Category: Latest News

Alternative Christmas Movies: Monty Python’s Life of Brian [1979]

At the time of release, Monty Python’s religious satire was deemed highly controversial; some religious groups classed the movie as blasphemy and protests to ban the film saw many authorities ban it from cinemas or demand it carried an X certificate. So, what better time than Christmas to give this comedy classic a sorely needed rewatch.

Even now, many religious groups deem this movie blasphemous. It goes without saying that the Pythons were a bunch of well-educated lads; there is never any mockery made of Jesus or his teachings, in fact, on the two occasions we do actually see JC, he’s not the butt of any jokes and is treated with respect. Some will unjustly label their brand of comedy as silly or offensive, but there was always a sense of intelligence surrounding everything they did, and yes, that includes all those funny walks.

The idea behind the Pythons third film was born out of a stock answer they gave reporters who asked them what their next project would be. When quizzed, the Python standard response would be “Jesus Christ – Lust for Glory,” they soon discovered this shut the press up, but after years of saying it, they started to consider it for the basis of a movie.

Brian Cohen is just your average sort of guy who wants a peaceful life but soon finds his life turned upside down after he is repeatedly mistaken for a prophet. Despite his own protests that he is not the son of God, he ends up becoming a reluctant Messiah. The Pythons were no strangers to making religious satire, medieval Christian philosophy was spoofed in their earlier film The Holy Grail, and numerous sketches in their TV series would skate around the subject matter. There was always going to be backlash from making the film; it’s fair to assume that they weren’t expecting quite the level of hatred and anger they received, but they handled the situation in true Python fashion.

The infamous debate on “Friday Night, Saturday Morning” saw John Cleese and Michael Palin try to defend the movie and set the record straight. Broadcaster and noted Christian Malcolm Muggeridge and Mervyn Stockwood (Bishop of Southwark) watched the movie and gave their frank and honest opinions. Cleese and Palin fight their corner eloquently and attempt to make it clear that they were lampooning religious attitudes and not religion itself. If you have a spare 60 minutes, it’s well worth a watch.

A few years ago the BBC made a cute little TV movie called Holly Flying Circus, which told the story surrounding the release of Life of Brain and the lead up to the debate, which includes a brief reenactment of a key part of the discussion. If you have the time it is well worth seeking out. The Life of Brian might not seem like an overly suitable film for Christmas, but it’s the Pythons got to making a festive movie and Christmas just wouldn’t be the same with a portion of Monty Python.

★★★★

13Dec

Everything Wrong with Home Alone

It’s that magical time of the year again; the nights are getting colder, shops burst at the seams with ill-tempered shoppers, and once again, I’ve given up trying to buy gifts in favour of...

06Dec

It Chapter 2 Honest Trailer

The following article and video contains spoilers for It Chapter 2.  It Chapter 2 concluded Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s iconic book. Two years on from Chapter One...

27Nov

Catherine The Great Mini-Series Review

Dame Helen Mirren adds another portrayal of a historical figure to her distinguished career with a sparky turn as Catherine The Great. The difference between TV and film used to be worlds apart, but in...

25Nov

Catherine The Great Arrives on Home Entertainment

 Dame Helen Mirren leads an all-star cast in lavish mini-series Catherine The Great. Fresh from its acclaimed run on Sky Atlantic, the complete mini-series is now out to own on DVD, Blu-ray, and...

18Nov

Clockwise Blu-ray Review

Making its Blu-ray debut with a glorious remastering, John Cleese stars in classic British comedy Clockwise. Meet Brain Stimpson (Cleese), an uptight headmaster of a comprehensive school who prizes...

07Nov

Rick & Morty Season 4 Sets UK Release Date

Mere days away from US fans getting the first of five brand new episodes of Rick and Morty, we finally know when season 4 will land in the UK. I hope you’re sitting down because it’s not good...

31Oct

The Best Halloween Episodes From Our Favourite TV Shows

It’s Time For A Night of Frights Although Halloween is a religious festival believed to have pagan roots, in the US it is an excuse for children, and adults, to dress as their favourite film or TV...