The Meaning Of Life (1983)
On Wednesday, May 7th, Movies at Mothers returns when we present the final film from the ground breaking British comedy ensemble, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, directed by Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam.
In this, their final motion picture offering, the Pythons return to the origin of their particular brand of madness, sketch comedy. After releasing two wildly successful narrative films, Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975) and The Life of Brian (1979), The Meaning of Life freed the team up to poke jabs at every faction of society. From a mutiny aboard an Insurance Company to a poverty stricken Catholic neighborhood performing the show stopping musical number, “Every Sperm Is Sacred”, to the Grim Reaper’s visit to a bourgeois dinner party, the lads take no prisoners in their effort to skewer the arrogant, the ignorant and the intolerant.
While some have lamented the absence of narrative coherence in this film, I’ve always felt that sketch comedy was the group’s strongest suit, and indeed thanks to the quality of the production and its visual flair many of the bits function more like brilliant short films than merely as sketches. As was the case with The Holy Grail, the film was co-directed by Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam. Gilliam of course, a former animator, brings that sensibility to a number of the pieces creating many of the film most indelible images. Jones, the only director to serve that role on all three films gives one of the most memorable performances. Unrecognizable under a ground-breaking make-up design by Chris Tucker (The Elephant Man, Star Wars) he plays Mr. Creosote in a sketch occurring late enough in the film that we trust the audience at Mother’s Velvet Lounge has completed their meal.
One of the most striking characteristics of The Meaning Of Life is its status as a full blown musical, with Eric Idle having written the bulk of the songs. “Every Sperm Is Sacred” is a huge extravaganza, rivaling production numbers from “legitimate” musicals like Oliver!, and my favorite, “The Galaxy Song”, cheerfully ponders the the vastness of space and humanity’s utter insignificance in the face of it.
Be advised: “The Meaning Of Life” is rated R, and often embraces a sense of humor that can only be described as crude (I’m serious about being done with your meal before the Mr. Creosote scene) and irreverent, with a considerable helping of sex and nudity.
The excitement begins at 7:00 when you will enjoy one of the best dinners in town, followed by the screening at 7:30 PM. Hope to see you there!
Mother’s is located at 212 SW Stark.