Saturday, February 12, 2011

30 Days of Oscar: Day 16 - Stand by Me

Movie: Stand by Me
Year: 1987
Nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay
Wins: Nope - A Room with a View took it, and perhaps E.M. Forster is a more prestigious author than Stephen King, but personally, Stand by Me was awesome, and Children of a Lesser God was awesome, and The Color of Money was awesome, and Crimes of the Heart was very good, so I'm blaming this on the prestige of the source author rather than the quality of the sceenplay

I'll admit it: I'd never even see anything of Stand by Me ever.  When I was a kid it was rated above my age and then I just didn't want to see those particular actors (it took 20-odd years before Wil Wheaton wasn't a bit of a joke - love him on The Big Bang Theory as himself!).  Okay, and I still had this little kid thing of it being scary because it was about a dead body. Wow, was I depriving myself.  After overhearing his an older brother discussing it, River Phoenix, Jerry O'Connell, Wheaton, and Corey Feldman set out to see a dead body that was hit by a train.  It takes them more than a day to walk into the wood where the body was lost (it takes a while before it's actually found) and while not a road-trip movie, it's got all the hallmarks of it - guys bonding, trading secrets, fighting, risking their lives, etc., but they're walking along the train tracks. 

Their story is interspersed with the story of their older siblings, led by Keifer Sutherland and Corey Haim (Wheaton's older brother, John Cusack, died recently), a bunch of hoodlums who play mailbox baseball, carve their own tattoos, drink, etc.  They too want to be the ones who find the body, and get there a bit easier (they can drive).  However, Wheaton has had a bit of a awakening, his dad doesn't matter and he can be whoever he wants, and he pulls out a gun and no one gets to discover the body.  Richard Dreyfuss is Wheaton grown up, and is retelling the story, so we get to hear just enough voice-over to keep the story in perspective.  Overall, it's a great movie, though I might not have enjoyed it as much as a kid.  4.5 of 5 stars/lambs


Buttercup said...

I liked this a lot, but I loved "Room with a View."

Anonymous said...

I appreciate what it does well, but the older kid story just seems unnecessary for a good portion of the film.

Also, "A Room with a View" was much better than this. Such a great film.

Fletch said...

Ha - I thought of James' recent review when I saw this, and here he is.

Will Wheaton a joke? When? I'm no Trekker, but I've never thought that. He just always seemed nice.

Anyway, I'm glad but a bit surprised that you liked this so much. I hate to generalize and compartmentalize it so, but it seems like such a "boy" movie, and those generally aren't your bag.

The beauty of it is that the plot barely matters. It's all about friendship and those meaningless moments of childhood that end up holding a ton of meaning. Of course, it's also funny as hell and awesomely written. Ah, Rob Reiner...

Jess said...

Okay, okay, now I'll see Room with a View.

Fletch - I think that's probably why I never bothered to see it until now, it was a boy movie, but you're right, it's totally just about being a kid, a nerd, a friend, whatever.

I think the Wheaton stuff was mostly some sort of backlash over his leaving Star Trek for a great career that never materialized.

Mrs. Thuro's Mom said...

The funny thing about this: I was just thinking that my favorite film based on a Stephen King story was Delores Claiborne. No. Stand by Me is my favorite. Thanks for reminding me of a movie that I love and need to rewatch!