Monday, April 11, 2005

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

The Movie: The Princess Bride, 1987 (William Goldman, screenwriter, from his novel; Rob Reiner, dir.)
Who says it: Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, the world’s greatest swordsman
The context: This is the speech Inigo has been waiting to use all his life, as he plans his revenge. He repeats it. Several times.
How to use it: To announce your own plans for revenge. Repeat according to your level of obsession.

Just to prove a point, this whole week will be quotations from The Princess Bride. This line makes my Top Five Movie Quotes of All Time list, and was the only line on both my list and my friend John Erath's.

Ah, revenge. They're the best fantasies of all. My last effort to wreak revenge, as far as I remember, dates back 20 years. I set a chain of events in motion, everything happened exactly as I intended it to, and I felt absolutely terrible afterwards.

Because here's the dilemma of revenge: what happens next? You took your revenge, you vanquished your enemy, what'll you do for an encore? Live happily ever after? What's that mean?

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this question lately, because it's relevant to my own life -- not the revenge part, but the happily ever after part. What happens after you complete a long-range plan or receive your heart's desire? It's not possible just to say, "Great, thanks, I'm done now, think I'll quit while I'm ahead." The only answer, obviously, is to find something new to do, or something new to want... which right now, since I've come home from New York with a tearing chest cold, is a daunting prospect.

Rumors have circulated for years that William Goldman might write a sequel to The Princess Bride, to be called Buttercup's Baby. I hope he does, we all could use the guidance.


Tom Ehrenfeld said...

To reply with a movie line, and I shudder to think that I could actually cite at least two lines from Galaxy Quest (the other was an earlier post of yours, "did you ever watch the show?") but the line would be, and I paraphrase: "Hey Guy--did you ever think that maybe you were meant to be the plucky comic relief?" This line is delivered by Tony Shalhoub's character to the character played by Sam Rockwell (in my favorite performance of his,) and is meant to reassure Guy that he doesn't have to die as a minor character, that the image he's had of himself for years and years as a certain character on the show isn't cast in stone, even if the so-called historical documents are, um, cast.

At this moment in the movie, when the line is delivered with perfect comic timing, his suggestion is as great and comic relief, a notion that Guy doesn't have to be that guy any more. Henceforth he can be, in this, a plucky sidekick.

I'm not suggesting that you go out and buy a Harley, splurge on Bestsy Johnson frocks, or give yourself a new first name (Sandi with a heart-shaped dot over the I); but, yeah, isn't it kind of a kick to think that you have a choice, and right now. It's funny and it's scary and right now.


Anonymous said...

Though the vision of Answer Girl in a Betsey Johnson frock on a Harley brings a smile to my hot and sweaty face.

Singapore Sling

AnswerGirl said...

Hilarious, you guys. But learning to ride a motorcycle IS on my list of Things to Do Before I Turn 40, so I'd better hurry up. If I want to catch a ride on a Harley, all I need to do is hang out for a while at Al's Pizza, in Augusta...