Happy 70th Birthday Terry Gilliam! (a little early!)

Ok, I couldn't wait any longer!


Friends, if you have a youtube account, please leave him a birthday comment there too!!
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You could also leave a comment on my blog post. That would be lovely!
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Screaming Queen: I know I'm a bit late but I knew I had to check on here to see if there were any posts! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TERRY!!! Hey, this video is really really really great! I like it a lot, it's very him...you did a wonderful job there! :D It was just so out there, so that's also why it's so him. Very funny...nice photos! There were at least like two I haven't seen! Keep it up!

arkennedy: Happy Birthday Terry

mrsCutout: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TERRY!!!!!!!!!!!One of the best directors of our time indeed!
So I saw the discussion and it's lovely! I'd just like to say that even though that Gilly doesn't think so Baron Munchausen is one of the best films ever made! Well all of his films are but anyway haha! My fave is Brothers Grimm.I obsessed with the film and it's director and this lead me to watch Life of Brian and to Monty Python!

Here Comes Another One at 3:52 am November 24

That's awesome! I like people's 'how I got into Python' stories, so I think I might go off and start a thread now.

mrsCutout at 3:49 pm November 24

Hahah I saw the thread! :D

TheRealGilliamFan: Good idea Genji! And to keep the thread from bleeding into page 3 and 4 and so on, I’ll post my reply to your most excellent discussion starter at the top (because I hate thumbing through pages to find the newest reply Genji!! =) ;)

I could easily choose several films as my favorite, for totally different reasons. What many of his films have in common for me is that they look like paintings. And I think rather than list them off in a pecking order, I will start with one or two that the critics like to bash - for reasons which seem incomprehensible to me.

I’m really not an egghead so I will try not to be too egg-heady here. And I don’t think Gilliam fancies the egghead approach to dissecting his films, like, “it’s unequivocally about this or that.” Though I think Brazil has undeniable themes that everyone agrees on.

Baron Munchausen absolutely appeals to the child in me. And not just for its fantastical elements, but because it made me think. It made me think in a way that kids do. They ask questions. Gilliam’s execution of the King of the Moon scene is the epitome of surrealism. It is totally dream like. The kind of dream where you wake up and say whoa that freaky. And it sticks with you. And I remember the first time I saw it, my first thought was, “oh this is silly.” Then it started to make me a little uncomfortable. And then all these questions went through my head. Like, what would it be like to be a disembodied head (if one could actually be a disembodied head)? Would you have phantom sensations, and would you miss your body, and is that what it’s like to be dead?

I actually think there is somewhat of a preoccupation with death in (at least some of) Gilliam’s films.

And moving on to Tideland … also appeals to the kid in me. (More disembodied heads haha). It appeals to me because I was a loner as a kid and am still a loner as an adult. I actually felt, watching that film, like someone understands me. It made me laugh and made me cry. The last line of the film - about the fireflies – always makes me cry. And I thought propping Jeff Bridges up at the dinner table was hilarious. I found myself emotionally attached to Mustique, Glitter Gal, Baby Blonde and Sateen Lips. The critics are so focused on the junkie parents and the “dangerous” silly kissers and the “child abuse.” And I don’t know exactly how to express this, but I think people that didn’t like the film…. I think they might be people who don’t spend too much time alone with their own thoughts… and I think they’re taking it all too seriously. The film for me was about loneliness.

….I should probably expand upon these thoughts and make a blog post at some point.

And now…

A random list of things I love:

The Grand Central Station scene in Fisher King

Baron Munchausen and Venus dancing

The house filled with water in Tideland

The last scenes on the cliff with Tony, Mr. Nick and Parnassus – the visuals are kickass.

Fear and Loathing lounge lizards sequence

Sam Lowry’s lobotomy – disturbed the shit out of me

Harry Tuttle getting eaten by newspapers

One of the best scenes from Brothers Grimm is a deleted one! :(

genji at 1:29 pm November 22

What a fucking beautiful post. I can identify with so many elements of the way you describe it all. What a fitting tribute to a genius on his birthday. I could expand on my own reaction but I think that would just detract from what you've expressed. Well done, mate.

TheRealGilliamFan at 1:38 pm November 22

No! Expand, expand! This is a discussion :)

genji at 1:57 pm November 22

Ohhh... I suppose.

Well, first, I totally identify with being an outsider. I've always had friends around physically, but only ever temporarily made a connection on an 'other' level (emotional, spiritual, intellectual, whatever). So that perspective opens up Tideland for me in a way I didn't actually pick up on first time round. I didn't empathise with Jeliza Rose, even though I sympathised with her, partly because I've known girls like her and they're somehow more earthy and grounded in themselves. When a bloke is disconnected we don't earth ourselves in the same way and kind of float about, not knowing who to depend on - a bit like Dickens, I suppose.

