Pop Culture Blind Spot: The Princess Bride

I know someone out there is thinking it – where was my childhood? – but here’s the thing. Somehow, between 1986 and 2004, I aged from 0 to 18 and never saw The Princess Bride. I even did high school theater, where it was decided – by secret ballot, I assume –  that everyone on stage crew would love The Princess Bride. I knew the Inigo Montoya line and all, but believe it or not nobody ever produced the DVD during theater sleepovers (probably because if theater kids’ love for The Princess Bride was eclipsed by one thing in the early 2000s, it was Moulin Rouge). Like almost all of our pop culture blind spots, this wasn’t intentional, but it happened and I’m rectifying it today.

  • This is still how I default to imagining video games looking. I’m not saying that as someone who hates video games, I’m saying that as someone who has an OG NES in her living room.
    This image links to a site directing Fred's bedroom so there goes my afternoon.

    This image links to a site directing Fred’s bedroom so there goes my afternoon.

     

  • I know I had seen Fred Savage’s awesome 80s bedroom set before, yet I still thought this took place entirely in … vaguely in the Middle Ages.

 

  • “When I was your age, television was called books.” – Fred Savage’s grandpa. I already love this.
  • I feel more uncomfortable during the eye sex between Wesley and Buttercup than I do during actual sex scenes, in the ‘I’m not meant to be watching this’ way.
    Some of the more effective eye-acting I've seen.

    Some of the more effective eye-acting I’ve seen.

     

  • Eye Sex Wesley died already? Even though he looks like a gentle English singer-songwriter?
    Cary Elwes, whom I now have a belated crush on. WHERE WAS MY CHILDHOOD?

    Cary Elwes, whom I now have a belated crush on. WHERE WAS MY CHILDHOOD?

    Johnny Flynn, whose songs I sometimes cry to.

    Johnny Flynn, whose songs I sometimes cry to.

     

  • When the guys on stage crew were obsessed with this, it was definitely the Andre the Giant/ Wallace Shawn / Mandy Patinkin sass humor I was thinking about.
  • Buttercup was basically gonna be kidnapped by that king or kidnapped by these guys then, huh? Also, I never noticed before how very pretty Robin Wright is.
  • I like how the sets with the cliffs and the ocean are super fake looking. I don’t mean that in the sense where people say “I like how” when they mean “I hate how.” It has a storybook quality and also reminds me of movies from the 30s-60s.

    Just the right kind of fake.

    Just the right kind of fake.

  • Do high school stage crews still love The Princess Bride? Somebody find out. I can’t, as I’m 30.
  • Is the Shrek Puss In Boots modeled after this Zoro Guy? They have the exact same vibe:

  • If this doesn’t end in the princess winning her own freedom and outsmarting everybody I’ll be pretty disappointed.
  • [I really loved The Paper Bag Princess in my youth, ok.]
  • But surely it will end with her getting together with the Johnny Flynn-looking guy who isn’t dead after all?

A. DID NOT AT ALL see Zorro being Westley and I don’t even think it was supposed to be a surprise. The joys of watching a movie so old that nobody cares enough to spoil it.

B. DID NOT AT ALL see Westley being a sass-pants – I thought his main thing was being subservient.

C. His mustache and ponytail are bad.

D. The movie isn’t even half over, so I clearly called this one wrong.

  • Actually I am liking the ponytail within a few minutes.

    But it IS that awkward length when you're growing out a bob and it doesn't all fit back easily.

    But it IS that awkward length when you’re growing out a bob and it doesn’t all fit back easily.

  • I wonder how Buttercup feels about Westley now that he tells long stories instead of doing chores for her. (The story about getting the ship from some guy who was also not the Dread Pirate Roberts was funny.)

  • Sure, Buttercup is chilled out about her gown getting caught on fire, but the Jim Hensons Workshop-looking giant weasels give her the willies. Honestly, same.
  • Fred Savage says that Buttercup doesn’t marry Humperdinck. I agree. He says it wouldn’t be fair because of all that Westley did for her. I resist the urge to rage at baby-Fred-Savage-from-the-past because a human is not a reward.
  • (I agree that Humperdinck sucks and Buttercup and Westley are endgame, obviously.)
  • Are there gifs of the homeless lady saying Boo, Boo, Boo?

Not only are there gifs and videos, the character is named THE ANCIENT BOOER.

  • So Westley may get to marry Buttercup, if he gets the mail fast enough?
  • JK he never sent the ships. Buttercup’s gonna throw down. It’s all happening.
  • What is Fred Savage sick with? Why is he so sick that his elderly grandpa has to come read stories at him? Honestly a little distressed that Fred Savage has some serious chronic illness that they haven’t addressed.

  • I think it’s beautiful that the two people with the speech impediments have each other.
  • Ewww they had better get there before they “escort her to the honeymoon suite.” Gross.
  • [Obviously the mawiage part is funny but I knew it was coming. See comments above re: high school theater. Carol Kane is a dream. As is the makeup artist, because Kane was only 30-something.]
  • I want an interactive art installation that is Fred Savage’s bedroom and you can go in and touch everything. 10/10 best set decoration ever.
  • WHAT is this boy sick with. Seriously.
  • Wow, I truly didn’t know that Rob Reiner directed it.

