YouTube and the Holy Grail

It was one of those strange junctures in life.

I walked by my daughter, who was sitting at her computer, to see what she was doing.  Her iMac sits in a corner of the family room, so is pretty visible but I make regular close passes to see what is going on.  The old eyes are not what they once were.

It turned out that she was on YouTube watching the Ministry of Silly Walks sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

I told my daughter, “You know, I have that on DVD.”

It is true.  I have the complete set of the TV series on DVD.  It is something of a requirement for a nerd my age.

She then asked, “Do you have the ‘Bridge of Death’ bit?”

It was like a grail shaped beacon had been lit.

But of course I do!

I briefly explained that it was from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail and that it was in the cabinet with most of the rest of the DVDs that aren’t quite suitable for children, like The Wild Bunch and The Manchurian Candidate.

So she wanted to see it.  Actually, she just wanted to see the bridge of death scene, but there was no way I was going to pass up an opportunity to show her yet another of the movies on my list of films I fully intend to force her to watch at some point.  I’ve already had her sit through Bye Bye Birdie, Airplane!, Top Secret, Romeo and Juliet, and The Matrix. (Though only the original.  I’m sure we can all agree that she can discover the other two movies on her own later, when she is ready for that level of disappointment.)

So I was prepared to get the movie out, recalling that I got my grandmother to bring me to see it back when it was in the theater when I was my daughter’s age, and it… barely screwed me up at all.

But then I stopped, thinking that perhaps I had best clear this with the wife.  But she was calling us out to the TV already.  She was watching The Graham Norton Show on BBC America, no doubt to see Janet Jackson who was the main guest, but then one of the other guests turned out to be Eric Idle.

It was a sign!

My wife gave us the green light, then withdrew to the other room, not really being a fan herself.

And we watched the movie, and it was good.

I did pass over the tale of Sir Galahad.  Thank for the format creator for the ability to easily skip chapters.  I wasn’t quite ready to explain what was going on with Zoot and her identical twin sister.

But the rest of the movie went pretty well.

It was a bit annoying that she had seen bits of the film on YouTube, specifically the bridge of death, the Black Knight, and the rabbit, though that wasn’t enough to spoil the whole thing.

I am not sure that absurdest humor is quite within the grasp of a 9 year old.  In my memory, I have always found the movie funny on the levels I see it now, but I am no doubt wrong.

So she wasn’t sure why saying, “Ni” to somebody would hurt them and the holy hand grenade was “just a grenade dad.”  And the ending was sort of a, “Wait, what?”

On the other hand, she liked Sir Robin’s minstrels and the French, got the giant wooden rabbit reference (are they totally ripping off the Greeks?), enjoyed the coconuts being used for horse sounds, and at the end when Sir Bedevere, after the bridge of death, asks King Arthur how he knows so much about swallows, she was quick to point out that he learned all that in the first scene when he gets in the argument about the coconuts.

And she did come away happy, as though she enjoyed it, unlike that time with Bye Bye Birdie. (Though in my defense, she still sings a couple of the songs from it to this day!)  And she has been exposed to yet another reference point in nerd culture. (A point proven by Epic Ben just today.)

Which culturally significant film should be next on the list?

12 thoughts on “YouTube and the Holy Grail

  1. Pid

    Even better than that would be Wargames with a pre-Ferris Bueller Matthew Broderick lol. My original suggestion was going to be something from Mel Brooks. My favorite being Spaceballs with Young Frankenstein being a very close second.


  2. Stabs

    Oh I wouldn’t show her Wargames, she might join Lulzsec.

    I do admire your parental cunning.

    “it was in the cabinet with most of the rest of the DVDs that aren’t quite suitable for children,”


    “show her yet another of the movies on my list of films I fully intend to force her to watch at some point”

    Fiendish sir, fiendish! You could put a documentary on snails in that cabinet and she’d immediately yearn to watch it.


  3. epic.ben

    Love it! Life of Brian is my favorite Python movie … I know it’s not the best, and it’s incredibly sacrilegious, but it always makes me laugh.

    Other nerd movies: Tron, Blade Runner, Weird Science, anything with Mel Brooks in it.

    Just off the top of my head. I know none of those are classy, but … I’m a sucker for shtick (except for Blade Runner, that really is a classic).


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Evrett – I had to find a version that would keep her interested. They stayed true to the words and it worked as a starting point. She is pretty good at identifying yet another retelling of the basic Romeo and Juliet tale.

    Now I need to find a good movie version of Julius Caesar.

    @Epic.Ben – Life of Brian is excellent. The “Romans Go Home” scene is one of my favorite. But I’m not sure we’re ready for that one yet.

    We’ve seen TRON, both the old one and the new one. Blade Runner… that is a movie I used to love… it is in the cabinet… but either I or it hasn’t aged well. I don’t feel the same affection for it that I once did. Still, we have it.


  5. Mbp

    I am impressed that you managed too pull this off. I live in a house full of women (wife and daughters) and I have become resigned to the fact that will probably never appreciate most of the films, books,games, monuments, music etc. that I find culturally significant. In fact the whole concept of culturally significant seems alien to them.


  6. Toldain

    I think of The Princess Bride as sacred canon, though it’s appeal may be to widespread to be truly a geek movie.

    @Mbp – Well, don’t blame their lack of clue on the X chromosome. I know lots of women who love their Python. I married one.


  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Toldain – The Princess Bride was on the list and shown a long time ago. It is on the shelf in the living room with the Pixar movies, rather than in the case with the more mature themed movies.

    @Mbp – The wife and I cover different bases. For example, in music I just push movie themes, show tunes, Elvis, Wierd Al, and a few classical standards that I think she ought to be able to at least identify. My wife is more on subjects like the history of Motown and bands of the 80s, though she is dead set against The Beatles. Fortunately, The Beatles version of Rock Band solved that problem.

    Oh, and the wife does manners and other things you might need in life, like cooking and how to set the table. Things I often fail at as, when left to myself, I tend to revert to the “bears with furniture” mode of living that I practiced from… well… most of my single adult life. “You never need to wash the dishes if you never use dishes” is not a philosophy I think I need to pass on.

    And to be fair to the wife on the movie front, she did insist on us owning the box set of the Planet of the Apes movies. You have to give her that.


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