Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)

I don't think you need me to evaluate Life of Brian. It's a Monty Python film. Everyone knows who they are and has formed an opinion about them. This particular effort is rated in the top 150 films of all time at IMDb and has received 98% positive reviews according to Rotten Tomatoes. No less an authority on British film than the august BBC declared it, "A beautiful film, a perfect comedy, and a gentle triumph of silliness over pomposity, self-importance, and intolerance - Life of Brian could be the best British comedy ever."

As a quick refresher, it's about a guy who was born in the next stable down from Christ. From the very beginning of his life, people seemed to get him confused with his famous neighbor. First it was the Magi, who followed the star to Brian's stable, only to realize that star navigation is somewhat less precise than GPS, and the real Messiah was just one door down. That would not be the last time people tried to worship him. Brian lived in a time that was obsessed with the Messiah. Various people in that time were convinced that they were the Messiah - from Herod to Caligula to Livia, the wife of Augustus. It was not only the famous who felt themselves chosen. Many minor claimants, sane and mad alike, joined the messianic frenzy that gripped the age. This film pictures the people of that time as being aware of the Messiah's presence, but not his identity, thus shopping around from soap box to soap box trying to find the authentic redeemer among the pretenders. At one time, Brian seemed to be the flavor of the month.

'Nuff said. It's a comedy classic, and it has been re-issued in the Criterion Collection with two full-length commentaries, which between them include all of the living Pythons! I think I'll offer some personal reminiscences.

I lived in the United States when this film was released, and I remember well the controversy. I liked it of course, but one had to be very careful about admitting that because religious people opposed it vociferously. Catholic groups protested the film and wanted attendance to be considered a sin. Fundies virtually shut it out of the Bible Belt states, forcing theater operators to avoid it or to close it early. The same sorts of protests worked against Life of Brian in the U.K., where a group called Festival of Light successfully lobbied many towns and shires to ban the film. The people who protested it, as usual, had no idea what they were talking about. The film does not concern itself at all with Christ or Christianity. Christ is only mentioned once, when an overflow crowd struggles to hear The Sermon on the Mount from a great distance. "Did he say blessed are the cheesemakers?" The film does not ridicule Christianity at all. Brian just happens to have lived in the same time and place as Jesus, and that time is ridiculed. Of course the controversy also fueled the curiosity of a different segment of the population, and the box office was $19 million in the United States alone, a minor hit by 1979 standards. It took in about as much as Norma Rae or The Rose, for example, and that achievement seems even more impressive when one considers the competition. It came out the same weekend as Apocalypse Now.

The film went on to cult status in the States, but no more than that. It has never been one of those cultural touchstones with universal recognition. It has admirers among intellectuals and Python fans, but it's never been the kind of film that Jay Leno could quote from and everyone would immediately get the joke.

Years after its release, I moved to Europe, and eventually lived in several different countries there, where I found out that this film is viewed very differently on the continent. Virtually every educated European has seen the film, can recognize the famous quotes, and can sing along with "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," the cheery finale sung by an unlikely chorus of crucified men. Life of Brian IS a cultural touchstone in Western Europe. I would guess that this film is as familiar to Western European adolescents as Star Wars is to Americans the same age.

I am back in the United States now, but there's something about Western Europe's affection for this movie that continues to give that region a special spot in my heart.

Sue Jones-Davies is a rather famous Welsh folk singer who is still performing in films and concerts, although now with her clothes on. Here's the film clip. (Zipped .wmv) 


Flannel Pajamas (2006)


Julianne Nicholson




Third party videos:


  • Alexandra Moen in Tripping Over, a TV mini-series produced jointly by the UK and Australia.  (Zipped .avi - HDTV!)



  • Michelle Pfeiffer in Into the Night. Dude, this is about as good as it gets in the world of celebrity nudity. (Zipped .avi) It is a very dumb movie, but great fun and I really like it. I would like it even without Pfeiffer nekkid, but that's a helluva bonus.  (Movie House review of Into the Night.) John Landis has seven pretty damned good comedy films on his resume, but his last one, Susan's Plan, was a bit of a dud. Note on the list below that the last one came out 18 years ago. He has some more currently in development, including one in post-production.
  1. (7.80) - The Blues Brothers (1980)
  2. (7.50) - Animal House (1978)
  3. (7.39) - An American Werewolf in London (1981)
  4. (7.30) - Trading Places (1983)
  5. (6.60) - Coming to America (1988)
  6. (6.30) - Into the Night (1985/I)
  7. (6.30) - The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)








K Fed getting Body slammed on the WWE

A Script Review for Tony Scott's remake of The Warriors

Borat premieres new 'moviefilm'

  • "It was a parade of peasant villagers pulling carts of meat, women carrying bails of wheat, scantily clad prostitutes, dirty children with shovels propped over their shoulders, men ladling out cups of horse urine (fake, we hope) and two men dressed in crotch-hugging shoulder strap thongs that held court for the world premiere of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit. At the end: a beat-up station wagon from which emerged Borat."

