August 29, 2009

Stand By Me - 1986

Director: Rob Reiner
Writers: Bruce A. Evans & Raynold Gideon
Starring: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell

"It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of our lives, like busboys in a restaurant. " In Rob Reiner's Stand By Me, four 12-year-old boys set off into the Oregon woods in August of 1959 in search of a dead body.

I was expecting quite a different movie than I got. Before tonight, I had only seen once scene of the film, which lulled me into the false belief that this was going to be a comedy, which made sense considering some of Reiner's other work. All the boys have family issues: a dead brother (played by John Cusack, of all people), a battle-fatigued WWII vet father, things of that nature. While there are a few comedic moments, the film is mostly serious, especially one scene in particular involving leeches, although it's all very tame for a Stephen King adaptation. And for mostly child actors that never got big as adults, the performances are phenomenal! They can go from over-the-top excited to verbally abusing each other to openly weeping in no time flat. Another thing I liked about the young actors: the roles were edgy. These kids were smoking cigarettes and cursing up a storm; while I wouldn't approve of such things in real life, there was a certain draw to the viscality of the characters for me because of that. I wish I had seen this one sooner, or better yet, had a group of friends like the ones in Stand By Me when I was younger. Everybody needs somebody they can have a good time with, but also knows they'll look out for them.


  1. For me, it's a very real film. Obviously fictional, but the performances give such a brutally honest view into the minds, concerns, and intentions of this group of disobedient 12 year olds. It's really powerful. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Also, the end makes me tear up.

    "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"

  2. This was an awesome movie. I too was expecting something quite different.