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What Does Monty Python Have to Do With Well-Being?

movie poster of Monty Python and the Holy Grail 48th & 1/2 Anniversary

On Sunday afternoon, Mark and I went to see Monty Python and the Holy Grail at our favorite local movie theater, Living Room Theaters. I know, I know-- how is this movie back in the theaters? Apparently, it's the 48th & 1/2 Anniversary of its release, and as Mark mused, maybe the Pythons need some scratch?

We've had the pleasure of seeing this movie in a theater before. Several years ago, pre-pandemic, IU Auditorium (another of my favorite theaters) hosted John Cleese for a screening of Holy Grail, followed by a conversation between (then) IU President Michael McRobbie and John Cleese. One of the coolest parts was John explaining (and then showing us!) an edit he'd made to the end of the movie. It didn't change the ending, but was more of a reordering and a shortening of some of the scenes. It was fascinating to hear him discuss both Holy Grail and other Monty Python work, and it was super cool to be there with Mark and Pat, who was a teenager at the time.

I was first introduced to Monty Python in high school, by some of the band upperclassmen who knew different music, books, and movies than I did. Remember-- this was in the early- to mid-1990s, so we had cassette tapes, AM/FM radio, hard copy books, the library, PBS, one ESPN, VHS, and movie theaters. A few of my friends worked at a local movie theater, so it wasn't too unusual on a Saturday night for somebody to show up with a huge bag of popcorn that got cleaned out of the popper at the end of the shift and a VHS tape of something to watch. (This is also how I was first introduced to Rocky Horror Picture Show and A Fish Called Wanda, as well as Rush, The Smiths, and W. Somerset Maugham.)

So for me, Holy Grail is inextricably tied with sharing the zaniness with others. In fact, the email I received yesterday from Living Room Theaters even framed out their marketing to include this social aspect:

With an all new quote-a-long created just for this anniversary, you'll have an interactive and uproarious cinematic experience the way only the Monty Python crew can provide. Get ready to journey into a world of Medieval madness, coconut-clacking horses, and unforgettable one-liners that will have you shouting "Bring out your dead!" -- and loving every minute of it.

And let me tell you, on Sunday afternoon, I was in a theater with about 25 other people, only one of which was previously known to me, and we were quite enjoying saying aloud many of the one-liners and giggling like it was the first time we've heard two people pondering the velocity of an unladen sparrow or the public policy debate about whether a watery tart throwing someone a sword is a legitimate basis for government. One woman was wearing a t-shirt with knights on it with speech bubbles that said, "Ni!" and another guy stopped on his way out, looked me straight in the eyes, and said, very solemnly, "I've seen that movie dozens. of. times., but I've never seen it in a theater!", laughed uproariously, and then walked out of the theater.

The thing is, we need each other. We humans are social beings. And it's now just occurred to me that Monty Python is also a troupe of funny people (writers who perform, not comics who write, I believe John Cleese told us during his talk). Taking time to be together is time well-spent, and if you need a "legitimate reason" to do so, Social is one of the Seven Dimensions of Well-Being. So, as you navigate the always-tricky balancing act of how you're spending your time, I invite you to consider that spending time with others isn't a nice-to-have, but rather, a must-have.

Over the next several months, we're going to be offering workshops and coaching on the Seven Dimensions of Well-Being to support us all in operationalizing this framework so we can thrive together. The first offering is on January 31, and if you happen to be a lawyer or judicial officer, we've gotten it approved for 1 hour of ethics CLE in Indiana. Also, well-being isn't just for those of us in the legal profession, and these Seven Dimensions support everybody's well-being so EVERYONE is welcome to join us!

PSA: As I understand it, tomorrow, December 6, is the final day Holy Grail is widely-available in theaters for now. To find a theater near you, click here.

I'd love to hear-- what's one of your favorite movies or television or music or books to share with others? Please leave a comment below!

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