This post was originally supposed to go on my other blog — Beer or Wine, but he really didn’t feel like writing about this topic, so instead, I’m posting it here.
What isn’t there to like about The Princess Bride? You’ve got your R.O.U.S.’s (Rodents of Unusual Size), the Pit of Despair, Cliffs of Insanity, Heroes, Villains, Giants, Wizards, a beautiful heroine, a handsome hero, a 6 fingered man, true love, vengeance, intrigue, chocolate covered miracles, death and kidnapping, ships, swords and of course, the Dread Pirate Roberts.
The Princess Bride is a perfect mix of Errol Flynn, SNL, Monty Python and Mel Brooks. The Princess Bride was Rob Reiners attempt at the ultimate satire, and an attempt in which he succeeded.
A couple of summers ago, I forced a friend to watch this movie with me, and have lived with the repercussions ever since then. He hated it! When we started this blog, writing this post was one of the first ideas we came up with. I originally thought I would make this a funny post, and I’ve thought a lot about this movie since then, and about what I would write about. But until tonight, I wasn’t quite able put my finger on why I love this movie so much. It really is one of my favorite movies, after all. I’ve loved it since the very first time I saw it. The reason is:
It made me laugh.
It’s literally as simple as that. It is such a ridiculous story. I mean, really — Rodents of Unusual Size??? Buttercup?? Chocolate Miracles??
But it isn’t the story that captivates me – it’s the implausible interaction between the characters. The entire scene with Vizzini and Westley, in which they have the ‘Battle Of Wits To The Death’ is absolutely hysterical. The first 20 times I saw this movie, I was in tears laughing so hard at this scene. It has always, at the very least, made me smile.
And then there is a sportsman-like giant, who happens to be a member of the Brute squad, who also loves to rhyme. Come on!! You have to admit that is just the funniest thing?!
Inigo Montoya: That Vizzini, he can *fuss*.
Fezzik: Fuss, fuss… I think he like to scream at *us*.
Inigo Montoya: Probably he means no *harm*.
Fezzik: He’s really very short on *charm*.
Inigo Montoya: You have a great gift for rhyme.
Fezzik: Yes, yes, some of the time.
Imagine this in your head — I’m at the theater with a bunch of friends from high school. A couple of us are laughing every couple of minutes, finding the movie very funny.. when all of a sudden this scene happens:
Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do.
Inigo Montoya: What’s that?
Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.
I snort laughed my soda through my nose, dropped the popcorn, and almost fell to the sticky theater floor under the seat because I just thought it so freaking funny.
Beyond what I wrote above, it is first and last, a satirically funny movie. One that breaks my funny bone every time I see it. Read the all the reviews, and you’ll see I’m not wrong. But there is more to it for me:
Movies bring something to people. It begins as just entertainment. But then you leave the theater, or shut off the DVD, and let the memory of the movie stew around in your head for a while. Your first reaction might be that the movie was “Okay”. But a week goes by, and all of a sudden you are laughing at something from the movie… or shuddering again, because of the memory of the fear you felt. And then, you realize that the movie wasn’t just “Okay”, but it was great. You liked it — you want to see it again.. and you really don’t know why. And, of course, the answer to that is emotion. The writers, directors, producers and actors of the movie wanted you to feel emotion — wanted you, me and everyone to connect to the images, sounds, words and feelings that the movie produced.
I realize now, that back in those days, when the movie was first in the theater in 1987, that I didn’t laugh a lot. Life, being what it was then, wasn’t full of laughter. This movie brought that into my life. I saw it 3 times at the theater, because I wanted that feeling again. I wanted to laugh, for no reason other than because I needed to laugh. It felt good, and right, and comfortable. This movie let me just laugh.
It may be “inconceivable” to some, but that is why this movie will always be one of my favorites. And one that will always be a part of who I am.
And.. WOOHOO.. Columbo is in it!! :P