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Taken from the Stephen King novella THE BODY, this is the story of 4 kids who
hear of another kid who got hit by a train- and no one found the body. So begins their journey.
Personally, I don't believe any movie has ever captured the way kids talk,
act, move, breathe, etc., the way STAND BY ME does. These weren't Goonies or cardboard kids, they were real. If you know a film where kids are portrayed this real, please let me know. I have to see it today.

And it's not just the story (being a road movie, there isn't much of one, on
the outside), it's the way the kids relate to one another. With each having their own personality, the dynamic within the group changes, depending on who is talking to whom. Cool, tough guy Chris, destined for shop class. Vern, the chubby, histrionic, clueless yet lovable guy. Teddy, hardened by parental problems, perhaps grown up too fast. And Gordie, with a doe-eyed face full of wonder. It's Gordie's story, and we witness his change.

Wil Wheaten is Gordie, River Phoenix as Chris, Jerry O'Connell as Vern, and
believe it or not, Corey Feldman as Teddy. None of the leads have since done anything better.

Also, Kiefer Sutherland plays super bad guy Ace, Richard Dreyfuss is Gordie
grown up, and John Cusack plays Gordie's brother.

There are so many real 'moments' that it's hard to pick a few, but:

Gordie's "pie eating contest" story

Vern's turn to keep watch

The gun was really loaded

Lollipop (pop!)

When Gordie sees the deer and doesn' t tell anyone

"That's easy. Cherry Pez. Cherry flavor Pez. There's no doubt about it."

Who would win in a fight, Mighty Mouse or Superman?

Gordie's brother telling his family about Gordie's story at the dinner table

"Pinky swear"

Vern looking for his jar of pennies

Teddy breaking down when the junkyard guy makes fun of his father

No one thought to bring money for food

Tough guy Chris sobbing in private, to Gordie

The tree house

The leaches!

Vern saying "Sincerely"

"Sic balls!"


Even the backstory (Gordie's brother who died), the only part that comes
anywhere near trite, works. Also, I think they hit you on the head maybe one too many times regarding the parallel between the body they are looking for and Gordie's brother. But they sort of have to, because the film isn't really about the 4 kids on their journey but about Gordie...and his internal journey. He's at the age where kids start understanding things, and learn, and grow.

One thing I remember about seeing the film the first time is at the end of
the movie, when Richard Dreyfuss (who is writing the story we are watching) shuts his computer off (it may have been a word processor) without saving his work! I remember people in the audience groaning. Maybe if there is a director's track on the DVD, Reiner will comment on that.

A favorite movie should always have at least one favorite line. Again, there
are many to choose from. But, if I had to- "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"

I sometimes think I love this film so much because I was near the age these
kids were when the film took place. Maybe I'm biased by a nostalgia, like I am with THE WONDER YEARS. Or maybe not. Maybe I see these characters as being nailed perfectly and correctly.

So, my question now is, what the hell happened to Rob Reiner? He made SPINAL
TAP (a collaborative effort) then this. He was so promising. I remember seeing this movie the day it came out saying....Meathead is going to fool the world. Well, he did. He made a few great films, then went away (THE STORY OF US, NORTH). MISERY was a lot of fun, and everyone on Earth seems to like THE PRINCESS BRIDE except me, but......Come on, Rob! You need to take a day off, grab some friends, see a dead body, and grow.

STAND BY ME is a brilliant film. It's funny, and it's sad. It's a film that
can touch you. And that's pretty rare these days.

"It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of our lives like busboys in a restaurant."
-Richard Dreyfuss, as the older Gordie Lachance in STAND BY ME, 1986

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