I wasn't sure whether to review the movie or the semi-autobiographical book, but for once this Stephen King article transfers finely to the screen. In fact, the movie adaptation is even better to me. Starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell as four young boys facing the last summer of their childhood before entering that strange land known as teenagers'.
This story is narrated by Richard Dreyfuss, the grown up Wheaton who became a writer. Upon hearing of the death of one of his friends, he reminisces about that last wonderful year they all were truly together. ~~flashback~~ the boys are sitting in their treehouse drinking, smoking, swearing and talking about sex as young boys do when the talk suddenly turns to a missing boy their own age, presumed dead by elders.
O'Connell knows where the body is because he heard his older brother discussing it with is pals. Of course the older boys, part of a tough gang, can't tell the police because they found it while joy riding in a stolen car. The four young guys set out to discover the body - considering it neat' - and this is the true crux of the story.
The backgrounds of these four boys is as diverse as can be: Wheaton has a father that has no in depth feeling for his son, after losing his older son (John Cusack) in an automobile accident. Wheaton is a dreamer and weaver of tales and often holds the other three in suspense with his stories; Phoenix is the typical hard edged character that gravitates to these types of groups, always looked at with a wary eye by teachers and parents, the kid that goes around in jeans and a teeshirt with the sleeves rolled up and hair slicked back. In fact, he is probably he wisest of the four, having to fend for himself at home and usually has to be the peacemaker for the group; Feldman is the gawky kid, broken black frame glasses type, thin, neglected by his mother and teased by his peers because his father, former soldier, is locked up in a mental hospital; and last but not least, O'Connell, the typical chunky boy always on the edge of a group. The fact that these boys are considered outsiders at school is what pulls them together.
They begin their 20 mile trek, via the railroad tracks, to find the body of their classmate. Running into the typical hardships along the way and being scared out of their wits by Wheatons' stories around the campfire at night, they finally arrive at their destination. Not expecting the group of older boys to return to the scene of the crime, they are astounded to find them already there and a fight ensues, until one of the younger boys produce a gun and the others back off.
Perhaps the most telling scenes in the movie are when the boys finally view the body of this young boy. Speaking of it is one thing, observing it live is another. Their reactions and feelings, and what they finally decide to do makes this story what it is. Then there is the scene of the famous pie eating contest, one of Wheatons' great stories, that has no relevance to the movie other than the fact it is funny and SO 12 year old boys.
Another fine factor to this movie is the fantastic background of wonderful music that helps pull you along nostalgia road for a while. One of the truly finest movies I have seen in a long while and if it weren't for the rowdy language by the young boys, probably would make a fine family movie. A MUST for a parents to see!
THE CAST Wil Wheaton - Gordie Lachance River Phoenix - Chris Chambers Corey Feldman - Teddy Duchamp Jerry O'Connell - Vern Tessio Richard Dreyfuyss - adult Wheaton Kiefer Sutherland - Ace Merrill Casey Swiemaszko - Billy Tessiio Bradley Gregg - Eyeball Chambers John Cusack - Denny Lachance Gary Riley - Charlie Hogan Andy Lindberg - Lardass Hogan
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Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
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Based on Stephen King's novella THE BODY, director Rob Reiner's STAND BY ME is the disarmingly tender and subtly sublime story of four kids on the precipice of early adulthood who embark upon a quest. There's Gordie (Wil Wheaton), the intelligent, creative one with the obviously bright future. His best buddy, Chris (River Phoenix), hardens his image in order to hide the pain from the physical abuse he endures at home, all the while harboring the hope of escaping that image. Rounding out the foursome are Vern (Jerry O'Connell), the pudgy tagalong, and Teddy (Corey Feldman), a loyal and funny but troubled kid with a death wish. <br> <br> When the four boys hear about a dead body 20 miles down the railroad tracks from their small Oregon town, they clandestinely set upon the unwieldy journey to lay eyes on this rare find. Amid numerous misadventures, Gordie, Chris, Vern, and Teddy savor what may be their last chance to revel in the simple life of children; around the corner is a future that could tear them ...