Have fun storming the castle (a bit late)!

Click on this to blow it up.

Click on this to blow it up.

I missed this reunion of the cast of “The Princess Bride” when it happened a couple of years ago (to celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary), but since I just ran across it today, I thought I would share.

The photo, near as I can tell, came from Entertainment Weekly. Here are some close-ups from it.

So you want me to go back to politics and other serious stuff? As you wish…

45 thoughts on “Have fun storming the castle (a bit late)!

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        She’s only 47, and has copped to using Botox. It helps to look like Robin Wright at 47 if you looked like her at 27. See also, Brinkley, Christie, and Turlington, Christy….

        Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        I finished binging on Season 2 of House of Cards on Monday. As someone who is a cynical observer of the political process. it’s like crack for me.

        The way that the Congressmen and lobbyists engage in trading votes for support of their own personal political power or financial benefit is likely spot on… jockeying for positions in party leadership or committee membership.

        I did enjoy how the DEMOCRATS on the show were able to push through an increase in the Social Security retirement age to 68. Too bad no politician has the guts to touch that third rail.

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        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          It’s interesting. You’re not the first government-hater I’ve run across who loves the show. I saw that Will Folks wrote several months back about how HE loved it, and how people he would term liberals or RINOs hate it, and his explanation was that it makes government look evil and venal, which is the way he believes it is.

          I dislike it (I never finished watching the first season, although I may go back and do so, out of morbid curiosity) for two reasons:

          1. The utter lack of sympathetic characters. This is always a turnoff for me in fiction of any kind. It’s why I didn’t like Bonfire of the Vanities, even though I love Tom Wolfe’s nonfiction. In the original British version, you could sort of care about the young reporter whom the central character was using, but in the American version, they made that character completely unsympathetic. You find yourself hoping that the same thing happens to her that happened in the British version, so you don’t have to see her anymore. (And don’t tell me whether it happens or not, since I haven’t finished the first season!) You could sort of care about the loser congressman with the drug problem, but not all that much…

          2. It’s so grossly unrealistic. You and Will watch this, and see people who are very effective at being evil. And that’s where it breaks down — they’re very effective. People in politics, from the officeholders to the consultants, are seen as being diabolically clever, and manage to pull off all sorts of stunning feats, from acts of legislation to acts of betrayal. In real life, it’s a lot more like the Keystone Kops — and these days, lawmakers never accomplish anything, for good or ill. The fact that they do on this show puts it into the realm of fantasy.

          As I said when I wrote about it before, it’s like science fiction in that it depicts a white Democrat from South Carolina. The fact that he’s an effective white Democrat from South Carolina makes it even more far-fetched.

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            There are at least three sympathetic characters in Season 2… all were in Season 1 and have expanded roles in Season 2.

            There is only one scene in Season Two that fell into the “Oh, come on!!!!” category.

            I think you need to watch it without your rose colored glasses on. This isn’t science fiction, it’s based on reality just in compressed form. It’s funny how people can watch shows like Firefly and enjoy stuff that is completely made up from thin air but scoff at a series about politics where characters are power hungry, self-centered, and unethical. Like that can’t or doesn’t happen…

            Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            Fictional characters doing things that have been done over and over within the government (except for the murders — maybe?) … unlike science fiction where things are just made up completely, defying all “science” like physics, biology, etc.

            Never been a fan of science fiction, especially movies like Star Wars. They defy logic. I recall one of them where a certain group of people were flying around on some sort of lizard creatures while engaging in combat with Jedis (please forgive me nerds if I use the wrong term) who were flying in little spaceships. Gee, the technology exists to create spaceships but we choose instead to fly on lizards? Then there was the one where young Luke Skywalker is living in some sort of mud hut in a desert yet somehow the technology exists to create a hovercraft? How about just creating an air conditioner first?

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          2. Scout

            Doug, It is the underlying themes and patterns in science fiction and fantasy that relate to life as we know it here. I have trouble relating to not being able to see that.

            You say that those scenes you describe defy logic. To me the underlying themes and patterns from those scenes describe very believable and realistic situations – just swap the details for earthly things, the pattern stays the same. Perhaps believable and realistic is not necessarily also logical by your definition, but still its the way things work. Can you not imagine a situation on Earth where a more advanced culture with more advanced technology fought and conquered a culture with much more primitive technology. Spaceships and lizards become iron weapons vs. primitive ones. Would you look at real history and say, I don’t believe this happened because it’s not logical; if iron weapons existed everyone would have had them? Nope, not instantly. Someone had them first.

            I also can imagine that in a very poor community in a world where technology exists, a poor family might only be able to afford the technology that allows them to make a living and not technology that makes their life more comfortable. I’ve been on mission projects in rural South Carolina where I’ve encountered people who have cars but no indoor plumbing. We dug outhouses for them.

