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Do you like Monty Python?|
Have you ever seen the movies "Brazil", "Time Bandits", or "Twelve Monkeys"?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you've experienced Terry Gilliam. The movies and television shows to his credit are enormous. He's made a life's career both in front of the camera and behind it with hardly a notice from the public, but he is well known in the business. I have to admit that while I semi-enjoyed Monty Python for it's farce, I never rated it above funny haha.
Maybe it was too British. I never considered it brilliant comedy, but more top wit that paralleled Saturday Night Live. Sometimes the skits were hilarious, sometimes they were groaners, but most times they were an exercise to fill space and I was grateful when they ended. It was the few gems that kept me coming back. While I had become superficially familiar with John Cleese, I never had known the names of the other people responsible for the show and movies. Neither was I aware they were involved in some of my favorite movies.
"12 Monkeys" was the first - and possibly only - movie I have ever viewed that upon ending I immediately rewound and watched again. It so captivated me, I had to see it once more. It was a visual and intellectual feast for me. It grabbed me, took me for a ride, and dropped me back in my seat like the funnest roller coaster ever built. You want to experience it all over. I just found the film remarkable. And yet, despite gaining a greater appreciation for Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis, it never sank in that Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame had made it.
The same with "Brazil". "Brazil" should be required viewing for everyone on the planet. It really should be. Maybe it won't play well outside of Western, and particularly American, culture. But it will give you a great insight because many limits have been removed. It is subdural thought. It is the exposed conciousness. It is what it is, and it will make you think, or it will drive you away at a velocity approaching infinity. That seems to be Terry's great gift: There is no middle ground with his work. You will get no splinters riding the fence with him.
So it is with the movie I watched last night that haunts me this morning: "Tideland". It has to be one of the most bald and fantastic worlds I have visited in a long time. This is a story mostly told through the eyes of a 10 year old girl as she denies the death of her parents - her junkie parents - her twisted and demented, borderline abusive parents who had no business raising a child in the first place. The film takes you back and forth looking at the scenes through her eyes, through her fantacies, through her interpretation of the facts, and then through the objective - or not so objective - eyes of another who sees it quite differently.
If you appreciated Python, if you liked "12 Monkeys", or if you are interested in a movie that will push your limits on moral clarity, then I recommend "Tideland" to you. Be warned this roller coaster is missing some track, and the cars do feel like they will fall to the ground.
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