Monday, November 26, 2007

Monty Pythons the Meaning of Life

Monty Pythons the Meaning of Life
Perhaps only the collective brilliant minds of the Monty Python film and television troupe are up to the task of tackling a subject as weighty as the Meaning of Life. Sure, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, and their ilk have tried their hands at this puzzler, but only Python has attempted to do so within the commercial motion picture medium. Happily for us all, Monty Python's the Meaning of Life truly explains everything one conceivably needs to know about the perplexities of human existence, from the mysteries of Catholic doctrine to the miracle of reproduction to why one should avoid the salmon mousse to the critical importance of the machine that goes ping! Using fish as a linking device (and what marvelous links those aquatic creatures make), The Meaning of Life is presented as a series of sketches: a musical production number about why seed is sacred; a look at dining in the afterlife; the quest for a missing fish (there they are again); a visit from Mr. Death; the cautionary tale of Mr. Creosote and his rather gluttonous appetite; an unflinching examination of the harsh realities of organ donation, and so on. Sadly, this was the last original Python film, but it's a beaut. You'll laugh. You'll cry (probably because you're laughing so hard). You may even learn something about the Meaning of Life. Or at least about how fish fit into the grand scheme of things. --Jim Emerson

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