One summer during college my cousin Mike and I traveled home together when school was done. It's three long days of driving from Utah to Virginia and by that third day we'd covered an impressive array of topics of conversation. One of us, I can't remember which, had the brilliant idea that recounting the entire movie of The Princess Bride would take at least an hour or so and help pass the time.
And it was truly brilliant.
From the opening video game sound effects to the closing credits song, we did everything: every voice, every facial expression, every hand gesture. We took turns playing different roles and rarely stopped to quibble over getting the wording exactly right. As we finished out the final verse of "Storybook Love" our sides ached from laughing so hard, we were another hour closer to home, and we'd made a fun memory together while reliving other fun memories.
Having seen and read a few interviews with Cary Elwes about this book, I knew it wasn't going to be an expose' airing dirty laundry. But I love how much this book gushes and oozes love and friendship and joy. Ok, so that sounded hokey, but really! The fact that my favorite movie of all time, which has brought me so much joy and happiness and laughter, was a highlight of the actors' lives only enhances the film for me. Everyone got along and had a good time. Everyone admired each other and worked hard to make the best movie possible. Everyone was supportive and helpful. No "diva" behavior, no tantrums, just fun and talent and work.
Peeking "behind the curtain" of a movie set is always fun, but I loved the little tidbits Cary shared about learning to fence with Mandy Patinkin, breaking his toe goofing around on an ATV (that's why he sits down so oddly at the top of the ravine!), getting knocked unconscious by Christopher Guest bonking him on the head with the butt of his sword, his first meeting with Robin Wright, the insane amount of food and drink Andre the Giant could put away, the multiple unnecessary takes of that final kiss, Andre's earth-shaking flatulence, and so much more.
Many other people involved in the film contributed to the book, too, with brief "sidebars" recounting their perspective on events. Rob Reiner, William Goldman, Andy Scheinman, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon, and Carol Kane all had their own bits to add to telling the story.
It's not at all unusual for me to "inhale" a book. Finishing an entire novel in one sitting, aided by an ability to read quickly as well as block out extraneous stimuli like a dirty house in need of cleaning or children in need of attention, is not unheard of. But it is extremely rare for me to do so while grinning from ear to ear the entire time, pausing only to either chuckle mildly or laugh hysterically.
It was recently brought to my attention that my children have not seen The Princess Bride. I will be remedying that oversight immediately so that another generation can enjoy the perfect telling of the perfect story.
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride
by Cary Elwes