            You may not think it is logical, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

            Reply
          3. Doug Ross

            “Can you not imagine a situation on Earth where a more advanced culture with more advanced technology fought and conquered a culture with much more primitive technology”

            Yes. The U.S. government versus the American Indians.

            Could a person with a home that has an outhouse own a car? Sure. Would a person who can own a hovercraft and robots live in a mud hut? No.

            Science fiction isn’t science. It’s fiction. It’s imaginary. Need a flying lizard? You got one. Need a horse faced moronic alien named Jar Jar Binks? Go ahead. Need a light saber? Vrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrppp… there you go.

            I grew up reading Tom Swift and his Ultrasonic Cycloplane. Then I grew up.

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          4. Scout

            “Could a person with a home that has an outhouse own a car? Sure. Would a person who can own a hovercraft and robots live in a mud hut? No.”

            Wow, you really don’t do so well respecting that different cultures, even fictional ones, might function in ways that seem odd or even ridiculous to an outsider to that culture

            I guess you are omniscient and thus it is appropriate for you to pronounce that “No” a person who can own a hovercraft and droids would not live in a mud hut. Nevertheless, many cultures cling to traditions that produce contradictory juxtapositions.

            Why shouldn’t fictional cultures function like real ones? Cultural practices evolve for a mishmash of odd reasons are not necessarily logical. You certainly are not in a position to say what could or couldn’t happen in any culture – fictional or real – that you have no knowledge or experience with.

            It’s fine with me if you reject science fiction, but your stated reasons for rejecting it don’t make much sense to me.

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          5. Doug Ross

            You realize you are trying to convince me that a “culture” that was invented for a MOVIE might be real one day? and that I should respect it? Seriously? Should I also start speaking Klingon in case I happen to run into a Vulcan someday?

            I have no problem with respecting other cultures… real ones. I spend most of my work life with people who are not from the U.S. We get along very well.

            Do you realize how much time you spend trying to “educate” me on the proper way to think?

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          6. Doug Ross

            “It’s fine with me if you reject science fiction, but your stated reasons for rejecting it don’t make much sense to me.”

            I wouldn’t think they would. We are different people.

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          7. Doug Ross

            And let’s not forget what started this tangent… Brad saying he didn’t like House of Cards because ” It’s so grossly unrealistic. ”

            I’m supposed to respect made up stuff while Brad thinks a show about corrupt politicians is unrealistic. Okay… Apparently events like Watergate, Iran Contra, Operation Lost Trust, Abscam, The Keating Five (including his own favorite Presidential candidate) didn’t register as real life stories for him. They’re as phony as Bobba Fett.

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          8. Scout

            “You realize you are trying to convince me that a “culture” that was invented for a MOVIE might be real one day?”

            No I don’t realize that. I never argued it might be real one day.

            You argued that it was not believable because it defied logic. I merely pointed out that it was believable because it defies logic in exactly the same way that real cultures do. My thesis is that cultures depicted in science fiction are often as plausible as those that actually exist – even if, or perhaps because, they often contain contradictions like the ones you pointed out. If you don’t like science fiction, fine, don’t like it. But rejecting it on the basis of the examples you gave seems unsound to me. Sorry, that’s my opinion.

            I’m not trying to “educate” you about anything. Not sure why you decided to put that in quotes. I’m merely stating my opinion, which is something you do here an awful lot – a good bit more often than I do.

            I think I chose to respond to this because it truly saddens me that you miss the value of science fiction and fantasy writing. I personally find a lot of value in it. I don’t usually respond unless something matters to me. When you reject a genre I value out of hand and give examples for doing so that contain inconsitencies, I will tend to respond.

            There – we have both stated our opinions. I find value in science fiction/fantasy. You don’t. Now we know. Carry on.

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          9. Scout

            “And let’s not forget what started this tangent… Brad saying he didn’t like House of Cards because ” It’s so grossly unrealistic. ”

            I’m supposed to respect made up stuff while Brad thinks a show about corrupt politicians is unrealistic. Okay… Apparently events like Watergate, Iran Contra, Operation Lost Trust, Abscam, The Keating Five (including his own favorite Presidential candidate) didn’t register as real life stories for him. They’re as phony as Bobba Fett.”

            Thinking something is unrealistic is a valid reason for not liking it. You dislike science fiction because you think it is unrealistic. Brad dislikes House of Cards because he thinks it is unrealistic. That’s fine. I have no opinion on the reality of House of Cards. I’ve not seen it. But I happen to disagree with you about science fiction being unrealistic because I tend to look at the underlying themes of things and I find the themes in science fiction to still be relevant to life here on Earth no matter where the story is set. You tend to focus more on the surface details, which admittedly are rather arbitrary and completely made up. That’s fine too.

