of Brian