#5: The Princess Bride — dir. Rob Reiner
Man. You wouldn’t think Rob Reiner would have been a controversial and difficult struggle. And yet FOUR. Legitimately four films could have made this cut. This is Spinal Tap. Stand by Me. When Harry Met Sally. And this one.
But it was always going to be Princess Bride. I go on about quotable movies. I probably quote this once a day. And not like I’ve set out to do so. William Goldman’s script is brilliant. That’s what I aspire to as a write. To write dialogue that one day people will quote at each other. That some aspiring writer will cull from the pages or the screen and copy as a status or shout at their friends. And it will bond people.
The framestory is so excellent, with Fred Savage and Peter Falk. The internal story is amazing. It’s got a couple good swordfights. But it’s also got a couple amazing NON-fights. When the six-fingered man sees Inigo Montoya the first time. And then he runs away. When Humperdinck and Westley face each other down and Westley gives the “to the pain” speech and Humperdinck drops his sword. How do you get away with that? It’s like something you’d see in a Mel Brooks film.
When they did the twenty year anniversary and all the actors were sitting around, older. How are you not just touched by that? How did that not fill your cockles with warmth and joy? I could go on and on about this movie. In fact I did. One of the short stories in Side Quests is called “To The Pain.” Hell, Twenty-Sided Die was pretty much all Stand by Me. So Meathead had a way bigger impact on me that I thought.