Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Stand by Me

Stand by Me; drama, USA, 1986; D: Rob Reiner, S: Wil Wheaton, River Pheonix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, John Cusack, Richard Dreyfuss

Writer Gordie Lachance remembers his childhood in a small town of Castle Rock in the 50s: as a 12-year old, together with his friends Chris, Teddy and Vern, he went on a trip for two days into the forest in order to find the corpse of a boy, Ray, in order to become famous. They got this info from Vern's older brother Billy, who is a member of a notorious gang led by Ace. On their trip, they had many misadventures, prevented Ace to displace the corpse, yet abandoned their initial plan voluntarily and instead reported the corpse to the public anonymously. As grown ups, they lost their friendship and became strangers.

"Stand by Me" is an unusual coming-of-age film: even though it has several 'rough' edges and dubious choices (11-year old boys swearing in some scenes), it is essentially a bitter-sweet tale about growing up in the form of a road movie that sends a tragic message how many events we find irritating when we were kids may later become a source of nostalgia when we grow up due to the loss of innocence. Ultimately, every time period, whether good or bad, will end someday, and there will never be a one like it again. Based on Stephen King's rare dramatic story, "Stand by Me" has many excellent dialogues ("I've been dating a Catholic girl for a whole month and she only allowed me to touch her breasts!" - "Such are the Catholics. If you want to get laid, find a Protestant!"), events (after crossing a swamp, one boy realizes in horror that a leach is in his underwear), fantastic landscapes and overall an emotional and honest narrative that 'grows' on the viewers. However, one part in the film disrupts the mood completely: the unnecessary, vile Gordie's story about throwing up during the pie eating contest, which seems so out of place that one may wonder if an editor from "Porky's II" placed it there by accident. If there was ever a sequence suited for a "deleted scene", it was this one. Because of that, one can apply the same conclusion for "Stand by Me" as with all of Rob Reiner's films from his golden phase: very good, but there is still something missing to be considered an all time classic.

Grade;+++

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