            So we are different. That’s all. I’m pretty sure you use sensing as your mode of perceiving so you tend to focus on surface details. I use intuition, so I tend to focus on underlying themes. I’m guessing this is one reason science fiction works for me and not you.

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          10. Doug Ross

            You’re a teacher. Your nature is to teach. I’m past the age of requiring education on how to interpret science fiction. Or an analysis of my style of perception. You don’t have a clue about me.

            When you suggested that I don’t have an appreciation for other cultures because I find the concepts presented in many mainstream science fiction to be bogus, you made a huge leap that you think can be categorized as analysis.

            The difference is I don’t care if you like or dislike any form of literature and don’t feel the need to defend the literature I like to convince you to think otherwise. I like stupid movies, biting satires, and Bruce Springsteen. If you like engaging in literature about aliens in bars or Ewok furries or magic spaceships, be my guest.

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          11. Brad Warthen Post author

            And just to clarify once again, I didn’t say I think “a show about corrupt politicians is unrealistic.”

            I said I think THIS show, which is about super-competent politicians who get big, dramatic things done in Washington in the year 2014, is unrealistic.

            I don’t just think that. I KNOW that.

            In fact, now that I’m about a third or more of the way through the second season, all the bad stuff is starting to fade to the background, and I’m starting to think the country might be better off if life were like “House of Cards.” So there’s a murder here and there? Hey, there’ve always been a lot of murders in D.C. But the government depicted on this show WORKS…

            Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Right. It was fairly clear in the British series that we’re talking Swiftian satire — so extremely over the top that you can laugh at it.

      The American series doesn’t capture that same dark, farcical tone as well.

      At least, the parts I’ve seen…

      As for Firefly… there’s actually a connection between the two. As y’all know, I watch Netflix each evening while working out on my elliptical trainer. The last few days, I’ve been making my way through the entire season of “Firefly” — and this time, I’m going to do what I never did before, and watch the last (unaired) episode.

      I just have a few days left, after which I’m going to start watching the unwatched episodes of “House of Cards,” and then do the second season. So… another couple of weeks, and I’ll have watched that.

      Now, as to the relative merits… “Firefly” is wonderful precisely because almost all the characters, including some of the villains (such as Badger) are lovable to some extent. Take Jayne Cobb — far from an admirable character, but lovable. And of course, Kaylee is adorable. The only character I don’t like is the doctor, but I agree with Jayne that it’s “noble as a grape” the way he looks after his sister.

      Also, to explode the myth that makes Will and Doug think people don’t like “House of Cards” because of their political views — the characters on “Firefly” are NOT like me politically at all. They’re a bunch of interplanetary libertarians. But they’re lovable interplanetary libertarians, so even I can enjoy their defiance of the Alliance — even though it runs against my Tory sensibilities as one who respects the rule of law… I mean, westerns are enjoyable — and that’s what Firefly is — even if you’re like me and you know for sure that during the expansion of the West, you would have done everything you could to stick to civilization on the East Coast. I mean, you know, I don’t even like to go CAMPING…

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  1. Doug Ross

    As an example of a real life “House of Cards” subplot – last week the U.S. Senate voted to raise the debt ceiling. How was that accomplished? By the Republican leadership forcing a couple Republican Senators to vote yes while they voted no. That allows them to tell their constituents they were against it while actually allowing it to pass. Things like that happen ALL the time. They barter votes for things that allow them to stay in office or gain power.

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    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Nothing surpasses the kind of dealing for votes — including giving government jobs to lame-duck Democrats — that Lincoln engaged in to pass the 13th Amendment. But it was in a noble cause. Now THAT was drama worth depicting.

      As drama goes, a debt ceiling fight is a measure of how far we’ve sunk as a country. We have these huge, titanic battles over nothing…

      Back then, we had them over things that mattered, and the world changed for the better as a result…

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    2. Kathryn Fenner

      Nobody kills people to get ahead in Murrican politics, for one thing….

      Compromise and quid pro quo are how you get things done. Not stand on your principles gridlock, unless you are the Tea Party and that IS what you want to get done….

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      1. Doug Ross

        Compromise when trading something you don’t own isn’t compromise. Spending other people’s money to get something you want makes the decision making very easy.

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          1. Doug Ross

            Yeah. that happens all the time. Voters don’t know what’s going on. They are spoon fed via television ads.

            Stupid people = stupid government

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    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, and I would think anyone would prefer the “Princess Bride” Robin Wright to the “House of Cards” version…

      I mean, who wouldn’t say “As you wish” to her?

      Reply
  2. Bryan Caskey

    You know how much I love commenting here, but I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I’m swamped.

    Reply
  3. Bryan Caskey

    I would sooner destroy a stained glass window than an artist like yourself. However, since I can’t have you following me either…we’re gonna need a new thread.

    /hits thread on head with hilt of sword

    Reply

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