Do They Know It’s Christmas? — Day Seven
Christmas Connection: The final vignette takes us to Heaven, where it’s Christmas every day. That’s a hell of a lot of Christmas cards.
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life is sort of the red-headed step-child of Python films. It didn’t inspire the geekish devotion Monty Python and the Holy Grail enjoys, and it didn’t step on toes the way Monty Python’s The Life of Brian so brilliantly managed to do. And as the last film featuring the full group, there’s a tendency to look on it the way fans look at the last Beatles albums, as the last gasp of a group at its end, and so somehow not as relevant as their earlier work.
And while the film does have some rough patches, and feels more like a thinly-connected series of sketches than even the loosely-plotted Holy Grail, it’s still great Python. It’s also sort of revealing, when you consider it’s the work of men just entering their forties and rife with questions on why we’re here and what awaits us when we’re gone. The zanies from the 60s have realized their lives are half over and have started to wonder what’s the point of it all.
So if that makes the tone a little darker, it certainly doesn’t make the film any less funny. You’ve got Terry Gilliam’s terrific “Crimson Permanent Insurance” to start things off, the killer “Every Sperm is Sacred” production number, Terry Jones’ stomach-turning Mr. Creosote, and the delightfully black sequence where Death interrupts a dinner party. And I always get a tug of nostalgia at the end when the credits from Monty Python’s Flying Circus play on the TV at the end, as if the group itself is bidding farewell to this screwed-up world to drift off forever into the cosmos of our memories.
Do They Know It’s Christmas?: In Heaven they sure do. Not only is it Christmas all the time, not only do you get topless Vegas showgirls in Santa outfits, but you get The Sound of Music twice an hour and Jaws 1, 2, and 3. Which is like getting an iPad, a pair of socks, and a lump of coal shoved down your throat. And who hasn’t had one of those Christmases?