Wednesday, January 22, 2020

RIP Sir Bedivere

Another Python has left the building. RIP Terry Jones:
'We are deeply saddened to have to announce the passing of beloved husband and father, Terry Jones.

'Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD. Over the past few days his wife, children, extended family and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in North London.

We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades.'
With Terry Gilliam, Jones wrote and directed what is almost certainly the funniest movie ever filmed, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The mere fact that it is still being quoted on a daily basis around the world despite having been released 45 years ago is astonishing, as is the fact that young men today find it every bit as funny as young men did twenty and thirty years ago. The humor is truly timeless.

Monty Python never again reached such heights, but then, no one else ever did either. And while people will point to the mother in Life of Brian, Cardinal Biggles of the Spanish Inquisition sketch, or Mr. Creosote from the famous "wafer thin" sketch, for my money, his greatest character was Sir Bedivere and his most unforgettable line was from the Holy Grail.

"Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science?"

It still makes me laugh, every single time.



Blogger Stilicho January 22, 2020 9:18 AM  

"If I went around sayin' I was emperor just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!"

Blogger szook January 22, 2020 9:25 AM  


Blogger furor kek tonicus ( no need to be racist, Ratchets can Karen better than anybody ) January 22, 2020 9:25 AM  

admit it. you enjoy saying that to NDT.

Blogger exfarmkid January 22, 2020 9:26 AM  


"We could build a large badger....."

Blogger Brett baker January 22, 2020 9:26 AM  

"It's a bunny rabbit."

Blogger DeepThought January 22, 2020 9:29 AM  

My Father also passed away from FTD, it is not a pleasant way to go as it robs the family of the ability to converse with their loved one.

May God show mercy on his soul.

Blogger Pope Cleophus I January 22, 2020 9:35 AM  

He's not dead yet.

Blogger Silent Draco January 22, 2020 9:37 AM  

All right, but I have lead shielding ready for Gamma infestation.

I persuaded my wife to use the witch scene as a funny way to explain Scientific Method. Her students had a blast, but got the points of deductive reasoning, asking questions, and logical fallacies. Never heard another word about the movie.

Going to that next line always makes me laugh.

Blogger Shane Bradman January 22, 2020 9:41 AM  

Terry Jones scientifically proving that the woman was a witch is one of the most memorable and funny parts of Monty Python. Timeless British comedy. At least Graham Chapman will have a friend to talk to now.

Blogger CarpeOro January 22, 2020 9:42 AM  

One of the few movies I bought first in VHS format, then again on DVD (Big Trouble in Little China and the original Star Wars trilogy being the others). I watched a "Life of Brian" and "The Meaning of Life" but neither ever made me interested in watching them again.

Blogger SciVo January 22, 2020 9:50 AM  

If you're watching an old VHS tape, you may have to rewind a couple times to catch the last couple lines. (In fact, I heard the last line as "I am not!") And it's the throwaway that makes them hilarious.

Dingo: Yes. Yes, you must give us all a good spanking. And after the spanking, the oral sex.
Galahad: Well, I could stay a bit longer.
[Sir Lancelot crashes in, grabs Galahad and rushes out of the castle]
Lancelot: We were in the nick of time. You were in great peril.
Galahad: I don't think I was.
Lancelot: Yes, you were. You were in terrible peril.
Galahad: Look, let me go back in there and face the peril.
Lancelot: No, it's far too perilous.
Galahad: Look, it's my duty as a knight to sample as much peril as I can.
Lancelot: No, we've got to find the Holy Grail. Come on.
Galahad: Oh, let me have just a little bit of peril?
Lancelot: No. It's unhealthy.
Galahad: I bet you're gay.
Lancelot: No, I'm not.

Blogger nswhorse January 22, 2020 9:52 AM  

"And that, my Liege, is how we know the earth to be banana-shaped."

"This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedevere! Explain again how sheep's bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes."

Blogger Paddy J S January 22, 2020 10:31 AM  

Am going to disagree. I never got the whole monty python thing. Never found it funny. Never. For me fawlty towers was always better.

Blogger Meanoldbasterd January 22, 2020 10:35 AM  

Sir Bedivere, not sir Belvedere!!

Blogger Newscaper312 January 22, 2020 10:39 AM  

"M'sieur, it is but a thin waff-ir!"

I worked at the movie theater in high school when that came out. OMG we laughed so hard, always ducking into back of the theater to watch when that sketch came up.

"Bring me a bucket!"
That poor cleaning lady.

