Rob Reiner

Stand by Me (1986)

Stand by Me (1986)

  • Born:  1947
  • Rank:  89
  • Score:  500.15
  • Nominations:  3 DGA / 4 Golden Globes
  • Feature Films:  14
  • Best:  The Princess Bride
  • Worst:  North

Top 5 Films:

  1. The Princess Bride – 1987
  2. Stand by Me – 1986
  3. When Harry Met Sally – 1989
  4. This is Spinal Tap – 1984
  5. A Few Good Men – 1992

Top 10 Director Finishes (Nighthawk Awards):

  • 1984 -9th – This is Spinal Tap
  • 1986 – 6th – Stand by Me
  • 1987 – 6th – The Princess Bride
  • 1989 – 8th – When Harry Met Sally

Most of what I can possibly say about Rob Reiner was already said here.  Of course, once you read that you’ll wonder how he still managed to make the list.  Of course I wrote that post before I came up with my current point system.  And once you get certain kinds of points (for top 5 films or for awards), you can’t ever lose those points.  So while Reiner has been moving steadily down (if I did the point system just after his first 5 films he would have scored a 624 and would be ranked in the top 40), he has not quite yet managed to fall off the list.

The Princess Bride – #1 film of 1987 (and #2 of the 80’s)

The Princess Bride is all things.  They even let you know that in the film.  It’s got fencing, excitement, revenge, true love.  Is it a kissing book?  Yes, and a kissing film.  Because it’s a fantasy, a comedy, an action film, an adventure film, a romance filled with suspense.

Of course it began life as a book, not an actual book by S. Morgenstern as the film would lead you to believe (or William Goldman would lead you to believe), but a brilliant post-modern book that purports to just be the good parts of an old stuffy classic.  From the start it falls on the short-list of greatest opening lines of a novel (“This is my favorite book in all the world though I have never read it.”), but with its closing lines it lands on the very short list with Catcher in the Rye, A Tale of Two Cities and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for brilliant openings and closings (“I just want to say for the umpty umpth time that life isn’t fair.  It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.”).

But then it became a film and Goldman brilliantly kept the framing motif that he had used in the novel, bringing in the grandfather to read the book and make many of the same comments that Goldman’s father supposedly would say when reading it to Goldman as a child.  And in the end we have a film that rivals Monty Python and the Holy Grail as the most quotable film ever made (I have seen it at the Baghdad theater in Portland, OR with a full crowd of people who all know every single line), and there are so very many (“My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.”  “Is this a kissing book?”  “It’s inconceivable!”  “Unless I am wrong, and I am never wrong, they are headed directly into the fire swamp.”  ” ‘We’ll never survive.’  ‘Nonsense.  You’re only saying that because no one ever has.’ ”  “Life is pain, highness.  Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.”  “Who said life is fair?  Where is that written?”).  And those are just the lines that immediately spring to mind as I write this.

And of course, perhaps the single best line.  The line that sums up all the love between a beauty and a farm boy.  The line that comes back in hilarious fashion as a man rolls down a hill.  The line that defines every moment of the film when said with loving care from a grandfather to a grandson.

“As you wish.”