Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 127: The Princess Bride

Ranking on IMDb Top 250: #184
Year: 1987
Director: Rob Reiner
Starring: Cary Elwes and Robin Wright

I'm gonna take a lot of crap for this one (just kidding, no one reads my blog), but I don't love The Princess Bride. I guess I get why people love it so much, but to me, it doesn't rise above the level of any other fairytale movie, and I'd much rather watch Labyrinth for the umpteenth time than watch The Princess Bride again, and that's not even to mention the dozens of superior Disney movies that adhere to the same formula. There's still a lot of charming things about this film, many of which stem from its excellent supporting cast (headlined by the greatest bit part actor of all time, Wallace Shawn, the late, great Andre the Giant, and the immortal-line-spewing Mandy Patinkin). Still, something keeps this movie strictly in the cult phenomenon zone for me and well shy of the "great film" range.

The plot is pretty standard, though it has its twists. A beautiful girl falls in love with a poor man but is betrothed to a rich prince. She gets kidnapped before the wedding can happen, and the kidnappers are pursued by both of the beautiful girl's suitors. Her true love (the poor man) catches up with her and they eventually ride off into the sunset together after the man weasels his way out of a duel with the prince. This is all framed by a grandfather (who may or may not be the poor lovestruck man himself) reading a story to his sick grandson. There's lots of other, more interesting things happening in what I would call the "B-plot" if this were a TV recap, but you don't need those here. If you're going to watch the movie, though, those are the bits you'll want to watch it for. The three aforementioned supporting actors, along with Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest, are all hilarious and better than the two leads (Robin Wright and Cary Elwes).

I'm not here to hate on The Princess Bride, though. Seriously. If I was eight years old in 1987, I would probably have a poster of it on my wall right now. But I didn't necessarily see it first at the right age or in the right environment to care very deeply about it, so it's easy to look for comparable movies that do what it does in a more interesting way. At worst, it gives me a chance to see Wallace Shawn – an actor whom I'm pretty sure I like more than anyone else on Earth does – in a relatively big role. Top 250, though? Inconceivable.

The Good: The scene wherein Wallace Shawn's character overthinks which cup the poison is in...

The Bad: ...leading to his death. This movie needed more Wallace Shawn.

The Skinny: Nah, it's not Top 250 good, at least not in my opinion.

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