Blogger Rough Carrigan January 22, 2020 11:06 AM  

Are they sure he's not just resting?

Blogger Azimus January 22, 2020 11:19 AM  

RIP, Funniest of a Generation.

May you remember to climb into the rabbit as it is brought in through the Pearly Gate.

Blogger SemiSpook37 January 22, 2020 11:43 AM  


I took a comparative literature course on Arthurian Legend in college on the recommendation of a friend. We watched Holy Grail as an extra credit activity. The Pythons were definitely well versed in their understanding and interpretation of each of the (legend-related) Knights featured in the film. The whole point of the Castle Anthrax scene was to hammer on Gallahad's virtue, and it's hilariously done.

My personal preference is for Lancelot rescuing the prince from Swamp Castle based on his "idiom", which played off of Lancelot's entire Alpha persona.

Blogger Angantyr January 22, 2020 11:46 AM  

"And that, my Liege, is how we know the earth to be banana-shaped."

"This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedevere! Explain again how sheep's bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes."

You beat me to it...

Blogger maniacprovost January 22, 2020 11:50 AM  

young men today find it every bit as funny as young men did twenty and thirty years ago. The humor is truly timeless.

OK Xer

Blogger Matt Robison January 22, 2020 12:01 PM  

That was one of my favorite lines as well. Man, I love that movie. I think I had it memorized when I was in high school.

Blogger Akulkis January 22, 2020 12:11 PM  

In college, I had a friend who had never seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but by sheer exposure to people quoting it at Society for Creative Anachronism meetings and get-togethers, could easily recite half the movie.

Blogger PH January 22, 2020 12:43 PM  

If you enjoyed Python or Faulty Towers you would probably enjoy Black Books or The IT Crowd.

Blogger Doktor Jeep January 22, 2020 12:49 PM  

What's the chance that it took a long time for Terry's family to realize the dementia was not an act?

Blogger CostelloM January 22, 2020 12:53 PM  

Geez... I remember singing "SPAM SPAM SPAM..." and pounding our hands on the carriages etc. on a roller coaster circa 1986. We had the first 4 cars at Hershey Park ... Comet or was it the Super Double Looper? . My friends and I - our middle school arranged a trip to a theme park near us. All of us had a copy of the BETA (superior) or VHS (felt sorry for you) of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". I haven't thought about this for a long time. GOD speed sir and thank you. You have the honor of making the funniest movie to have ever come from this ... 'cycle'.. :)

Blogger Chicken fried lice January 22, 2020 12:57 PM  

The naked gun might get better. I'll have to rewatch that and python back to back.

Blogger KBuff January 22, 2020 1:00 PM  

RIP, Mr. Jones. I've been a Python fan since the late 70s, when the local PBS station would play old BBC episodes of Flying Circus.

Blogger Silent Draco January 22, 2020 1:11 PM  

Remo - if it was wooden coaster all painted white, it was the Comet. If it was metal, it was the Super Duper Looper.

For all the gammatude that got attached to it, like a coconut to a swallow's leg, there was a lot of comic genius in the dialog and scene site gags.

Thanks and on to your rest, sir. A choir of Dominions will serve breakfast shortly. Your choices are eggs, bacon, sausage and Spam, Spam, eggs, sausage and Spam, ...

Blogger tublecane January 22, 2020 1:11 PM  

@15- Best not to dissect why things are funny, but I always wondered what it was about the thin mint bit. Aside from the fact that ugly fat people going over a theoretical limit of intake is inherently funny.

I think it has something to do with the mystery of the waiter's motivation. Why is he like that? Why does he want the customer to explode? It's almost like a chemistry experiment.

@18- My medieval history teacher had us watch an entertaining Terry Jones documentary on the crusades. I hadn't known he was that serious (or semi-serious) on the subject. Turns out he did a bunch of that stuff for t.v. and whatnot.

The guy was an Oxford grad. I don't think in history, but what does that matter I suppose.

@20- Holy Grail is quite obviously a Boomer Thing, premiering in 1975. The youngest X-men were not even 10 years old. The only thing in the movie made for 10 year-olds is perhaps the clippety-cloppety of the fake horsies.

Now, the movie has staying power, and it grew with X-men. But that's just the point. It grew with Millennials too. It is perennial.

Blogger God Emperor Memes January 22, 2020 2:14 PM  

Let's hope he remembers the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow.

