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Stand by Me

Part Of Rodent's 15 Review Marathon Of The 1980s Classics And Their Sequels

Review #148 (3rd of 15): Stand By Me

Based on Stephen King's novel The Body... four school friends Gordy, Chris, Vern and Teddy are a pretty disparate group of kids.
Teddy is a bit of a wild child with a violent father, Vern is overweight and a bit dumb, Gordy is the smartest of the group and has a talent for telling stories and Chris is carrying the burden of being a thief due to his older brother having a reputation.
Gordy is also put upon by his family after his older brother died not long ago. His brother was seen as the first son obviously and Gordy feels he has been forgotten by his father, which upsets him deeply.

When word reaches their ears of the location of a missing boy from their school, the four pack some camping equipment and head out into the Maine wilderness for what they think will be grand adventure of discovery and a chance to get away from their tormented lives...

... what they discover though is themselves, each other, life lessons and discover that growing up to become men is a different experience than they all initially thought.

A lovely lovely movie full of some great acting and a wonderful screenplay.
Stand By Me has a brilliantly pieced together backstory too, there's lashings of history to the characters and it gives them a real and recognisable air that never fails to keep the viewer interested.

The screenplay itself is a little linear, but it doesn't spoil the film, it keeps things simple and doesn't confuse nor bore the audience. There is a nice twist/change in the linear screenplay that appears near the end that keeps things different though.

There's also a couple of little hits of more exciting cinema but it's kept relatively real and relatively small but still makes a mark on the audience.

There is however a greatly concieved soundtrack... most of it is based around the styles of the time and the title song works perfectly with the movie too.

That's all there is to say about the movie itself really, it's really all about the talent on show doing their best to back up the haunting series of events and backstory.

Jerry O'Connell as Vern, the fat kid that's bullied is a wonder to watch. He's funny and is the basis of most of the group's situation comedy.
Corey Feldman, as usual is brilliant. His take on the mentally disturbed but eccentric wild child is perfect and fits Feldman to a T.

Wil Wheaton plays Gordy, the smartest academically and is also played by Richard Dreyfuss as an older man. Dreyuss' narration is really good and adds an element of nostalgia to the proceesdings but Wheaton is the on screen Gordy, and he absolutely nails the role. It's by far Wheaton's best role to date.
The late great River Phoenix plays Chris, the other wild child with a twist. Phoenix really makes a mark on the viewer and really is the best actor on show of the main cast. He's also extremely intense when needed and carries the humour well too.

Back up comes in the form of Bradley Gregg, Gary Riley, the great Marshall Bell, Casey Siemaszko and Kiefer Sutherland as the leader of a group of bad boys that Chris' brother is part of.
John Cusack also makes a brilliant appearance in flashback as Gordy's deceased brother.


All in all, apart from the linear and slightly lacking script (I wanted to see more of our heroes and villains after the credits rolled), Stand By Me is a near perfect movie. Full of awesome acting, haunting subject matters and funny situational humour. This coming-of-age story is an absolute must see and the air of nostalgia that the movie has is top work, even though you've never met the characters before.

My rating: 97%