“Never go up against a Sicilian, when death is on the line!”
When these words were spoken, some 30 years ago by Wallace Shawn, playing Vizzini, in The Princess Bride, there would have been no way to predict that the movie would achieve the iconic pop-culture classic status it holds today.
Released on Sept. 18, 1987, when I was a sweet, young, impressionable flower of only 16, the movie was, for me, immediately resonate. There was something about the characters, and the dialogue that I found instantly, and forever, appealing.
Maybe it was the sarcasm. I mean, I’ve gone on the be the most obscenely sarcastic person I know, and it’s possible the blame for that very trait can be laid at Westley, who was brilliantly and delightfully sarcastic, even when referring to true love.
And it’s all those things that must be the reasons as to why, 30 years later, the movie still holds the hearts not only of those of us who loved it then, but of those who have found it in the interim decades.
I find it, amusing, as I journey through the aging process (stupid bad knees and arthritic fingers) how tightly I now hold on to the seminal moments and items of my past.
But not really my recent past. There’s not much from the last 30 years of my life that I can randomly quote, verbatim, but The Princess Bride is one of them. Say “inconceivable” at the right moment, and anyone over 40 will laugh, because it’s instantly recognizable. (The same effect can be attributed to the word “pivot”. Many of you just laughed, simply on hearing the word, because you know its point of origin.)
Maybe it’s that because The Princess Bride came out at a pivotal part of my life, it has been, by defacto, etched itself in my psyche.
I was 16. I had just gotten my driver’s license, and was able to go to the barn by myself, in my classic grey Dodge Omni. I was smitten with Alistair, who sat next to me in English, and we wrote each other’s names on our pencil cases. (Kettle Creek pencil cases at that).
I was in the school play, and had an amazing group of friends to hang out with – many of whom I am still connected to, even if it’s just through Facebook.
And I remember that it was Jen Strong and I who went to see The Princess Bride, at least twice, in the theatre, and I will never be able to watch it without thinking of her.
The Princess Bride and 1992s the Last of the Mohicans are the bookends to a time in my life where everything and anything were possible to a headstrong and fearless girl who I need to remind myself of more often.
“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
See you next week.