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TERRY JONES' PERSONAL BEST

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars: John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio: A&E
Features: See Review
Length: 55 Minutes
Release Date: February 28, 2006

"Oh, he's such a clever little boy!"

Film ***

Some have said John Cleese was the mind of Monty Python, while Terry Jones was the heart. Now I've repeated it. And I don't even know what the heck it's supposed to mean, but it sure sounds nice.

Terry Jones has contributed a collection of his Personal Best in this series of DVDs from A&E highlighting each member of Britain's legendary bad boys of comedy, and hosts his own selections of the best of the groundbreaking Monty Python's Flying Circus.

A lot of good material is here, beginning with the story of the funniest joke ever written (which made anyone who heard it die from laughter), and how it became a powerful weapon in the Second World War.

It goes on to show famous characters from British literature building houses, and an even stranger contractor, Mystico with his lovely assistant Janet, who uses hypnosis to erect flats!

My favorite was "The Bishop", which turned a servant of God into a 70s styled crimefighter, complete with his cries of "We was too late!". "RAF Banter" shows what happens when pilots' lingo goes a little too far. I also loved the playwright's son who became a coal miner, and the exploding best friend, who has one of the funniest names ever concocted. Unfortunately, I can't reprint it here.

Some of the sketches we've seen many times before, including "The Fish Slapping Dance", "The Spanish Inquisition" and "The Lumberjack" song. Those fish slappers may end up on every edition of the Personal Best discs before it's all over. Other bits just didn't quite work as well, such as "The Ratcatcher", "Killer Sheep" and "News for Parrots". The Olympic hide and seek event goes on a bit too long. But the secret identity of one Mr. R. F. Superman is still a hoot!

Terry Jones' selections aren't quite as consistent as the ones from John Cleese and Eric Idle, but still a lot more hit than miss. He's even present to host his disc, offering his personal recollections as to why he was the TRUE genius behind Monty Python (tongue in cheek, fans...no worries).

Without Terry, there could have been no Python...well, unless you consider there would have still been another guy named Terry in the group. But it's the OTHER Terry highlighted here, and he's thrown out his own take on the comedy team's best material, as well as a challenge for the other Python members to...shall I say it?...keep up with Jones.

Video ***

A&E continues to offer solid transfers for these classic programs. They show their age a bit here and there, but overall, they're still quite clean, with decent colors and detail, and more than enough to please Python fans.

Audio **

Same with the audio...the spoken words are well-rendered, and that's about all you can ask for from a show like this. Good enough.

Features **

The extras include a 15 question trivia quiz (got 13 again), a bio for Terry Jones, and a few of his "second personal best" segments, which includes the classic "Hell's Grannies", as well as the man who attempts to jump the English channel.

Summary:

Though it's not quite the home run of the offerings by John Cleese and Eric Idle, Terry Jones' Personal Best is still enough of a hit to keep Python fans smiling.

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