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.

 

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Pros & Cons of Watching When Harry Meets Sally 25 Years Too Late

Last month, I went to an outdoor screening of When Harry Met Sally. And believe it or not – it was my first time EVER seeing the movie. I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in. I kind of have a pop culture blind spot to a lot of classic films (I’m more of a TV person, if you couldn’t tell), and this is one of them. It’s particularly odd when I tell people this, because some of my favorite movies are of the rom-com genre, like Love Actually and Notting Hill #NoShame So going into my first viewing of WHMS, I had an inkling I would like it – I just didn’t realize I would like it THAT much. I couldn’t stop talking about it and thinking about it. I even looked up how much it would be on Amazon that same night. There are so many reasons why I enjoyed it, but I finally realized after viewing it why it had become such an important film in movie history – the story is timeless. At its core, WHMS is a movie questioning whether or not men and women can stay friends and never turn into lovers. That wasn’t just a problem in the 1980s, but it’s obviously still a question that’s asked today. And despite the fact WHMS is timeless, it’s not entirely “timeless”, as in, it’s been 25 years (to this day) since it was released, and there are still things that change over time. So here’s a few pros and cons I noted while watching this iconic movie for the very first time.

PRO: A youthful Meg Ryan

I think the first movie I ever saw Meg Ryan in was Sleepless in Seattle, which was made only four years after WHMS. But I don’t remember her ever looking as young as she did in this movie. I mean look at the youth! Look at the glow! She’s practically a baby acting out adult themes! It’s amazing that we can forever look back at this movie and seen the exact moment when she became a bonafide movie star.

CON: Meg Ryan’s face now

meg-ryan-billy-crystal-when-harry-met-sally-rftr

Well. Here she is. This picture was taken in April. Now 53, Meg is…  still sporting a cute blonde ‘do.

PRO: Being grateful of escaping 80s fashion

Really, the fashion in this movie is the only thing that makes it distinguishable as a movie made in 1989, as opposed to present day. The script could be set in 2014, and nothing would have to be changed. Except for like the Rolodex and the phones. And especially the clothes. There are some scenes that scream 80s, including this one which features Meg Ryan wearing a stunning green velour dress with protruding shoulderpads as she serves as the maid of honor for her best friend’s wedding. Velour tho.

CON: Realizing that some of that 80s fashion is actually back in style

Could’ve sworn I saw a hipster wearing this same outfit in Silver Lake recently.

PRO: Understanding post-college life

Oh man. I so relate to this quote. I wouldn’t have been able to *get it* if I had watched it before. Even as a teenager I wouldn’t have completely understood.

“I’m 26 years old and I can’t even remember the name of the girl I was such good friends with that I wouldn’t even get involved with her boyfriend!”

CON: Self-realization of post-college life

Ugh. I’m 28. I graduated high school 10 years ago and I’m already starting to forget people I went to college with. Just put me in a senior living community now.

PRO: Still feeling hopeful for a love that lasts a lifetime

But how cute are these couples. Fun fact: they’re all real couples telling their real stories. Director Rob Reiner got the idea when he was talking to his producing friend’s dad and said, “Mr. Horn, how did you meet your wife?” Mr. Horn lit up and told Rob his story. And Mr. Horn is actually the very first guy featured in the set of interviews alongside his wife. *swoon*

CON: Wondering where the old couples are now

Okay sorry to be the downer here, but like, this movie was made 25 years ago, right? And these cute couples are old. Like they had already been married for about 50 years, old. I’m not (completely) delusional to realize that some of these folks might not be with us anymore and that makes me really sad.

PRO: The movie is a reminder Christmas in NYC is magical

New York City is the third biggest character in this movie. It should be When Harry Met Sally and We Met New York. Rob Reiner did a fantastic job of using the city as much as he could, making it look like a dream world where anything is possible – including love. The scenes that particularly hit me at the core were the ones during Christmas. Christmas is my favorite and even though I live in Los Angeles, I still yearn for White Christmases. When Harry and Sally are carrying that tree and establishing shots are shown of snow-covered landmarks in NY, it gives me all the warm and fuzzies.

CON: And then my dreams are dashed

Then I remember what living with freezing temps and bundling up in five+ layers and never-ending snow is like and I’m over it.

PRO: Appreciating the greatness that is Nora Ephron

I apologize for being such a bad comedy/writer nerd that I had no idea just how GOOD Nora Ephron’s writing was in this movie. Yes, the actors gave great performances and excellent delivery on lines that were just written on paper, but the way Nora Ephron writes is pure genius. She’s not just writing a script, she’s telling a story. It’s as if Harry Burns and Sally Albright are real life people, and Nora just transcribed their day to day conversations. Plus, her writing is smart and sentimental – it’s no wonder why so many movies and TV shows have followed in the same vain as WHMS – because it works.

PRO/CON: Retroactively having a crush on Billy Crystal

I’d like to think there’s a majority of people in my generation that associate Billy Crystal with SNL or Analyze This or City Slickers or the guy who hosts the Oscars a lot. We don’t necessarily think of him as the lead in a romantic comedy. So color me super surprised when I found myself crushing (?) on Billy Crystal (?!) throughout this movie!! He’s not even like, textbook Zefron handsome, but he’s funny and charming and boy is he in love with Sally. A man head over heels in love is worth swooning for.