I read the Iliad when I was in middle school. It’s no wonder that I was not a popular child, boring the other kids with descriptions of who’s son shot a spear through who’s left nipple during lunch. I got some payback Friday night as I was bored mercilessly by Troy, playing in glorious man-butt-vision at the local drive-in. There’s a lot of Brad Pitt in this movie (boy is there a lot of Brad Pitt) but not a lot of plot. Who would have thought that an epic ten-year battle involving the machinations of the gods, the most beautiful woman in the world, a thousand ships and prophecies of doom could have been reduced to three hours of Brad Pitt flashing his thighs? Playing Odysseus, Sean Bean unfortunately remained fully clothed.
There’s another sword and sand movie out in theaters that might go unnoticed; Life of Brian is enjoying a welcome re-release. The Python gang’s third movie was never so funny as it was on the big screen… the crowd at the Neptune, made up mostly of UW students, roared with laughter in all the right places. What’s better? Michael Palin’s lisping Pilate? Terry Gilliam’s snarling jailer? Terry Jones’ old man in the desert? John Cleese as… well, everything he does is terrific. Graham Chapman was vulnerable and sympathetic, but I look forward to Eric Idle’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” And yet, surprisingly, Life of Brian actually has more full-frontal male nudity than Troy.