Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monty Python: Almost the Truth

I'm not normally a fan of documentaries as I feel that many times they are pushing a particular viewpoint or opinion, but every once in a while you get that special documentary that isn't full of itself and it's own agenda. 2003's Fog of War is a perfect example, where former  US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara sits down and talks for an hour and a half. That is the sort of experience you get with Monty Python: Almost the Truth, six hour long episodes tracing the forty years that Monty Python has been around in interviews with the surviving cast members.

This six episode documentary uses interviews with the surviving members and archival footage of interviews from Graham Chapman painting a more thorough portrait of the Python's creative process and some of the struggles that happened behind the scenes which are actually very interesting. And the way that the documentary is split up is also very well done where each episode is focused on one part of the history behind the group, e.g. episode 2 is the only episode about the BBC television show while episode 3 focuses on their first real feature Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

and now.
The best thing about this is probably the fact that most of the history between the participants is so old that any animosity that may have existed over this or that issue has turned into a cool, but polite appraisal of the issue. There are also segments where comedians (Steve Coogan, Russel Brand, and Stephen Merchant to name a few) who grew up on Monty Python comment on the influence that the show had on them which gives the subject of the Python's influence some real context. A thoroughly fascinating look at such an influential group of individuals.

Rating: A

P.S. My favorite sketch? The funniest joke in the world from the first episode of Flying Circus.

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