Our family has always relied on the apt quotation to make a point. Now, let me clarify, we are not talking about quotations that one can find in Bartlett’s. No, I instead refer to the apropos quotation of movie lines.
When on road trips, we used to play “Quotations” in which a line was given and the correct answer required both the movie name as well as the name of the character who spoke the line. The name of the actor playing the character was worth bonus points but, since we never actually tallied points, this was more for the ‘show off’ kudos one could garner. The only real rule we had was that the quote had be from a film that the other players had seen or were likely to have seen. For example, when playing with the children when they were younger, there were few references to Fellini or Bergman films except as they might obliquely apply in relation to say, a Woody Allen comedy.
This kind of game, or obsession really, leads one to develop the thought that there are certain culturally ‘core’ films that everyone has seen. To wit, The Princess Bride or perhaps The In-laws (permit me to clarify here, I’m referring to the Peter Falk/ Alan Arkin version not the later Michael Douglas/ Albert Brooks version. While I generally like the remake, I just find Arkin’s character less whiney and Falk’s a bit more endearing, despite his apparent psychosis and blithe disregard for anything other than his own agenda. But, as regular readers will note, I digress…)
Back to The Princess Bride and my point (or, is should that be the other way around? Never mind! Focus! Focus! And stop using the sodding parentheses!) I’m better now. Ahem!
Back to …. oh yes. Imagine our surprise some time back when our daughter called all aghast. She was speaking to a friend of a similar age and background, and suddenly discovered that they could not respond to proffered line because – SHE HAD NEVER SEEN THE PRINCESS BRIDE! We could not help but wonder; what kind of deprived upbringing the poor person must have had? We ran through the possibilities. Perhaps she was raised by wolves on the tundra. Or, perhaps she was really an alien sent here to observe the possibilities for conquest. We finally settled on the supposition that she had been abused as a child ; i.e. she had been denied access to comedic material by overweeningly serious parents.
I guess that the point of this blog, if it indeed has a point, is to appeal to those of you who find yourselves in similar straits. Put down your chilled semillon, set aside your warm brie with honey and slivered almonds. Stop streaming your Wagner opera. Eschew your Bergman, Fellini, or Eisenstein films.
Grab a cold beverage, make a honking bowl of popcorn and pop in The Princess Bride. Enjoy the delights of watching Wallace Shawn, Mandy Patinkin, Andre the Giant, Carey Elwes, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Fred Savage, and – yes – Peter Falk in one of the greatest films Rob Reiner ever made.
“Have fun storming the castle!”