#SatMat Live Tweet double feature for Sat. & Sun., Mar. 26 & 27: PEE-WEE’S BIG HOLIDAY (2016) and MONTY PYTHON’S LIFE OF BRIAN (1979)

This weekend for my #SatMat Live Tweet, I’m doing two movies that don’t get me salivating with anticipation, but I feel I must cave to the zeitgeist.



First off, at my usual Saturday time slot of 4:30 p.m. EDT, I am hosting Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday. I gave Pee-Wee’s feature filmography a chance 30 years ago, when a friend insisted upon showing Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure to me. At first, I thought I might actually be on to something, as I chortled mightily at the movie’s first 10 minutes. But after that, it got way too disjointed for my taste.

From all accounts, this three-decades-too-late follow-up follows a similar pattern, so I was prepared to ignore it entirely, but it has gotten surprisingly rave reviews. The icing on the cake was a glowing critique from my blogger-friend Salome at BNoirDetour.

So this Saturday, I am throwing the movie out there for whomever wants to bite. If I end up really and truly liking it, I will eat crow and write an appropriately nice review of it the day after at this blog. If you don’t hear from me on Sunday, you have only Salome to blame.

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Speaking of Salome, she is generously giving up most of her usual Sunday-night Live Tweet time slot so that I can present Monty Python’s Life of Brian at 9 p.m. EDT.

I must confess that, as much as I have revered the British comedy team of Monty Python for the past four decades, this is not my favorite film of theirs. In its native home of Britain, it’s one of the most acclaimed comedies of all time. But, like Pee-Wee’s initial feature film, I find it a bit disjointed, full of plot points that spring up and wither like so much crabgrass. (Click here to read my complete review of the movie at this blog.)

But there’s nothing Monty Python ever did as a team effort that’s completely without merit, and this movie certainly has its share of hearty laughs. And heaven knows, I can’t resist the irreverence of playing it online at the far end of Easter Sunday.

So I hope you’ll join the #SatMat group for one or both of these wacko comedies at Twitter.com this weekend. And happy Easter!





AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT (1972) – Not *completely* different but still funny

(As a lead-up to Monty Python’s final concert performance on July 20, each day prior to that, I will post a review of a Monty Python movie. First up, their film debut.)


Most likely, if Britain’s Monty Python comedy troupe hadn’t hit it big in America in the mid-70’s, And Now for Something Completely Different wouldn’t even be considered in the annals of movie comedy.

When “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” became a British hit in the early ’70s, British Playboy entrepreneur Victor Lowndes convinced the Pythons to commit some of their best sketches to film in an attempt to win over an American following. The movie was done on the cheap (much of it was filmed at a dairy farm), and it initially laid a huge egg in America (as did a notorious Python appearance on “The Tonight Show” at that time). The movie was revived for American audiences only when Monty Python and the Holy Grail became a surprise hit.
Python’s John Cleese was the most vocal about a plotless sketch movie wearing out its welcome halfway through. That said, you couldn’t ask for a better introduction to Python comedy. Most of “Flying Circus'” best sketches from the first season are here, from “Nudge Nudge” to “Dead Parrot” to the famous “Lumberjack Song.” And Carol Cleveland, the only woman allowed in Python territory (most of their female roles were played by Python’s males), is in full, bosomy blossom here. (Sketch-wise, the movie also paved the way for cult hits such as Kentucky Fried Movie, the first film effort of the Airplane! creators.)

For die-hard Python buffs, the only complaint is that the material is often too benign. One almost wishes for some of their “meatier” sketches from their later seasons, when Python hit its stride, were represented here. (As to Cleese’s complaint about sketch comedy wearing out its welcome, a perfect closing for the movie would have been “The Cycling Tour,” a “Circus” sketch that filled an entire half-hour and was one of their funniest outings.)

But this is nit-picking. If you’re in the mood for a worldview gone askew, you can’t get much more different than And Now for Something Completely Different.