Second, Munchenhausen and disembodiment - being cut off is not the end, it's just a snapshot.

Thirdly, death and the representation of death throughout Python and all the movies. I'm terrified of death, I admit, but when I watch his films I feel like it's not such a big deal.

Jack, go ye to the nearest liquor store, find ye the Jack of Daniels and get ye shitfaced - brilliant.

Anyway, mostly about Tideland and the focus on a dead dad, a playground romance with an older guy, the 'exploitation' - and if anything it's Jeliza Rose who does the exploiting, for totally justifiable reasons. IMO, anyway.

And then a big list of things that really prick one's memory.

One thing I would say is that, not being a particularly visually inspired person myself, although I buzz off Mr. Gilliam's visual expressions, I get so much more from his concepts. His ideas are beyond beyond.

TheRealGilliamFan at 12:48 pm November 23

I agree, it is totally a playground romance. And she is much older than Dickens, mentally and emotionally. I think people just refuse to separate the characters from the actors, because she is a little girl. Or they just want to paint her as a "victim" in that scenario - which really pisses me off.

I think if anyone is a victim in the story, it's Dickens. He's had a botched labotomy, for all intents and purposes. The surgery that he has had to cure his seizures -- people who have that procedure are supposed to have intense therapy afterward to restore their functionality. He's definitely the tragic figure in the story.

It's interesting, the word you chose -- "disconnected." Because she is totally disconnected or cut off from "normal" social interaction and so on, but she's totally connected to herself -- within herself. I think another thing that bothers people is that they interpret her as cold and not caring (moreso when Queen Gunhilda dies), but really she's processing both their deaths throughout the whole movie (her mother's death, through her relationship with Dell).

When I was 18 my grandfather died. A very close friend of the family (whose kids I babysat) attended the funeral. This was in the month of September. A month later, I was taking the 4-year-old who I babysat to a kid's birthday party. The leaves had changed and were falling. And while we were driving, he asked me "Is your grandpa gonna be alive again in the summertime." I'll never ever forget that.

I even cried a little for Dell when she lands on top of her mother and semi-crushes her. The whole thing is so grotesque (as in "the grotesque"), and yet fundamentally it serves the same purpose as keeping ashes in an urn -- not letting go. I love that Noah predicts (or forshadows) his own end with that bogman story.

And the film totally has the hamster factor all over it. That is why Gilly is such a genius, IMO. In so many interviews, he refers to himself as a collaborator (and he is) and says he just assembles really talented people (which he does, and is a talent in itself)... but it's how he puts it all together -- like a Bosch painting.

Colonel Daughter: thanks for everything, mr. gilliam

J.Gambolputty: Happy Birthday dear Terry! Hope you have a wonderful day.

TheRealGilliamFan: Ok it is officially the 22nd in the US. Happy Birthday for reals Gilly!!


Happy Birthday Mr. Gilliam. Wishing you a whole bunch more.

genji at 11:04 am November 22

Not sure if this will work out, but how about a series of Mr. Gilliam mini-discussions within the confines of the birthday wishes thread, to make the thread a bit more interesting? ("How could a thread with such an excellent headline video be any more interesting?" I hear you ask; well, maybe it won't be, but I though it might make it richer than a whole bunch of pictures.)

My birthday congratulation is above, and my chosen topic for discussion is an obvious one, to get things started. It's also a question I missed out on answering on thina's question game, and I've had a quick search and didn't find a proper thread for it.

Favourite Mr. Gilliam Films in order

1. 12 Monkeys - its concepts, visuals, pacing and performances are top-notch; it's dark without being oppressive but very funny, poignant and clever too.

2. Tideland - a seriously serious film about a tricky subject that is visually brilliant; a convincing and engrossing adaptation that shows how superior Mr. Gilliam is to Hollywood darlings like Peter Jackson (cf. The Lovely Bones).

3. The Fisher King - stylistically beautiful and grimy simultaneously, it is arguably his most human film and scores, where Awakenings shot wide of the post, by being confident and committed to its own awakening.

4. Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas - for me it's his most scary film because it's such a mind-boggling interpretation (you can't adapt this book).

5. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - a joy to watch, a visual feast, a director dancing; it left me a bit disappointed with its very clear, unambiguous ending but the circumstances of its production and the finished result are astonishing.

6. Brazil - I think this is the de facto Gilliamesque creation but I find it a bit slow in parts and somewhat disconnecting; for me it is only seminal, a step on his way to really coalescing with his audience.

