Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Life Lessons From "The Princess Bride"

On September 27, 1987, a movie was released that earned a little over two hundred thousand dollars at the box office during its first weekend out.  Not a very auspicious beginning for a film that is beloved by many and has earned over thirty millions dollars since its release. Which movie is this, you ask? None other than The Princess Bride. 

A couple of weeks ago, I casually said in passing to a friend that pretty much everything you need to know can be found within the witty and somewhat off the wall dialogue found in The Princess Bride, hereafter referred to as TPB, partly because I’m lazy but mostly because I don’t like seeing the same words over and over in a post. This is unavoidable however, when you are discussing quotes from a singular movie. Now, where was I? 

Ah, yes. I’m sure many of you have seen the movie but for those of you who haven’t, “let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.” See what I did there? That was a quote from the movie by the character Inigo Montoya, who has been seeking revenge for the death of his father most of his life. He’s trying to convey what has been going on with Princess Buttercup to her beloved Westly during the time he’s been mostly dead. Here’s the thing: just go watch it. There is just nothing that can explain this movie like the movie itself. 

But getting back to our life knowledge and lessons, here are some of my favorite quotes from the movie and my take on them. 

·         “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”  Inigo to Vizzini, who is alleged to be the smartest man alive. There are three lessons that can be learned here – one, be sure that you understand your own vocabulary. Two, use said vocabulary correctly in conversation. And three, “irregardless” is not a word. Ever. This quote jumps straight to the forefront of my mind every single time I hear someone say it.

·         “Life IS pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” Now, while I do not believe that life is pain in its entirety, you can see what Westley was getting at here. Life is hard, often gritty and always “brutiful”, which is a word a virtual acquaintance of mine has coined over at her site Momastery. Those people who would try to convince you otherwise likely haven’t taken a good hard look at themselves lately. Just look at Facebook and you’ll see what I mean. 

·         “You be careful. People in masks cannot be trusted.” – Fezzick is advising his friend Inigo about fighting the masked man who has been following them for miles. While this would seem somewhat obvious, it doesn’t take much thought to know that you can take this metaphorically as well. When someone is being disingenuous, most of the time it is apparent. Maybe not obvious, though sometimes it is, but often it’s that feeling you get that something just isn’t right. Take it from me, who has oft learned the hard way – trust that feeling. Always.
"    "Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.” – You may commence with the awwwwws. Westly is talking to Buttercup after she tells him that she agreed to marry rotten Prince Humperdinck only because she thought her true love was dead. Ask anyone who has ever lost someone they loved – that love doesn’t die with the person. It stays with you forever, both inside and sometimes out. It’s your memories, feelings, recipes, photos, love letters etc. All of those things and then some are about as forever as you can get in your lifetime.

·         “Whoo hoo hoo…look who knows so much! It just so happens that your friend here is only mostly dead.” – Y’all, there are times in all our lives when we need an expert. Do yourself a favor and let the expert do their thing. Think about all the times when you thought you had it all figured out but didn’t, and finally broke down and asked for help from someone who not only knew better, but could also take care of the problem. Leaping to conclusions about things outside of our areas of expertise can most assuredly lead to rotten miracles. (See?! I did it again, only this time it was a reference and not a quote.)

·         “When I was your age, television was called books!” – Ah, yes. The old “back in my” day stance on pretty much everything is that all things modern are not as good or wholesome as those from days gone by. While I think that there is some truth to that theory across the board, you could also look at that from both sides of the coin. HOWEVER. On one thing I will not compromise and that is the inarguable superiority of books over television. I remember being so so so disappointed in several movies I saw as a child because there is just nothing that compares with the magic of your own imagination. As an avid bookworm, I will shout this particular quote until I’m dead, because it’s the absolute truth. Also because I have a goal to be a curmudgeon and every good grouch needs a slogan.

So there you have it, life in a nutshell, as learned from “The Princess Bride.” There are more where these came from, of course, and if you haven’t seen it, then you really should.  My TPB friends will just smile and think, “As you wish.”

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Alison said...

Love that movie! It came out my freshman year in college, and if I remember correctly, a bunch of us piled into a car that was way too small for that number of people to go to the theater. Oh, and the ROUSs? I don't think they exist.

Katie Hileman said...

I found you via Scary Mommy. Very glad I did. :) I have two things to say. The first is that TPB is one of my all-time favorite movies and, as much as my husband rolls his eyes, if I get to choose our movie on movie night, this is it. The second is that I have the same feelings about the word "irregardless". It is never a word and, when I hear it, I want to crawl out of my skin. Excellent post. :)

Andrea said...

This is my absolute favorite movie of all time. I consider it absurd when someone hasn't seen it and loan them my extra copy. 25th anniversary blueray addition oct 2nd. I really liked the life lessons you pulled from all my favorite quotes. thank you

bereccah5 said...

Thanks very much! I mean, what instance is there in life where you couldn't apply wisdom from TPB? None! Best movie ever. :-)

bereccah5 said...

Thanks so much! Yeah, the "i-word" makes me just want to scream. So does fustrated and suposably. TPB is the guide to life, in my opinion - it gets my movie night vote hands down!