The Princess Bride

No, I’m not getting married (again). Been there, done that, and found the sex wanting and the life a tad mundane. I’ll stick to the single life for now, thank you very much.

For those of you with a bit of movie-watching clout to speak of, you’ll know that I’m speaking about the 1987 fantasy classic, The Princess Bride. It turned 30 this week – only a year and wee bit younger than yours truly. And unlike yours truly, it has stood the test of time and sits firmly in my top three movies ever. The only thing I sit firmly in is a sea of guilt and shame for my behavior at events with friends and family.

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The Princess Bride is some brilliant shit, ladies and gents.

It’s charming, packed with corny and entrancing action. It’s romantic, heroic, full of stereotypical gender roles that are all but extinct in this day in age (NOMNOMNOM), features Andre the fucking Giant himself and the acting from all of the characters is over-the-top and beautiful. It’s like something you would expect from an on-stage dramatic play, except you can watch it in your bedroom and you don’t have to sit beside that stinky old man with the adult diaper.

In short, The Princess Bride is the perfect hero tale.

Man and Woman fall in Love > Man gets lost in Nasty Sea > Woman is forced to marry Evil Prince > Man comes back from Nasty Sea and saves the Bride-To-Be > Man is caught by Evil Prince and tortured with a BDSM machine (wtf?!) > Man is saved by clever companions and the Evil Prince is vanquished with witty dialogue, expert swordsmanship and, of course, Love > THEY LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Basic, and it’s fucking brilliant.

Basic, and it’s fucking brilliant.

I imagine many of you who made it this far are thinking: “Oh great, another dipshit getting all nostalgic about his childhood movies.”

Sorry, this wasn’t a childhood movie of mine. I wish.

Instead, when I was a wee, young lad I subjected myself to ninja movies, Jaws flicks and a whole whack of porn VHS tapes that my buddy found in his mom’s attic. Looking back now, I’m pretty sure movies in my informative years shaped my life.

I’m shit-in-my-pants terrified of sharks, I look really cool doing ninja stuff in the mirror by myself, and I like using my big and hunky dong to have sex with women. WEIRD RIGHT. (Ahahaha you all just pictured a big and hunky dong)

I watched The Princess Bride for the first time in August of 2016, and I’m almost embarrassed to say that I’ve watched it on a monthly basis since. I just can’t get enough of it, and I think it comes down to the feels it gives me. The deep, dark and tearful FEELS, people. The kind most of us can only experience when our favourite sports team loses in the playoffs or our girlfriend denies us a blowjob for the third time in a row. Because we all know what a third denial in a row means.

THREE STRIKES AND YOU'RE OUT MOTHERFUCKER. Get used to blowjobs becoming customary 30 second “boner creators” before real sex. I know, it’s terribly depressing.

Dustin Does Pro Tip: practice lightning fast ejaculation and it’s almost like you’re getting a real blowjob.

But back to the movie.

When devilishly-handsome farm boy Wesley and the lovely Buttercup fall in love and make out in the glorious sunset after months of him courting her with nothing but the words “As you wish”, my heart of bile hacks, coughs, sighs and starts beating again for a few minutes before receding into its cave to be replaced with one of those cool barb-wired, bleeding hearts you see tattooed on bikers. Except mine isn’t cool. I’m dying inside.

I imagine to myself that this is what love could be, and this is something that I too could one day have. That if a farm boy with nothing to give but love can find the affection of a striking beauty and leap across the socioeconomic thresholds of life, then fuck it, why can’t a career-less, lost and cuddly grown ass man like me? Their love is the epitome of everything that I want and that I’ve yet to attain. It makes me want to be better.

Weird thing is, I genuinely loathe romance movies and books, but The Princess Bride somehow does it for me. Wesley and Buttercup just hit all the right soul notes, and it gives me a single stinking ray of brown hope in a money obsessed and fragmented world.

Then when Inigo Montoya, the drunk and broken Spaniard, drives his sword through the six-fingered man and exacts his revenge for his father’s death, the feeling is always the same: pure and unadulterated joy. Watch this:

His story is simple, but powerful. Inigo spends his entire life, his entire existence, with one goal in mind: vengeance for his father’s death.  His life is devoted to becoming an expert swordsman and killing a nobleman for no other reason than to honour the memory of his father, and there’s something sick and beautiful in that. In him I see myself in many ways: a man with the drive to create and then pursue his goals. Even if said goals are as simple as refusing to walk around my rental unit with a boner after a shower and scaring the shit out of the two women I’m living with.

But Jeez Louise, that sure would be swell!

But Jeez Louise, that sure would be swell!

But more than anything The Princess Bride is just so much fun. I quite literally smile for two hours straight when I’m not cramming popcorn down my throat. It was something I needed two years ago after my divorce and subsequent condo purchase. I’ll never forget the first time I watched it either, and had it been any different perhaps my obsession with this masterpiece wouldn’t be the same.

I was lying on a mattress on the living room floor of my downtown Edmonton condo with the boxes carrying my only remaining possessions from the divorce scattered all over the floor. The west sun was lowering in the sky, beaming through my balcony window, and I could hear the traffic outside as shitheads on their motorcycles revved up their engine outside just to piss off anyone within a two mile radius. There was moldy, black spots on the carpet, remnants of the previous owner’s lavish lifestyle, and I felt incredibly out of place and depressed. I couldn’t help but think:

“I just dropped a couple-hundred thousand to live HERE?”

“This is my new existence?”

“What in the fuck have I gotten myself into? . . .”

So I laid down on my sheetless mattress (I hadn’t gotten bedding yet), crammed my single pillow up against the wall behind my head, turned on my laptop and put on The Princess Bride. It changed everything for me – my mood, my outlook for the future of myself in my new place, and my prospects on love.

This is the power of art. Each movie, book, painting or song won’t affect everyone the same way, which is why it’s so beautiful. We can all have our own individual experience with art, even if it’s loathing or disgust. Defining why we feel that way is also important, and soon that awesome movie you saw in theaters is awesome for a reason, or that god-awful Taylor Swift song that just came out is a giant piece of shit for a reason. That’s art baby, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

But when it comes to The Princess Bride, if you don’t like it you’re objectively a fucking fool and I hate you.