Blogger Dave January 22, 2020 2:48 PM  

"Terry Jones, 77, dies with his wife, 36, by his side"

36. Living life to the fullest, he did. Sad for their 10 year old child.

Blogger Johnny January 22, 2020 3:14 PM  

@15- Best not to dissect why things are funny, but I always wondered what it was about the thin mint bit. Aside from the fact that ugly fat people going over a theoretical limit of intake is inherently funny.

Explaining humor can damage it. The humor here is a least three things. Making fun of people who eat too much. Stereotype of a butt kissing waiter. And the oh so butt kissing waiter secretly torturing the customer. A touch of sadism, or more mildly, schadenfreude. We all put up with people and we get a certain pleasure from their discomfort. There is a mean edge in a lot of humor.

I seem to like the more subtle stuff, if it can be called subtle. The "you pig of an Englishman." discussion. The peasants doing absurd things in the background. The Holy Hand Grenade. Terminal velocity of a sparrow. The wet wench in the lake discussion. Making the wimp prince not burst out in song. Etc. Lots of material in it.

Blogger Cataline Sergius January 22, 2020 3:27 PM  

Dementia is viscously hard on the victim's family. There really is nothing you can do but try and ride it out and you can't ride out because it never stops until the victim is dead.

I have offered prayers for his family's comfort and I am glad that Jones is at rest.

Blogger Cataline Sergius January 22, 2020 3:33 PM  

The Four Yorkshireman skit

Blogger tublecane January 22, 2020 4:01 PM  

@32- My favorite part of Holy Grail is when Lancelot comes to free the "princess"--who is actually an effeminate prince--and slaughters an entire castle needlessly.

Not that part, however. Rather, the way they show him galloping over the horizon several times, almost on repeat. Then suddenly he's at the gate killing a guard.

Just a simple editing trick, but endlessly fascinating to me.

Blogger Azimus January 22, 2020 4:50 PM  

29. tublecaneJanuary 22, 2020 1:11 PM
@20- Holy Grail is quite obviously a Boomer Thing, premiering in 1975. The youngest X-men were not even 10 years old. The only thing in the movie made for 10 year-olds is perhaps the clippety-cloppety of the fake horsies.

Nay sir, nay! You couldn't be more wrong! I'm an Xer close to the age boundary with the millenials (happily on the right side of that boundary).

The first time I saw HG, I was 12 and laughed so hard I couldn't breathe at the tale of Sir Robin, and the Black "I'm Invincible!" Knight.

The next time I saw HG, I was 15 and thought the Castle Anthrax was the funniest, and the "Bring Out Your Dead" scene, and the post-Lancelot-slaughter

Then I saw HG in my mid 20's and found Dennis the Communist Peasant to be the funniest part.

In my early 30's, having worked professionally with many people, I found the witch "So... if she weighs the same, as a duck, she's... made of - wood" to be funnier. And the "intermission" just long enough for everyone to get out of their seats before the movie comes roaring back.

I haven't seen it in awhile, but I'm sure I'd find new humor that my 12, 15, 25, and 30 year old self missed completely.

The thing is ageless timeless comedy, an unrestrained work of genius. They held nothing back and in so doing created a true masterpiece.

Blogger eharmonica January 22, 2020 4:50 PM  

The Four Yorkshire men skit wasn't original to Python,btw. And also btw, I was at the Hollywood Bowl for one of these shows 😁

Blogger SciVo January 22, 2020 5:11 PM  

tublecane wrote:Not that part, however. Rather, the way they show him galloping over the horizon several times, almost on repeat. Then suddenly he's at the gate killing a guard.

Just a simple editing trick, but endlessly fascinating to me.

I think it was a commentary on suspense and horror movies, which often use the same technique of keeping the killer out of the camera's blinkered view until the last second. At least, it was after seeing them use the technique in Holy Grail that I started noticing it everywhere -- including even cases where the victim should've seen the killer coming, even if the audience couldn't.

Blogger Azimus January 22, 2020 5:17 PM  

Oh and the swamp castle guards - also dealt with people like that and found that hilarious in my 30's as well.

Guard - "Oh! If, if, uh... if, if, uh..."
Swamp Castle Lord - [sighs] "Yes, what is it?"
Guard - "Uh... oh!" [makes gesture that he forgot what he was going to say]


Blogger tublecane January 22, 2020 6:37 PM  

@36- Well, 12 year-olds can find it funny. I believe I said the only thing made for 10 year-olds...One can find entertaining that which wasn't made for you.

The primary audience for Holy Grail I don't believe can be preteens. North of 90% of it would go over their heads.

It gets off easy with a PG rating, considering the sex-insinuation, graphic violence, and drug references.

