A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Stand by Me
A writer recounts a Labor Day weekend when he was twelve years old in the small town of Castle Rock, Oregon when he sought out with three of his close pals in search of the dead body of a missing boy one of them overheard their brother talking about. Their journey becomes a pivotal point in all of their lives as the four ruminate about life and enjoy what may be their last summer of childhood. Rob Reiner's "Stand by Me" is based on the Stephen King novella The Body and is a coming of age story that plays as a series of vignettes and conjures up feelings of childhood nostalgia. The events in the movie did not specifically remind me of my own childhood, but the general longing for those years that the film creates is remarkable. Reiner's direction is wonderful as he follows the boys down that wooded railroad path and fully engages all of his child actors. With the exception of Corey Feldman, who is irritating as one of the four, and John Cusack, who has always bothered me, as the protagonist's recently deceased brother seen in flashback, the cast is extraordinary. I really liked the work of Kiefer Sutherland as the sinister yet well spoken teenage punk and Jerry O'Connell as the hapless fat kid in the group, but who towers over all is River Phoenix who plays an underestimated poor kid and reaches depths that are not usually associated with child actors. The film also has a wonderful soundtrack comprised of 1950s jukebox hits. I had some problems with the movie. Richard Dreyfuss' reflective narration is distracting and unnecessary and when the film seeks to be more existential in nature it just comes off as haughty. Still, the movie wonderfully captures the essence of childhood and brings us back to a time when are main concerns were comic books, spitballs, and baseball.