Sometimes the Movie is Better

It was a bubblegum sunset at the lake when I started reading the Princess Bride. It was a perfect night. We had just opened up the cabin and I was feeling tired, and just a little buzzed.

So when Matlock is playing on the TV for some strange reason, what do you do? At the lake, you read or you play cards.

And have maybe one or two glasses of wine.

Everybody needs a happy place, and how can you go wrong when the sunsets look like this:

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I appreciate them a lot less at 5AM in a cabin without blackout blinds

I picked up a paperback copy a few weeks back on Amazon. It is one of my favorite movies. Most people have it on their top twenty movies list, I’m sure. You know, the classic tale of high adventure and love, one of the most beloved movies of all time? That one.

Of course, since I don’t have Prime, I bought two copies and a beard trim kit for the free shipping. My version of a garden hose.

I thought it was enjoyable, for the most part. It was almost exactly like the movie except for one key difference: the author, William Goldman, kept interjecting himself into the book.

Now, I’m not talking that he wrote a character that was just like him. I can’t say I’m knowledgeable enough about the screenwriters of Hollywood to say that. I mean he was literally inserting himself into the book. I’d be getting into a rhythm and flying through some pages when all of a sudden, in brash italics, he would come in.

Oh hey, it’s me again. But you knew that cause of the italic. Let me go ahead and tell you a long story about how I was fighting with my wife in the spring of ’62 and so I started flirting with a girl thirty years younger than me. 

It ruined a perfectly classic story for me. I think it bugged me for two reasons:

  1. It’s not about you, buddy. It’s about the story. And as much as he led an interesting life, (RIP) it’s not something that has any place as he describes Westley or his relationship with Buttercup
  2. It just seems so conceited.

The second one is a very loaded statement. After all, you need at least a bit of an ego to write. If you go around thinking your shit isn’t good enough well, it isn’t.

It’s all how you look at it, after all.

And as a writer, the story is yours. Everything you write about is a reflection of yourself in one way or another. You either saw it and made it your own, or you pulled it out of the deep dark mess which is your unconscious mind.

But to actually interrupt the story to talk about yourself? Not a fan.

I was originally going to add a third option and say “IT’S NOT EVEN HIS STORY,” but I would have been wrong. He didn’t adapt it from some obscure Northern European writer, as he claimed. When I was researching this post I found that out. Super cool how he kept that ruse going all the way up until he died.

He claimed that the estate of this author, S. Morgenstern, was suing him for his abridgment of the story and the subsequent follow-up. He claimed that Steven King had been offered the lesser-known sequel, Buttercup’s Baby, by Morgenstern’s estate because he, Goldman, “didn’t get it right.”

And I bought it all. Hook, line and sinker.

I must admit that my respect for Goldman went up after having read that. He created a story within a story. An easily believable one because there was no reason for me to doubt him.

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Just watch the movie.

SO, for my tens of readers:

What did we learn this week?

  1. The movie is better than the book. I don’t say that often. Others which have gotten this somewhat (read: not at all) prestigious distinction?
    1. Fight Club. The book is good, but the movie did it so much better
    2. Gigli. Am I joking? Am I being serious? Who knows 😉
  2. You don’t need a great view to have a happy place. But it helps
  3. I strained my quad last Monday. I definitely took for granted how resilient my body was 10 years ago.
  4. I almost left my laptop at the lake. Could that be why I’m almost a week late in releasing this post?
  5. Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Means you need to drink Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum.

Later days,

M

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