To start the countdown of my thirty favorite movies of all time let’s begin with arguably the easiest movie to love “The Princess Bride.”
This is one of those films that I simply cannot tell you when I saw. I feel like I was just born having seen it. But it’s stayed with me in my lexicon of favorite movies ever since.
The film begins with a young Fred Savage, who is home sick from school. His grandfather comes over to keep him company and read him a great story. First of all, who doesn’t love that? Getting to hang out with your wise and cool grandpa when you’re home sick from school. I can’t tell you a more relaxed and fun mind state for me than when I got to hang out with my grandpa. And then he’s telling me an awesome story too? Come on! Best day ever.
As the story unfolds you realize it has everything! Action, romance, excitement, great characters, epically quotable and swooning dialogue. Oh man I’m in!
It has a dashing Cary Elwes who is damn near as pretty as the gorgeous and fresh faced Robin Wright.
And the dialogue is so damn romantic and moving. Whenever I’m at a loss for something to say to my girlfriend all I have to do is drop an “As you wish” and all is right with the world.
And that’s just the tip of the classic line iceberg: “Inconceivable” and “My name is Enigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die!” So classic and so quotable!
I’ve always been a big Cary Elwes fan as well. I loved him in “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” (used to rent it every time I went to the video store) and he was hilarious in the video game “The Bard’s Tale” (back when I allowed myself to play video games). I don’t think he got a fair shake at the acting game. Poor bastard even had to play the doofus unfunny step dad to Jim Carrey’s awesome dad in “Liar, Liar”.
But I digress, this movie is freaking awesome! It makes me incredibly happy every time I watch it. I think the core message, dialogue, characters, and set pieces hold up in flying colors to this day.
Not being a massive wrestling fan growing up (it was just boring to me) this was basically the only exposure to Andre The Giant I had. And man did I love that guy. At school we used to tell stories about him. This was pre-internet so the origin and truth of these stories was unreliable at best. But we didn’t care. We’d hear a story about how he could bench press a car and then we’d add other elements when we told the next kid. That he out ate Yokozuna in an eating contest. That he could drink an entire keg. And best of all that his best friend was a dwarf!
So I loved seeing him in this movie and hearing his booming impossibly bassy voice. He was a super hero in my mind. Larger than life.
Then top it off with the great character of Westley (Cary Elwes) who could out swordfight Inigo Montoya with his weak hand? Get out of here! And defeat Fezzik’s (Andre the Giant) brute strength using only his cunning mind and quick feet? Come on now! This is one of the best characters ever to grace the cover of a VHS.
Quick tangent: how cool of a name is Westly? Answer: like the coolest name ever! First of all it starts with “West” and second it kind of sounds like Wesley but there’s that “T”. Come on! I’m naming my kid that just for the sheer audacity. Someone in his school will be like “Is there a Wesley here?” And my kid will be real cool so he’ll wait a few beats. “Uh if you mean Wes-T-ly, than yeah I’m here.” Then all the young chicks in his class will start swooning. Man that would be badass. And then any girls that saw the movie would immediately assume my son was a huge bad ass, if they didn’t know already.
Anyway, after we establish what an incredible bad ass Westly is they almost immediately take away all of his power. He’s this incredible character who can take on any challenge and then they just break him down so all that’s left is his mind. Dude can barely stand up.
When I was a kid this always pissed me off. I wanted to see him fight more dudes and kick more ass. It wasn’t until I reached the age of slightly elevated film criticism that I realized they did this to show how deep his well of talent and drive to rescue the princess went. This dude could not be stopped. They took away his body but that didn’t slow him down a bit! With the help of his new and awesome friends he storms the castle, defeats the king, and runs off into the sunset with his true love Princess Buttercup. Come on!
And then like all great stories it ends. We return to Fred Savage’s room and his grandpa closes the book. Fred is so enraptured with the story he asks him to read it again. I have never done this, and I don’t know why, but I feel like I could easily watch the movie again just like Fred Savage.
It’s that enjoyable of a film.
Now I could look up some trivia and other people’s analysis or it’s effect on our culture in general but I’m not gonna. I just want to talk about how this movie made and makes me feel. I have watched this movie with every girl I’ve so much as held hands with (probably). And the girls who liked it the most, I have seemingly had the best relationship with. My current girlfriend and likely life partner into infinity, who doesn’t really care for most of the movies on this list, fucking loved this movie!
Very rarely does she trust me enough to pick out a movie plus she hates any movie that could be considered “old” so for her to watch this with me and express her deep regards for the film just confirms how lucky I am to have enjoyed this movie so many times and to have her wondrous presence in my life.
All through my life I have loved this movie. I can’t wait to show it to my kids, grandkids, and anyone else who will hangout and watch movies with me.
I feel it’s one of those movies that nobody was sure would be good. I’m sure it looked great on paper but tons of bad movies have as well. This movie was a shot in the dark that connected thru the bullseye of the bullseye of the bullseye.
In conclusion, go watch this movie right now with someone you love! You’ll feel fully in the moment, connected and super stoked just like the kid making up amazing stories about Andre the Giant.
And if you want to watch me make up stories live come to my PUBLIC SCREENPLAY READING of “Mum Knows Best” at The Annoyance Theater 851 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL on Sunday Aug 9, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 7 PM.
It’s a Film Noir, Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure and it should be a rollicking good time! Plus free food and such.
As always, thanks for reading, and don’t forget to tell the important people in your life just how important they are to you.
Tune in tomorrow for number my number 29 best movie of all time!