A Bad Place Full Of Bad Jerks
A Bad Place Full Of Bad Jerks
Illustration for article titled Your (Weekly) Summer Movie Guide to Movies You Should Watch Again: The Fisher King

Cast: Jeff Bridges (Jack Lucas), Robin Williams (Parry), Mercedes Ruehl (Anne), Amanda Plummer (Lydia)

Director: Terry Gilliam (Monty Python, Time Bandits, Brazil, Twelve Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)


Plot: Without giving anything away, the film is about a New York City shock-jock radio DJ, played by Jeff Bridges. He's on top of the world, then something he says sets some nutjob off, and the end result is that he loses his job. Eventually he meets Robin Williams's Parry, a man suffering from various mental traumas, and the two form an unlikely friendship. The film uses Arthuriana and medieval legend, in modern times, to help drive the story.

Why you should watch it: The title harkens the myth of The Fisher King (Celtic mythology has the old translation as The Wounded King). Legend has it that the Fisher King was gravely wounded, and in order to be restored, the Quest Knights must return to him with the Holy Grail, so that the Fisher King may drink from it and be reborn and live. For all you non-Catholic heathens, the Holy Grail was the cup that Christ drank from at the Last Supper, and it also caught his blood as he hung from the cross at Calvary. Joseph of Arimathea was the first to keep the cup, but it changed hands over time and was lost. This necessitated the quest for it. Boom - history and religion lesson all in one. This begs the question: who is the wounded king? Is it Jack Lucas? Is it Parry? Who needs to be reborn in order to live? Terry Gilliam is another one of those directors (see: John Carpenter) who you either love or hate. Regardless of your preference, there's no denying the man's imagination and visual acumen. One saving grace in the film is that Robin Williams isn't in his full-on Robin Williams mode. Sure, he has to be somewhat manic in order to play Parry, but overall he's focused more on the role and not on being Robin Williams. That right there is worth the price of admission. If you like Gilliam, if you like great storytelling and visuals, and if you have even a passing interest in Arthurian mythology, then give this film a viewing this weekend.

Availability: DVD, Blu Ray, Streaming, free on Youtube

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