Letterman's "Top Ten Questions To Ask Yourself Before Voting For Schwarzenegger"

The R-rated trailer for Flannel Pajamas, a relationship drama which played at Sundance. Julianne Nicholson's bum is seen in the trailer. (She also did full-frontal nudity in the movie.)

Borat goes to an etiquette coach, then tries to apply her advice.

New book takes humbug out of famous quotations

OOPS! "Queen Elizabeth has 10 times the lifespan of workers and lays up to 2,000 eggs a day"

Lovable, even-tempered supermodel Naomi Campbell has been arrested in London - on suspicion of assault

Doctors, nurses and health visitors in Lancashire could be banned from wearing novelty socks to work.

  • I have stopped wearing novelty socks to visit the dying because I figure I can cause more commotion by wearing them to the funeral. Especially when I wear shorts. Besides, the bedridden don't really get a very good look at one's socks, so I wear novelty ties instead.

Fan site for the short-lived late-70s television series "Salvage 1."

  • Submitter wrote: "On a passing thought, I hit the internet for some information on this show that I vaguely remembered watching as a young child and found this mindblowing, multimedia stash of goodies. Ah, the internet: where your fleeting thought is another's obsession.


Mozilla - Firefox 2.0 is now officially ready for download

"Heather Mills McCartney Denies Hurricane Name Accusations"

"This clever Halloween cake recipe, that frightfully resembles a well used kitty litter box."

Hillary's Opponent Denies Calling Her 'Ugly '-- Reporter Stands By Story

  • Hillary denied having any plastic surgery. Her spokesman said she just suddenly stopped being ugly in middle age, by magic.

ROTTEN TOMATOES: Movies Opening this week

  • Saw 3 - 3000 screens - no advance reviews.
  • Catch a Fire - 71% positive reviews -1300 screens.
    • Note: 71% does not equal 71%. For a lowbrow comedy, 71% means sheer genius, because critics underrate them. There's Something About Mary, maybe the greatest lowbrow comedy ever made, scores only 60% from the A-list critics at Rotten Tomatoes.
    • On the other hand, 71% is a mediocre (possibly even poor) score for a political thriller with sincere liberal values because that is a genre which is always overrated by critics. The Interpreter, a below-average thriller which is sometimes laughably bad, got 66% positive reviews from the same group.
    • The point is, I guess, that you should be circumspect about the 71% for Catch a Fire. Critics will praise this sort of sincere, well-meaning film and give it a positive review if there is even the tiniest justification.
  • Running With Scissors - 600 screens - 24% positive reviews. General consensus - "a waste of time, money, and talent." Steve Rhodes called it, "Not just merely bad; painfully bad."

The Weekend Warrior's predictions for the Oct 27-29 box office.

  • The only new release in wide distribution is Saw 3, and it is expected to win the box office by a mile, with more than the next four films added together. Saw 2 opened on the exact same weekend last week, and 3 is expected to perform about the same as 2.
  • Surprisingly, Warrior is expecting the group total to drop down to "even with the comparable group last year," coming after two weeks with increases greater than 25%.
  • Catch a Fire, the serious South African political drama, is expected to earn only a tepid response in a tepid roll-out.

The trailer for Farce of the Penguins - Bob Saget's take on the "nature film with anthropomorphic penguin" genre. Looks like fun. Just about anyone who's ever been funny is doing a voice, and Samuel L is narrating.

Three clips from The Return, Buffy's new supernatural thriller.

"New McCaskill for Missouri TV ad featuring actor Michael J. Fox talking about Claire McCaskill and stem cell research" (This is the ad about which Limbaugh was talking when he accused Michael J Fox of exaggerating or faking his symptoms.)

An oldie but goodie. Your cursor removes their clothing.




Movie Reviews:

Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format. Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.


