Classic Film Kid: Stand by Me
Hi all, it’s me, the Classic Film Kid, and I’m back with a second review. What classic are we reviewing today?, I hear you ask. Well, I am looking at Stand By Me, directed by Rob Reiner, and based Stephen King’s short story (or novella, as the formal word is), The Body. This film stars four kids, Gordie (Will Wheaton), Chris (River Phoenix), Teddy (Corey Feldman), and Vern (Jerry O’ Connell), who are best friends looking for the body of another neighbourhood kid, and during this little journey, their friendship develops and they learn to overcome their fears.
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this movie. Yes, this is a classic. By far what drives this film is the relationship between these characters and the dialogue that’s shared. This doesn’t feel like a film friendship, this feels like a really grounded, natural, proper friendship, and these kids are brilliant.
I thought Corey Feldman was even better than he was in The Goonies (future review maybe?), River Phoenix is really good at Chris and discovering that he died really young was quite sad, because I loved him in this, Jerry O’ Connell playing Vern, he was a really funny kid with some good charisma, but by far the most engaging character was in a way the main character, Gordie, played by Will Wheaton.
He is definitely the kid who has the most development and background, he is struggling with the death of his older brother, Danny (played by John Cusack) and as well as that, he’s not very brave, but learns to be more courageous as the film progresses, and Will Wheaton packs in a pretty good performance, with Richard Dreyfuss as an older Gordie narrating the film for us.
Now usually I don’t like narration in movies, as they always say ‘Don’t tell, show’ for films, but I feel
the narration fitted into the film decently to give the background and info needed. And as well as that, you’ve got Hooper from Jaws narrating for you, how can you go wrong with that?
There are also some scenes in this film which are just absolutely fantastic. My two personal favourites are this scene where all of the kids are on a train track and there is this train approaching, that was a great scene, and also this scene where Gordie is telling a story about this kid called Davie Hogan, nicknamed ‘Lard-Ass’ which is really creative, funny, and disgusting all at the same time. This film has a great heart, performances, dialogue, characters, and some fabulous standalone moments.
My problems with this film is that there is this extra group of gang characters, who are in a way
the villains, and when the film cuts away to this group, it does feel as if it’s losing just that little bit of steam. I appreciate what they were trying to do in adding more depth to the film, but as a great, simple, heartwarming coming-of-age film, this wasn’t really needed or warranted. When they’re in the finale and the big confrontation, that’s great, I loved the finale and closure to this film, but up to then, these characters weren’t very compelling, and did make me think “Oh, for crying out loud, get back to the kids”.
Also, there are some moments where Vern’s scaredy-cat personality becomes a bit too
prominent in the film, and he does get that bit annoying.
But apart from that, I had a great time with Stand By Me. It is a simple, clever and emotional coming-of-age experience that is a classic, maybe not as one of the greatest films of all time but definitely in the coming-of-age genre, and I will give this movie an eight-and-a-half out of ten. Thanks again for reading my second classic film review. The next review will be for The Matrix, the science-fiction extravaganza directed by the Wachowski’s. Until then, enjoy the movies and goodbye.