Okay, this is the thing we hope for every time we do a Pop Culture Blind Spot: I LIKED this. We don’t do these to make fun of other people’s beloved favorite movies, we do them to catch up on some popular or cult classics that somehow got by us. Now I am wishing we had shelved Moulin Rouge during at least ONE of those sleepovers so I could have seen this sooner.

 

Liveblog: Anna Nicole

Because if I’m going to watch a Lifetime movie about Anna Nicole Smith, I’m bringing all of you down with me:

  • Before it even starts, the promo features a minor key rendition of Fame (baby remember my name..) and it shouldn’t be hilarious but it is. It sounds like Fame as played by a musical baby toy that needs new batteries.
  • OH MY GOD OH MY GOD. The film opens with Anna Nicole explaining that she is from Mexia Texas. My grandpa was born in Mexia and nobody has ever heard of it, ever. I usually just say “outside of Houston.” Anna Nicole explains that nobody pronounces it right, and she’s probably correct because I forget how you say it already. So… let’s just say that Anna Nicole is from outside of Houston.
  •  I got curious and looked up Mexia. It’s actually a located such that it’s a 1.5 – 2.5 hour drive from Houston, Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth. If they don’t use that as a selling point yet they probably should.
  • Cut to dead Anna Nicole doing a voiceover while lying on a coroner’s slab. When I was a kid, a girl went missing in my city. In the scariest dream I ever had, she was narrating her death to me from inside a water tank. Then months later they FOUND HER IN REAL LIFE INSIDE A GOD-DAMN WATER TANK. Anyway, narrations by a dead person are my least favorite plot device, thanks to that one.
  • The font for the credits is really atrocious, even by Lifetime standards. It looks like the cover of a Lurlene McDaniel book.

Lurlene McDaniel? All those books about teens dying of cancer in the 80s?

  • NO. NO NO NO. Little A.N. (Vicky Lynne at the time. Vickie Lynn? Vikki Linn?) lovingly traces the cover of a Playboy magazine featuring Marilyn Monroe. Then, a Marilyn-esque version of Vickie’s adult self appears to her in the mirror. So if you want to avert tragedy, don’t let you daughter become obsessed with Marilyn Monroe. Maybe show her some Ask Amy vids instead.
  • Note: Little A.N.’s mom is the victim of domestic violence and that probably did a lot more to screw her up than Marilyn-worship, to be serious.
  • Unintentional hilarity from 13-yr-old Anna: “I ain’t gonna have a baby, Mama, I just wanna go bowlin'”. I think we all know where bowling leads…
  • Older teen Anna has a baby. Why do you think they were so fired up about bowling in that number from Grease 2?
  • Anna Nicole is in a strip club applying for work because this is a film based on the song What Would You Do by City High.
  •   Fact without judgment: Mirror Anna is back and each of her boobs is bigger than my head. I’m kind of surprised they’re not those weird 90s boobs? Remember the implants they used to do that were so far apart you could fit a whole third boob in the middle? Maybe that was the point: room for expansion.
  • Fact without judgment part 2: Anna, wearing overalls, practices her pole moves in the park with her toddler son.
  •   Anna is at the plastic surgeon and they ask her to describe her ideal boob size in terms of fruit. I thought the fruit comparison was only for fetuses (your baby is two months along and is the size of a kumquat!). Anna wants bowling ball-sized tatas, and makes it rain on the plastic surgeon’s desk. Dolla dolla bills.
  •   I seriously cannot and will not judge stripper Anna. She’s buying a house with lots of rooms and a pool. I  have nowhere near that kind of cash yet. Way to go, Vickie.
  •   It’s only been 15 minutes and I’m already bored out of my mind.
  • Anna gives a Lifetime-movie-quality lap dance.  So I’m not a man, and maybe that’s why, but I have so much trouble understanding the appeal of a lap dance. It seems like it would be more frustrating than anything? Like someone walking in with a big box of pizza then being like here, you can hold this slice of pizza for 5 minutes, then I’m taking it away. What is the point?
  • I want some pizza.
  • Somebody PLEASE make a .gif of Anna’s old man future husband’s face while she’s stripping? He’s smiling so wide and big-eyed that he looks like a Muppet.

    Anna and Paw Paw Marshall IRL. My stomach hurts from this pairing and my head hurts from Anna’s dress, which was part of a short-lived fashion line from the publishers of Magic Eye.