The L Word Season 3 Episodes 9 through 12 (2005)

Mojave Moon (1996) is a romantic comedy featuring a not quite famous Angelina Jolie. Danny Aiello is everyman, recently divorced, and living in LA. He is having breakfast with friends in a diner, when Angelina Jolie comes in and picks him up. It is obvious to everyone, possibly even Aiello, that she wants something from him. He does what any of us would do, however. He goes along with her. When she asks him to drive her to Mojave, he agrees. They arrive at her trailer, to find her mother, Ann Archer, and her mother's current psychotic boyfriend, Michael Biehn. It turns out that Angelina's ulterior motive was to bring home a new boyfriend for her mother. Angelina goes to a local gin mill, and calls to announce that she is going to marry her biker boyfriend, Jack Noseworthy. Aiello leaves, but has a flat on the way out of town, and finds Noseworthy seemingly dead in his trunk. What follows is a series of misadventures that have him questioning why he ever got involved.

Angelina Jolie, who was above the radar horizon, but not yet on the superstar list, showed breasts in a shower scene, and is seen in a bra and panties.

IMDb readers say 5.3, which is probably about right. There seems to be a great deal of confusion over what genre this is. To answer the question, you must analyze the curve of excitement, something like diagramming sentences in English class. Jolie takes Aiello to her mother, the two have a rocky few days and nearly split, then end up together. In other words, boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl, equals romantic comedy. Along the way, a lot of offbeat and over the top things happen. Voila, offbeat romantic comedy. But is it any good? Well, the acting is top notch from each player, but I am not sure they played off of each other that well. The characters are interesting and well-developed, and some of them are sympathetic. The desert location is beautiful, and well-photographed. Somehow, the film didn't entirely work, and I am not 100% sure why, but I suspect it had to do with pacing problems and lack of interaction among characters, both of which could have been solved with additional rehearsal time. I will call this a C- as a near miss.


Angelina Jolie







Today the Time Machine is off to 1992 for a clip of former "Baywatch" girl Erika Eleniak in "Under Siege." Erika shows off the boobs as she pops out of a cake. Sexy Scene. 

Clip (zipped .wmv). Sample caps below.





TODAY'S THEME: Caps from various B-movies


Paula Trickey

 & other strippers

...  topless from "Maniac Cop 2", a Larry Lohen - William Lustig thriller.

BONUS. Don't miss the haunting, poignant Maniac Cop rap theme song:

"... shoot him with an Uzi

 but he'll show up in your jacuzzi"



Camille Cooper in the bath from Wes Craven's (Nightmare on Elm street - like) "Shocker"



Cheryl M. Lynn nudity from "Thunder Run," a fun flick with trucks and explosives



Kristy Swanson sexy - from "Dead Silence", a boring (made for tv) police drama



Katherine Armstrong nudity - from "Ambition" , an unwatchable Lou Diamond Philips "thriller"


Cecilia Peck in the bath - also from "Ambition"



Margot Kidder doing a strip routine - from the mafia (spoof?) "Mob Story"



Morgan Fairchild displaying cleavage - from the sensitive, heart-wrenching "Phantom of the Mall 2 - Eric's Revenge"



Maureen Kedes topless - from "Fair Trade," a chicks 'n' guns adventure



Lisa Rinna sexy - also from "Fair Trade"



Linda Evans partial nudity from the old murky cop flick and MST3000 favorite, "Mitchell"



Unknown from the Sonny Chiba film "Steetfighter"






Notes and collages

Mary Kay Place in The Big Chill


Another Lawrence Kasdan film, "The Big Chill" is set as a reunion of college friends after the suicide funeral of one of them; the underlying theme is the contrast between idealism and realism in terms of living a life as a person gets older: a splendid film well worth the watching (if one is old enough to personally appreciate the ironies layered in the story.)

This scene with Mary Kay Place is a private moment as she wonders if she will ever have children...

....oh, and great pokie action.... (I'm a guy; what would you expect me to say?)



Robin Tunney in Supernova

This scene is one of the obligatory breast scenes added to a large budget bad film; lucky us. I wish I could say something complimentary about the film "Supernova;" unfortunately right after I watched the film my brain went into erase mode. As for Robin Tunney, I could watch her all day long (in a non-stalker-like way of course.)





Janina Gavankar is seen here in Cup of My Blood. She is the spokesperson for a glitzy but rather silly new search engine at

Edwige Fenech looking even better than usual in Giovannona ....

Jennifer Garner. Mrs Affleck shows some plumber's crack on Alias.