Monday, November 30, 2009

The Quest for the Holy Grail

When I was first introduced to it, and for several years afterwards, I loved Monty Python and the Holy Grail. My friends and I watched it over and over, I caught every midnight showing at the Kentucky Theater in downtown Lexington and, much as I hate to admit it, I occasionally quoted the movie. Then I started working at a comic shop, and later for Hex Games, and after a few years I thought Monty Python and the Holy Grail was ruined for me forever.

If you’re not familiar with geeks, and especially gamers, you probably don’t realize that they really like quoting Monty Python (especially The Holy Grail). All the time. For no good reason. Loudly. Usually incorrectly. The logic that causes this behavior, as far as I can tell, is something like this: “I have no personality or social skills. Perhaps I can hide this fact by being funny. Monty Python is funny. Therefore, if I randomly quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail, people will think I’m funny and not a socially retarded misfit.” Needless to say, this theory is very, very flawed. After dealing with gamers for well over a decade, most lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail are like nails on a chalkboard to me.

For a while now, I’ve been wondering if I could ever enjoy Monty Python and the Holy Grail again. About a year ago, when the local Circuit City shut down, I found a copy of the super-deluxe edition of the movie being sold for some ridiculously low going-out-of-business price. Even though I wasn’t sure if I could ever watch the movie again, I decided to buy it, just in case. So far, I haven’t taken the DVD out of the box. Every time I pick it up, I hear a choir of hundreds of geeky voices yelling “She turned me into a newt!” in bad British accents and end up watching Tank Girl or something instead.

When I saw that my local indie theater, Maiden Alley Cinema, was going to be showing Holy Grail, I decided that this might be my chance to find out once and for all whether I could still watch the movie without flying into a blind rage of gamer hate. Unlike the DVD copy at home, this showing of the movie was on someone else’s schedule, so I couldn’t put it off until later. Also, I’d be paying for it and probably buying popcorn, which I thought would decrease the likelihood I’d skip out early (or at least until the popcorn was finished).

When I got to the theater, I was a bit confused by the demographics of the audience. While there were a few people there who might have been geeks, nobody was immediately identifiable as such. In fact, the audience was mostly old people, which is typical of the Sunday afternoon movie at this particular theater for some reason. I wasn’t sure how to feel about the lack of geeks at the movie. On one hand, the movie would be much easier to enjoy without them shouting out lines. On the other hand, if the movie did send me into some kind of gamer hate rage, there could be broken hips.

As it turned out, there was nothing to worry about. While a couple of lines did cause some mild wincing on my part, overall I really enjoyed the movie. No matter how many times geeks have offensively butchered the lines, they’re still incredibly funny when spoken in context by the guys who came up with them in the first place.

My standing QAGS rule that anyone who quotes Monty Python out of context loses Yum Yums still applies, however.
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