Blogger Akulkis January 22, 2020 6:58 PM  

Drug references?

Blogger Damelon Brinn January 22, 2020 6:59 PM  

This is sad news.

Jones also did a documentary series called Barbarians that tried to give Roman Empire-era history of the barbarians from their own point of view, as opposed to the Roman one. I don't know enough history to know how accurate they were, and he clearly had a bias, but that was kind of the point--the Romans wrote history with a bias too. Anyway, he made it interesting and fun.

Blogger Azimus January 22, 2020 7:35 PM  

@40 - Indeed. I think I first watched the scrubbed version on cable TV somewhere (I think A&E but its been more than 20 years). Of course when I was 12 I had more or less no clue what oral sex was, and found the Castle Anthrax rather boring.

I wonder who the target audience was for HG - if there even was one. Men, certainly.

Blogger Amethyst Dominica January 22, 2020 8:06 PM  

@35 My favorite thing about that scene was how Lancelot kills one of the guards and rushes into the castle, only to leave the other guard standing there, turning and saying "Hey," as if Lancelot had just stomped on his foot. The genius of that scene is that the guards are acting as though Lancelot had just popped out of nowhere, when both of them should have seen him coming from a mile away.

Blogger God Emperor Memes January 22, 2020 8:29 PM  

"when I was 12 I had more or less no clue what oral sex was"
I didn't go to a Catholic school either.

Blogger Scott January 22, 2020 8:38 PM  

Requiescat in peace.

Blogger bodenlose Schweinerei January 22, 2020 8:40 PM  

Hold the phone, I thought quoting Monty Python was a "gamma tell"?

Blogger Azimus January 22, 2020 9:07 PM  

47. bodenlose SchweinereiJanuary 22, 2020 8:40 PM
Hold the phone, I thought quoting Monty Python was a "gamma tell"?

I humbly suggest there may be a difference between quoting it in random conversation, and celebrating the passing of its creator.

Stop thinking in binary like a computer.

Blogger Akulkis January 22, 2020 9:18 PM  

@ bodenlose Schweinerei

Depends on the context.

If it's congruent with the atmosphere and discussion, it's not.

If it's incongruent, then yes, it's a gamma tell.

Blogger SemiSpook37 January 22, 2020 9:49 PM  


The whole point of that scene is to literally play off of the fact Lancelot is an Alpha. He goes over the top in his attack to rescue Prince Erbert, and then apologizes for doing so.

It's also amusing from the standpoint the intended marriage was used by the Swamp Castle's lord to be a straight up land grab.

Blogger lynnjynh9315 January 22, 2020 10:41 PM  

The number of people who don't realize this is sarcasm is astonishing. VD has made his disdain for Monty-quoters known on multiple occasions

Blogger God Emperor Memes January 23, 2020 12:30 AM  

Imagine having no appreciation of context.

Blogger God Emperor Memes January 23, 2020 12:30 AM  

HUGE....tracts of land.

Blogger Dave January 23, 2020 12:50 AM  

lynnjynh9315 wrote:The number of people who don't realize this is sarcasm is astonishing. VD has made his disdain for Monty-quoters known on multiple occasions

No, that's Mel Brooks. Here's Vox from a very meaningful and worthwhile Mailvox post some years ago:

"To me, easily the funniest movie ever made is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Other movies that I found to be funnier than Airplane! include Heathers, Weird Science, The Hangover, The Gods Must Be Crazy, The Big Lebowski, Old School, A Fish Called Wanda, Dodgeball, Grosse Pointe Blank, Notting Hill, the first two American Pie films, Stripes, The Pink Panther, and Being There."

Blogger Scuzzaman January 23, 2020 4:08 AM  

And now for something completely different, Mr Jones.

Blogger Bear Of Logos January 23, 2020 8:15 AM  

after he made Life Of Brian and said Christians worship death, I certainly hope he fries in the deepest pits of hell for all eternity.

Blogger SciVo January 23, 2020 9:19 PM  

@56 BOL, Life of Brian also said that Jews have big noses because their moms are whores and f***ed the Romans. So I think that the whole point of the movie was to try and be as offensive as possible to everyone, and if you're offended then that's just "mission accomplished."

Blogger Akulkis January 24, 2020 12:52 AM  

I'm a conservative independent Baptist, and I think the Life of Brian is one of the funniest things I've ever seen, and I seriously question anybody who claims it to be blasphemous from a Christian perspective; at various points in the movie, starting with the opening scene, Brian is clearly shown to be contemporaneous with the real Christ. The Life of Brian doesn't make Christians look bad at all. In contrast, it hits the Jews pretty hard.

