When I was about twelve or thirteen, my dad came back from the local Video Express* with a movie he said we would enjoy. My sisters and I rushed forward and snatched the case from his hand, expecting the latest Disney or Three Ninjas movie. Instead there was a faded-looking and somewhat ugly image of a cartoonish hand brandishing a yellow cup filled with these weird looking old guys and something about a Python.
Utterly disappointed, we looked to our dad for an explanation.
“Trust me, you’ll like this.”
With typical childishness, we whined and moaned about stupid old movies and how bad it was going to be. And with a typical parent’s patience, he declared it movie night and forced us all to sit and watch it. I settled in, determined to do what he’d ordered, hate it and then try erase the wasted hour and a half from my memory.
It opened with a dull, misty landscape and the sound of horses approaching at a steady canter. I rolled my eyes and sighed at the crappy old special effects and wished my dad had picked a newer movie or just let me go play in my room. The men’s heads appeared at the top of the hill, bouncing slightly. And then the men came fully into view.
I discovered a favorite movie that day, and learned a life-long lesson: never discount something just because it’s “old” and to always give a recommendation a chance. I feel fortunate that my dad made me sit and watch with him. If he’d given in to my complaints, I might have missed out the comedic gem that is Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
My own kids have seen the film and like it almost as much as I do. We quote it, make jokes and even act out scenes when we’re out hiking and come across a “bridge of death” along the trail. And every time I’m faced with something new I really don’t want to try, I remember my initial reaction to this movie and decide to go for it. Who knows what other gem I might discover?
Holy Grail celebrated its 4oth anniversary this year, and though I won’t be able to make the one-night theatrical release this October in the UK, there is going to be special edition blu-ray gift set released on October 27. Here’s a promo video Michael Palin made in honor of the release.
If I have the extra funds, I’ll probably get it.
*For you youngsters, this refers to an ancient form of temporary video acquisition that involved driving to the store where, for a nominal fee between $1-$3, we selected these things called “VHS tapes” that we played in machines called “VCRs” that had to be returned after a couple days. These stores were operated by actual human beings and often sold snacks as well. 😉