7. Jabberwocky - a brilliant creation but falling partway between Python and Gilliam, IMO.

8. Time Bandits - an improvement on Jabberwocky in terms of storytelling, but still not quite there in terms of pace and confidence.

9. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen - to be fair I don't remember this very well, but that's because it didn't grip me when I watched it and I've never felt the urge to go back.

10. The Brothers Grimm - I watched this only once and it bored the socks off me. I can't believe it was made in the same year as Tideland, when his creativity seemed to be so alive.

So that's my contribution to Mr. Gilliam's 70th birthday celebration. I hope someone will give me their opinions by reply or post their own mini-discussions with their birthday wishes.

Thanks to TheRealGilliamNut for the thread.

the_thina at 11:44 am November 22

good idea. I havent seen tideland, and fisher king I havent seen in a long while, but from those I have seen I like fear and loathing + 12 monkeys the best.
brazil I didnt understand at all the first time I saw it, but Im worming up more and more to it every time I see it.
I do however really enjoy the brothers grimm. I am a big fan of those old fairy-tales, especially the really cruel ones, and I think he works small fragments in the story in a very clever way, and visually its stunning.
I do really enjoy bits of jabberwocky, I for example LOVE the king and the deaths (and of course mr gilliam himself running around with stones claiming them to be diamonds) but I do agree it becomes a little much python at times. but concidering it was his first solo-movie maybe that is not so strange

genji at 12:29 pm November 22

That's interesting. I want to get around to watching them all again, including Brothers Grimm, but some are higher on the list than others. It's good to know that BG is liked by some - so, along with arkennedy's favourite Munchausen I'll perhaps put it further up the list than I would have otherwise.

What I love about the whole list is that there's a discernible progression. He gets better and better, even if the subject (and, sometimes, the execution) doesn't appeal to everyone. I can't overstress the superiority of Tideland over The Lovely Bones. It was a film-maker who knows what he's doing compared to a hack who doesn't.

I rated Jabberwocky above Time Bandits because I like that it's closer to Python, IMO. Given this clingy beginning it's astonishing how quickly his films became Gilliam and shed Pythonism entirely.

I was a tad deflated by Mr. Palin's observation that the Knight in Fisher King was a rehash of the knight from Time Bandits. Visually he may be correct but it was a completely different context and the more shocking for that.

the_thina at 12:58 pm November 22

yes, I do really like brothers grimm. exept from the semi-happy ending... Im not a big fan of happy endings. but then gilly twisted it around so it wasnet 100% happy after all. :) but as I said, I enjoy how he takes smal details of the real brothers fairy-tailes and put them in the movie. and the dark and scary look of the movie makes me purr like a kitten (Im a big fan of well-made horror as well, so darkness in movies is something I really like)

and I absolutely agree with you, he is an odd-ball but an extremely talanted odd-ball and I would not have him making any other kinds of movies than the ones he makes. there are so many boring movies around where the whole crew dont seem to have one brain-cell between them, so we need someone like gilliam.

and as I said, it was very long since I last saw fisher king (and then I think I only saw it once or twice) so I dont remember a knight in it at all. I do remember someone singing some song I like in a resturant (but dont remember what song it was) and I remember tom waits as a homeless person/war veteran, but thats all I remember. :(

genji at 1:13 pm November 22

I like New York in June, how about you?

Hey, I know a great place with great ambience.

I really love this movie (watching it now).

genji at 1:17 pm November 22

Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams together. It doesn't often get better than this.

genji at 1:34 pm November 22

"I have job, Jack - I have a quest"

"I take it back. You're fucking deranged."

genji at 3:06 pm November 22

I like a Gershwin tune, how about you?

Genius. What a cracking movie. Happy Birthday, Terry G.

thewastelandr: Happy birthday, Terry G!!!!!!!

Here Comes Another One: Woohoo! Happy birthday to him! Fab vid too, TRGF!

the_thina: wow! that must have taken you ages to make. great stuff, and educational, even if I knew it all before.
and oh yes HAPPY BIRTHDAY GILLY-HUN! today Im gonna watch holy grail on his honor.

genji at 4:56 am November 22

I think we're going to watch The Fisher King - haven't watched that one in a while.

the_thina at 9:26 am November 22

oh, just hit me I have one of his direction-movies packed up, jabberwocky, so I can watch that. was planning to force my brother to see it, because I think he would like it, therefor its not packed down. so I can watch them both. yay!

TheRealGilliamFan at 1:05 am November 22

It did take quite a long time. I wanted it to have the look of his cut-out animation so I did it frame by frame in Photoshop instead of using Flash.

the_thina at 9:27 am November 22

yes, it does look more stop-motion than just computor-program-made. I did think of that. :) anyway, thina approves! :D