Blogger Bear Of Logos January 24, 2020 9:58 AM  

@57 Sounds a lot like a certain religious text that said similar things about Jesus' mother. I don't see whats ideal as a Christian taking pleasure in others mocking our saviour.

Blogger Bear Of Logos January 24, 2020 10:10 AM  

@58 you must be of the Starbucks in the lobby while blasting rock music during "worship" variety then. The movies itself was a blatant mockery of the faith and especially the followers.

Christians are presented as gullible idiots whose faith is so arbitrary they might as well worship any schmuck and call him the messiah. There is also the mockery of the crucifixion making light of Jesus' sacrifice with the line "its not so bad once you're up".

Here are some quotes from the director himself if you still assume the movie was made with good intentions:

"Any religion that makes a form of torture into an icon that they worship seems to me a pretty sick sort of religion quite honestly"

"We always stated Brian wasn’t blasphemous, but heretical. It wasn’t about what Christ was saying, but about the people who followed Him – the ones who for the next 2,000 years would torture and kill each other because they couldn’t agree on what He was saying about peace and love."

Its also pretty telling how atheists celebrate this movie while ridiculing something like The Passion which uplifted the message of Jesus' sacrifice. Not sure how hard it hits the Jews considering they produced it.

Blogger Akulkis January 24, 2020 1:49 PM  

It's set in Jerusalem.

The followers of Brian are NOT the followers of Christ. Christ's first followers are in the opening scene, in which the Wise Men come to Brian's birth, and then realize they are at the wrong place and then leave to go find Jesus.

The followers of Brian are awed by both the mundane and the ridiculous, which is completely UNLIKE Christ's first followers, who were awed by genuine miracles.

As noted above, Christ is alluded to, in a sort of "in passing" sort of way, throughout the movie, as a contemporaneous and real person. In contrast, Brian's followers are depicted as people to silly and self-absorbed to recognize the difference between Brian (who has nothing important to say, does nothing important other than painting "Romans Go Home," and wants nothing to do with his followers) and the actual Christ in their midst, who fed large crowds, and carefully instructed his apostles.

Whereas Christ is slain not by crucifixion, but as an act of mercy by a guard posted to make sure nobody rescued him (and whose body was guarded afterwards, even after being entombed), in contrast, after being put on his cross, everyone leaves except Brian's followers, who come and visit him, but do nothing to help him. And then the suicide squadron comes....and commits suicide at his feet. That in no way parodies the New Testament, and clearly shows, for anyone who is still confused, that Brian is just a poor sot, whose followers, supporters, and even his closest friends are, even in the face of zero resistance, cowardly, (except for the suicide squadron) and ALL of them are ineffectual. This is a total contrast to the apostles.

A parody of Jesus would have depicted his followers as being very effective -- at doing stupid things, and very brave -- for ludicrous ideas. Since that's NOT what is done, Brian's followers are not a parody of Christ's followers.

As alluded to by the false prophet predicting
the end-times will be marked by men being "unable to find things put there by their father only the night before," the Pharisees (and their talmud) hardly had a lock on the religious thought of Jerusalem. For Jesus to have gathered such a large following, God first prepared Judea by making many people dissatisfied with the Pharisees and their endless arguments, legalisms, and "traditions of men" combined to produce conclusions which blatantly contradict a plain reading of the scriptures.

Additionally, I have found the Life of Brian to be a rather effective lesson about discerning between a religious leader whose word you should trust your soul to, and false prophets. The Theosophists would be a good, modern day example of such.

Regardless of what the intent was, the Life of Brian doesn't make fun of Christians, but it sure as hell makes fun of most Jerusalemites. 1: the overall failure of the Pharisees and their legalistic theology to compete with the attraction of someone as ridiculous as Brian, and also, those who were living in Jerusalem and FAILED to convert to following Christ, who performed actual, verifiable miracles in their midst.

Yes, I can see how, from a certain angle, Life of Brian could have been intended to make fun of Christianity.... bit *IF* that was the intent, it utterly fails at that goal.

Blogger Joseph Dooley January 24, 2020 9:17 PM  

I've never been so sickened, but at the same time driven to such laughter, as during the Mr. Creosote scene.

Blogger Bear Of Logos January 25, 2020 7:35 PM  

@61 that is some sad cope. I won't doubt your salvation, I just ask you not to celebrate that which insults our saviour.

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