Monday, April 9, 2012

The Princess Bride

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” That’s right, last week’s Throwback Thursday at Essex Cinemas was the 1987 classic, The Princess Bride. And this movie my friends was the one that almost got away. You see, the Throwback Thursdays are growing in popularity and starting to sell out faster and faster. So if you hear of a movie announced that you really want to see, I’d encourage you to: a. head to the theater immediately and purchase a ticket, or b. log onto the Essex Cinemas webpage and purchase your ticket online so you’re not faced with option c. getting left out in the cold. Thankfully, my friend Winger came through in a pinch and scooped up some of the last remaining tickets so I was able to attend.

Four hundred seats and not a single one left? Yeah, that’s right, it’s not just yours truly that can’t get enough of watching favorite childhood movies on a massive sixty foot screen (that’s why it’s called the T-Rex baby); Throwback Thursday’s are blowing up in a big way. I’ve yet to attend one (and I haven’t missed one yet) where someone isn’t dressed up as one of their favorite characters and the audience isn’t reciting their favorite lines and cheering when the good guys finally win. The Princess Bride was no exception. As previously mentioned, I dragged my feet on buying a ticket; I had a feeling this would be another sold out show, but I figured I had time so I waited. The weekend came and went and I didn’t have a ticket. Monday, my day off and my blog day, came and went and I still didn’t have a ticket. Late that night, long after I had fallen asleep, a very panicked Covino sent me a text message letting me know that as of midnight on Monday, Essex Cinemas had less than fifty tickets left and you could no longer buy tickets online (a fact they had posted on their Facebook page). I received this message the minute I woke up and turned on my phone. I went from being half asleep to wide-awake and freaked out in less time then it took to type this sentence - I couldn’t miss this movie! (Inconceivable!)  I paced back and fourth nervously; it was five o’clock in the morning and there really wasn’t anything I could do at this point, besides further freak-out and think the worst. I texted Winger, another Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) member and therefore another early riser, to see if he had purchased his tickets yet; he had not… More panic. I did the only thing I could do in this situation: I texted Covino the truth, that I didn’t buy my ticket and most likely would be sitting on the sidelines while he and the rest of my friends enjoyed the movie. The response back… A frowny face emoticon.

Hours stretched on like days as I pushed myself through my daily morning work routine, the whole time cursing myself for not just running to the theater on Saturday night when I was out and about in Essex. Break time came and I received some amazing news. Winger called the theater and there were a very small amount of tickets left; so small that if he had hesitated a second longer they would’ve been gone. He was on the way to Essex Cinemas and he was going to pick up tickets for me as well. I breathed a sigh of relief, but couldn’t completely relax until he let me know he had indeed scored the ticket, crisis averted, lesson learned.

Based on the fact that The Princess Bride sold out a full forty-eight hours before it played (that’s faster than The Goonies and Back to the Future) I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying it wasn’t just a favorite film of mine. I think it holds a special place in everyone’s heart that had the pleasure of seeing it as a child. Plus, it’s also the kind of movie people want to share with friends and loved ones that were not fortunate enough to see it before. But why? What makes The Princess Bride so great? I don’t think I can say it any better than the late Peter Falk already did as his character Grandpa: “Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...” That’s right, it’s got a little something for everyone and isn’t just a “kissing movie”.

I think the first time I saw The Princess Bride was when I had stayed home from school because, much like Fred Savage’s character, I was sick. My Grandfather lived on the other side of the state so book reading was out of the question and like most nuclear families of the early nineties both my parents worked. In order to pacify me so the one who stayed home with me could continue to get some office work done, The Princess Bride was chosen and I was set up remote in hand on the living room couch in front of the family television. That’s right, I’m talking about a time before a TV in every room of the house, even back before my great grandmother gave me her old thirteen inch black and white set. We were a… gasp… One-television household, and if I remember right it was a twenty-seven inch television at that, just a few inches bigger than the monitor I’m composing this blog on. These were the dark ages kids; could you imagine your family huddling around a TV with a screen size slightly bigger than a computer monitor? No? Well, back in my day (how I’ve longed to use that phrase) that’s just the way it was. I watched some of my favorite movies for the first time on that TV (to include most of the ones that I’ve now written about) and in my mind they were epic (one could argue not as epic as seeing them on a sixty foot screen, but I was much smaller then). From the sword fight between Westley and Inigo Montoya to the narrowing escape through the fire swamp, I was riveted. I cheered for Westley, hoping in the end he’d end up with Princess Buttercup and defeat the evil Prince Humperdinck (a name that still makes me giggle). And, much like Fred Savage in the movie, despite myself I couldn’t help liking this “kissing movie”; I mean, at the heart of it, isn’t it a romance? Wasn’t I supposed to roll my eyes at movies like this and outwardly pretend not to like them while secretly dying to watch them again? I guess I never was that kid, just like I’m still not that guy now (I mean, really? Did you read my Grease blog?).  I couldn’t have been more psyched to score some last minute tickets to The Princess Bride and share the experience for the first time on the big screen with my own Buttercup. I never claimed to be a white knight riding up on my horse, but I wouldn’t mind be a dread pirate chasing down a group of thieves to save my princess.

The Princess Bride was an awesome pick for a Throwback Thursday movie and almost in the same vein (if the theme is missing school) is the next Throwback Thursday film. Need another hint? How about “Bueller… Bueller…” That’s right, it’s another John Hughes classic and recent Honda CR-V commercial spoof, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. If I were you I wouldn’t wait to claim one of those four hundred seats early, because if this momentum continues it’s going to be another sold out show. As for me? I unfortunately have to sit the next one out, but for a good reason; I’ll be out of town watching my brother graduate. If you don’t have a reason as good as this, then what are you waiting for? Grab your ticket now and check out a Throwback Thursday - I guarantee you won’t regret it.