Nate over at The Film Experience brought my attention back to one of my favorite films, The Princess Bride, by highlighting its 25th anniversary last week and so this got me in the mood to see the film, especially since I have two little girls in the house, neither of which who had seen it yet. WHAT?!?! How can that be? So, I dug the film out of the closet and popped it in the DVD player for a whirl this weekend to the delight of my little ones who soaked it up from start to finish.
They smiled wide when Buttercup kissed Wesley for the first time. The shrieked with fear at the sight of the shrieking eels. They laughed hysterically when Buttercup pushed Wesley down that hill (seriously, they were in stitches) and they held me close in emotional panic while the evil Prince Humperdink was torturing poor Wesley. Yes, watching their reaction to every scene helped me understand just how well rounded and, well, awesome this movie really is. I’ve always loved it. It was one of the first films I ever watched with my wife, because she loved it so much, but more than that, it was a film I grew up around. Having sisters of all ages in the house, as a kid I was bombarded by this movie on a weekly basis. My initial reaction was pretty similar to young Fred Savage (“is this a kissing ‘movie’”) and yet I was completely sucked in before long.
Watching it last night, with more mature eyes (I can’t believe it’s been about six years since I last saw it) I noticed just how strong the film is, not just from an entertainment value but really from every angle. The varied score is perfectly used to embellish the scenes. The cinematography is stunning, as is the fantastical art direction and those grounded yet lavish costumes. I’ve always been a fan of Robin Wright Penn’s performance here, but the supporting cast is also pretty impressive, utilizing even the smallest of scenes to create memorable moments (“Inconceivable!”).
With sharp and witty dialog and a free flowing film that never bores, ‘The Princess Bride’ remains one of the best of its kind, possible even the best in the genre.
So, with my affections won, I actually wound up watching a few more 80’s films over the weekend (kind of subconsciously staring in that decade I guess) and saw some classics I had never seen before.
How I missed ‘Top Gun’ my whole life is beyond me, but am I the only guy out there who just assumed that if Tom Cruise and Meg Ryan were in the same movie they would be the lovers? I was kind of shocked to see Kelly McGillis in the lead and then I remembered that this was 1986 and McGillis was coming off of ‘Witness’ and Meg Ryan still had three more years before she’d fake moan her way into superstardom. Alas, with the devastatingloss of Tony Scott, I decided to watch this finally (been sitting on my DVR for over a month) and I must say…it’s kind of ‘ok’. I mean, it flows and it has movement, but the film is so cookie cutter and generic. There really isn’t anything special about the film at all. The use of music was disastrous as well. The way they played ‘Danger Zone’ over every scene in the first half only to switch to playing ‘Take My Breath Away’ every time McGillis and Cruise were in the same room was somewhat nauseating, and that final scene (party on the base) was just so corny. But I loved Anthony Edwards in this!
Watching this also made me want to write a post comparing Tom Cruise’s looks ‘now’ with all of his 80’s love interests. Seriously, how in the world has he aged this well compared to McGillis who, well, looks like this?
Hell, we could just compare his to his co-stars in general, because it’s not like Val Kilmer looks any better.
My friend had once confessed to me that he actually cried while watching Pretty in Pink and I laughed. I’d never seen the film, but I didn’t think he could be serious. I laughed at him again yesterday. I actually watched the movie (so generically 80’s and yet so much fun too) and I just can’t fathom him shedding tears over it in any way. Sorry, but predictability should outweigh emotional impact, right? Alas, the film was fun, and Jon Cryer was hysterical (Fisti Supporting Actor possibility right there!) God, that ‘Try a Little Tenderness’ scene was effing perfection.
It is pretty easy to see how nearly every teen comedy in the 90’s ripped this one off in almost every way.
I also watched ‘Young Guns’, but the less said about that mess the better.