Friday, February 13, 2009

We Are Men of Action. Dialogue Does Not Become Us.



Jeff and I have waited seven years for this day.

You know the day I'm talking about. I'm sure you've longed for it in your house as well.

What? You haven't?

Well. We have. And it is finally here.

Today, our sons sat down with us and watched The Princess Bride. :)

We tried to get them to watch it last summer, and they tried to accommodate us, but it freaked them right out, despite our best efforts to explain that the ROUS's were men dressed up in rodent suits.

The horrific giant rodents did not, however, dissuade them from henceforth expecting Daddy to say, each night before he turned out their lights, "Have fun stormin' the castle!"



So he does say that every night. And if he inserts another word besides castle ("Have fun stormin' the galaxy!" or "Have fun stormin' the ocean!"), they always remind him, with great corrective gusto, "It's CASTLE, Dad! Have fun stormin' the CASTLE!"

We ponder. How can they care so much about properly quoted lines from a cult classic they refuse to watch?

But Jeff was recently given a $10 gift card to Hollywood Video for his birthday, so into our home the newly-packaged Princess Bride blithely came.



James took one look at it and said, "I hate that movie. I hate the Fire Swamp." (He remembered what it was called.)

As soon as Jeff put the movie in this evening, James quickly exited the room, intent on protecting his innocent little mind from deadly, nightmare-inducing men in giant ill-made furry costumes. I called him back and said, "James, we can fast-forward through the Fire Swamp. You don't have to watch it."

He was cool with that. So we settled in.

I definitely watched James and Jonathan a lot more than I watched the movie. I was delighted to see James stick his little tongue out as far as it could go in a classic seven-year-old protest to the kissing part at the beginning, and I was highly amused to watch him relate to Fred Savage as he made the same protest.



James withstood the "Would you like to meet her?" "Yeah!!!" "I give you...the Princess...Buttercup!" scene for exactly 3.2 seconds before he commanded the TV screen, "Let's get back to the pirates!"

I had to prompt him to catch the rhyming part onaccounta Fezzik's accent. He didn't quite catch the dialogue. I repeated it back to him: "No more rhymes now, I mean it!" "Anybody want a peanut?" He laughed and laughed. I was satisfied.

Just before "the eel started to charge her", James looked at me and asked, "What's going to happen?"



I replied, calmly, "She doesn't get eaten by the eels at this time." And James got it! He heard me say it, and felt relieved, and then he heard the grandpa say it, and he looked at me and giggled merrily.

Both boys stood stalk still during the sword fight between Inigo and the Man in Black. And then they turned the Wii golf clubs into their own swords and waved them around for the rest of the movie.



They totally identified with the poor Man in Black's disadvantage against Fezzik. Jonathan looked at me and said, "James and me are Westley, and Daddy is the GIANT." That just about sums it up. At least for now.



James said, "I like the drinking the poison part. It's coming next." How did he remember that? Guess the movie'd had a bigger impact last summer than we thought it had. For someone who "hates" the movie, James sure did remember it scene for scene. I think he's been waiting right along with me for him to be old enough to enjoy it.

And when they reached the Fire Swamp, I asked James if he wanted me to fast-forward the whole Fire Swamp or just the ROUS's. He said, "Neither. I'll just hide under a blanket and listen." He really didn't want to miss anything. So with his little head peeking out from under a blanket, he endured the first two terrors of the Fire Swamp calmly, but I could tell he was ready to bolt when Westley got attacked, so I fast-forwarded anyway. Jonathan said, "It's just a man dressed up in a costume!" Didn't phase him at all.



The movie ventures into the world of plot development for a while, and this bored the boys, so their Wii golf club swords came in quite handy. For the remainder of the film, they froze and stared wide-eyed at the screen during all the action, and completely ignored the dialogue. While Buttercup is kissing her not-father-in-law and explaining to him that it's because she's killing herself once she reaches the honeymoon suite, both boys were to be found hanging upside down off the arms of their chairs, lazily wielding their Wii swords at the ceiling. James muttered, "When will they get to the part about the six-fingered man?" I thought to myself: In other words, we are men of action. Dialogue does not become us.

But the scene finally came, and both boys relished it, and I grabbed wildly for the remote to mute the one cranky word without ruining the line ("I want my father back, you [cranky words]!") and Jeff chuckled at me good-naturedly, and everyone was happy.



And as they reached for each other...

Nah...it's kissing again, you don' wanna hear dat...

But the boys, while not exactly *enjoying* the kissing part, were, in the end, willing to endure the line that swelled my heart throughout all of my teenage years. "Since the invention of the kiss, there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind."



And just before the grandpa closed his grandson's bedroom door, my boys heard a line they know and understand very well, because of how often their own daddy says it to them.

"As you wish."

They get that. And they got it.

And they came and hugged their parents with full hearts.

(And accidentally conked us on the head with plastic golf clubs).

This night was definitely worth the wait.