  •   Anna’s future husband is that particularly gross kind of old man. He looks like he was created by culturing a scab from one gross old man’s skin in a petri dish until it generated a whole new, crusty person.
  • Old Man Marshall bequeaths Anna his ranch provided she “be intimate.” Aw, Jesus. This whole thing is the worst already. Also that contract is not at all legally binding. Meretricious services are not valid consideration!
  •   Anna and Old Man Marshall seem happy with each other in a weird way, so whatever, if it works it works. I just keep getting skeeved out though. Was J. Howard Marshall a sketchball in real life or is this something Lifetime is doing? As usual, Martin Landau is excellent, though. His skin looks like paper you found in a sewer drain then left in the sun to dry up.
  •   Someone scary offers Anna Nicole some drugs. It plays out like those drug offers we always saw in school videos from the ’90s. Only thing I’m surprised at is the drugs don’t look more like candy. Those videos always made drugs look like delicious candy, and I always thought well, who would say not to that?

    Also kids, if you do drugs then all of your favorite cartoon characters will come hang out with you!

  •   Anna Nicole’s star is on the rise — but if you want to see a really good “star on the rise” montage, you should watch Evita instead.
  • Anna Nicole is giving out Nascar trophies which in certain circles probably denotes success.
  • A crowd starts cheering on a drunk Anna, who flashes them, and I start to feel horribly uncomfortable. Not to leave you hanging, but I might not make it through the liveblog. Then the child actor playing her son Danny confronts Anna Nicole about her drug use, and I really consider turning the movie off. So we used Anna Nicole’s struggles as entertainment when she was alive and now we’re doing it when she’s dead. This is just rotten.
  •   Anna Nicole marries Old Man Marshall. Oddly, the scenes of her dancing with him are the saddest thing yet. Thanks to early poverty and drug addiction, it was Anna Nicole’s best option at the time.  I truly didn’t expect to get so bummed out by this whole thing, I’m sorry.

    And it was every bit as depressing in real life, too.

  • Anna is hovering her boobs at her dying old husband’s face. He says “is that you, mother?” I laugh and I laugh.
  • Did Anna and Danny really do a terrible, off-key rendition of Amazing Grace at Old Man Marshall’s funeral with her in her wedding dress? I assume yes because that detail is too wacky to make up. I bet J. Howard was so happy he was already dead for that.
  • Yes! We’re at the part where Anna Nicole has an E! Reality Show. This is what I was waiting for. I probably could have just found some old episodes on YouTube instead of watching this.
  • Remember Juicy tracksuits you guys?
  •   My favorite thing about the Anna Nicole  franchise – other than hating on the scary, scary weight loss drugs she shilled – was her show’s theme song. Anna Anna Fabulous Anna… I’m assuming Lifetime didn’t get clearance to use it.
  •   Adult A.N. sees Kid A.N. in the mirror. Never before have I seen a TV movie that owed so much to the sleepover game Bloody Mary.
  • The guy they got to play Howard K. Stern (Adam Goldberg) really does look like him. As an aside, Anna Nicole Smith is played by Agnes Bruckner, who I’m not at all familiar with. She’s not half bad, though. In other casting news, Cary Elwes plays Old Man Marshall’s son.
  • Yes! The “trim spa baby!” commercial is on. Ugh, 2006.
  •   Anna Nicole’s mom LOVES wearing robes. Love love loves it.
  • Anna wants to “make a baby” with Howard. Well you BETTER GET BOWLING, woman! Do you all remember the big Dannielynn paternity debacle? I think Larry Birkhead is the better sperm donor, overall. Looks-wise, I mean.
  • I love the Larry Birkhead wig Lifetime has. Needs a few more highlights, though. Howard listens to Larry and Anna having sex through the wall but the only thing I can pay attention to is Howard’s GIANT laptop. Were laptops really that big in 2007?
  •   In one of my favorite cross-sections of American life, not only did the Supreme Court consider Anna Nicole’s claim against “Paw Paw’s” estate, but Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the opinion. RUTH! There was a procedural hot-damn-mess for years after, BTW. SCOTUS revisited the case in 2011 and Roberts wrote the sassiest opinion!
  •   Danny says “wake up and smell the flowers, Mom!” Wow. It’s been a minute since I’ve heard that phrase. Actually, isn’t it “smell the roses?” Or am I thinking of “stop and smell the roses?”
  • Iconic Anna moment: Anna is painted like a scary clown, cuddles a doll as though it is a real child, and dismisses her pregnancy as “just gas.” God, don’t you remember being so terrified when you saw that video? Only watch this if you are in the mood to get really, horribly angry at the people who surrounded Anna. Except Riley. Riley tried, bless her little heart.
  •   Danny has a trucker hat on. Nice nod to mid-2000s authenticity.
  • Two people have to die in the next nine minutes.
  • Anna Nicole says she’s naming the baby Dannielynn. I thought she named it something else then changed it after her son died? I can really distinctly remember reading a gossip magazine on an elliptical in my college gym and learning that little fact.
  • Now Anna blames her mom for not letting her go bowling, so I guess I read that one wrong. Bowling is maybe really good birth control? Actually that sounds about right, yeah.
  • RIP Vickie Lynn. If this Lifetime movie tells us one thing, it’s that you never had a shot. And for the last two hours, really, neither did we.