People have been handling the stress of 2020 in different ways; from exercising, to binge-drinking, to building giant cardboard Transformers.
It seems like a lot of people have been turning to nostalgia as a kind of self-therapy -- which makes total sense; nostalgia can be psychologically beneficial during "times of loss, anxiety, isolation, or uncertainty." One particular movie that keeps popping up in the pop-cultural discourse is The Princess Bride, Rob Reiner's beloved 1987 comedic fantasy starring Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, and the giant rat that still occasionally pops up in your nightmares even as an adult.
Earlier this summer, a bunch of celebrities decided to spend quarantine remaking the entire friggin' movie on their phones for charity. Home Movie: The Princess Bride was bought and distributed by Quibi, the Die Hard henchman of streaming services that somehow isn't dead yet. The result is an occasionally charming fan remake that features both A-list movie stars and a sex tape's production values.
This past weekend, the original's cast reunited for a virtual table read. Even though it was over Zoom, you could still cut the sexual tension with a dueling sword.
So what is it about The Princess Bride that makes it so insanely comforting? Sure the actors are great, the story's fun, and Mark Knopfler's synthesizer skills are tight, but maybe there's something more about this movie in particular that makes it specifically soothing today. Perhaps it's not the story itself, but its unique framing device. The film opens with little Fred Savage, and we essentially see everything through his eyes. Like so many of us, he's stuck inside thanks to an illness. Peter Falk, Columbo himself, pops by and, over the course of an hour and 38 minutes, makes everything better.
And isn't that what we're all secretly longing for these days? Someone to come along and make you feel better? At the very least, the movie is particularly relevant because it shows us how the characters are using escapist stories to distract from the world's crappiness. Of course, it's totally possible that the kid was just faking being sick to skip school and play Nintendo HardBall all day.
Top Image: 20th Century Fox