Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)

life-of-brian_1374284cMonty Python takes no prisoners with what is a movie based around the stupidity, hypocrisy and inherent fallacies of religion, and the entire idea of martyrdom, in which a man named Brian seeking only to gain some sense of importance is suddenly a messiah and god, and only by accident. He has the origins of a normal Biblical figure, but after encountering Romans, mindless followers, moronic praisers, violent apostles, and the like, Brian mid-way discovers that he really never wanted to be anywhere near as important as the boy born in the manger next to him named Jesus.

“Life of Brian” is not only a mockery of religion, but a complete twist on the theist fables and myths through the eyes of Brian who seeks heroism but learns it’s all hollow meaningless and aimless nonsense that earns him nothing but pain and misery while leaving behind a horde of apathetic imbeciles who seek to earn fame and retribution through his sacrifices probably building an entire ideology of falsehoods and completely destructive morals that he never wanted in the first place. Brian is the under achieving messiah, the man who fell in to his fame while Jesus sought it out, and in the end he really doesn’t want anything else but to go back home and look for a way to blend in to the masses who were more content in following.

“Life of Brian” explores the construction of a new way of thinking with Brian whose own inept struggle for survival turns him in to deity where logic means nothing to people who are so anxious for a divine power they basically do the work for him. They create signs he accidentally left behind in a scramble to outrun Roman officers, they find miracles in utter coincidences and take every word he spews as gospel. Graham Chapman is rather fantastic as the put upon Brian whose fame grows literally overnight under the nose of Jesus Christ who actively sought to battle his oppressors, while he was just looking to follow his lead and make a difference among men he perceived as doers when they’re really just talkers in the end.

“Life of Brian” is not as mainstream as “The Holy Grail” but it has much more to say about religion, the inherent bold faced lies built from these foundations of martyrs and dictators, and the futility of existence in a world where you’re either the sheep or the shepherd. Brian is one of the first, if not the first, inadvertent celebrity and a man punished for having a brain that he didn’t really want to begin with that created a new theology from a foundation of ignorance, gullibility, and pure stupidity. Of course that’s not to say that there aren’t some brilliant bits of comedy within the fold of clever jabs at the concept of organized religion including the hilarious stoning segment, the rebellious old man who doesn’t really see the big deal with crucifixions and Biggus Dickus, only to name a few.

Monty Python’s comedy and narratives are about as unique and polarizing as ever (Aliens actually save Brian during a space war? Coincidental divine Intervention, perhaps?) and only a select few of their truest fans will appreciate the message they convey in a movie that actively mocks the concept of organized religion while making us laugh along with them. Some viewers have seen “Life of Brian” as a satire of religion paying tribute to the under appreciated Messiah built around the legacy of Jesus, while others think of this as a mockery of the idea of organized religion and worship. Whether you subscribe to the former or the latter, Monty Python continues their thought provoking comedy with a musical number or two that lives on through the ages.