Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Movie Moment, 9: Saved by Silliness

I have been in dire need of a dose of silliness.
I'm sitting at Bob's this afternoon with Lee (typing like Beethoven, left), and Ami has put "The Princess Bride" (1987) on the large-screen TV. The sound is low but I am facing the screen and can read the subtitles.
I wasn't impressed when I saw it years ago, but Lee loves it and is quoting along with it, even though his back is to the TV and he hasn't seen the movie in ten years.
This is making me think the movie is very funny indeed.

So along comes the scene (an unlooked for Movie Moment) when Wally Shawn (the bad guy,Vizzini, right) gambles his life on a cup of poison wine, and he cheats. Thinking he has fooled the Dread Pirate Roberts, he declaims:

"You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders!
The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia;
but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha..."
[Vizzini stops suddenly, and falls dead to the right]

[this quote and practically half the screenplay here.]

Which gets me wondering why some things are funny. One thing is displacement, like mentioning the land war in Asia in a fairy tale.
Also ridiculous names, like the R.O.U.S. = "Rodents of Unusual Size."
And I further note when friends laugh at something, it can make you lighten up too.


ddip said...

Oh, yes, and movies can save us from dreadful anxiety, especially at night when it's really dark.

For example, in fretting one night recently about the gigantic outlay of cash we just put down for a new boiler, SJG and I began to spontaneously quote from "Moonstruck." The saved-our-minds dialogue goes something like this:

Cosmo: The woman, she wanted to be cheap, but the man, he understood.

Mona: What did you tell him?

Cosmo: I told him, "It costs money. It costs money, because it saves money!"

Mona: Oh, Cosmo. You have SUCH a head for knowing!

ddip said...

For those who don't know, in "Moonstruck," Cosmo is a wealthy Italian Brooklyn plumber who's just bid on replacing ancient pipes in a Brooklyn brownstone that a couple of older yuppies have bought to restore. Cosmo advocates replacing the pipes with copper, which is pricey.

Mona is Cosmo's girlfriend, the existence of whom his wife has begun to suspect.

fresca said...

Terrific example!
For some of us (like me), movies are practically a religion, and we quote from them the way Jews and Christians [used to] quote the psalms for comfort.

Here's one of my favorite comforting lines from "Moonstruck":
"EVERYTHING is temporary!"

Or as the King James Bible puts it:
"For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away."
--1 Peter 1:24
I better put that in my Quotes of the Moment!