Stand By Me (1986)

When a man discovers that one of his childhood friends was recently killed, he tells the story of one of their summer adventures together with two other friends.  As book smart Gordie (Will Wheaton), oddball Teddy (Corey Feldman) and bad boy Chris (River Phoenix), hang out in their clubhouse their overweight and nerdy friend Vern (Jerry O’Connell) shows up with some news: after listening to his brother’s conversation, he know where they can find the dead body of a missing boy, and asks the gang if they want to go see it.  Although it is a 30 mile trip, they all agree and lie to their parents and head out to the train tracks to follow them to the corpse.

Each of these kids has their own problems: Gordie’s dad dislikes him as he will never live up to his dead brother, Teddy’s dad had a breakdown after coming back from WWII, Chris is viewed as a thug because he comes from a bad family and Vern is just sort of a loser.  All of these issues come to light during their travel to the outskirts of town.  Along the way, they of course run into all manner of situations. They are almost hit by a train, are attacked by leaches and a junk yard dog (not at the same time) and are almost killed by the leader of a local gang who wants the credit for finding the boy’s body.  The whole thing from start to finish is an emotional rollercoaster that the viewer shares with this group of kids.

Alex’s Thoughts: Confession time… this is the first time I’ve ever watched this movie, despite The Body being the first Steven King story I ever read. I’m not sure why I’ve never bothered to watch it before, as it is an 80’s classic, but that problem has been rectified.  I liked it; I’m not sure how you couldn’t.  It is a movie full of young good actors; much like The Outsiders, everyone went on to be an adult actor and were pretty successful (even Jerry O’Connell to a degree).  The dynamic of the group was interesting and their journey reminded me of dumb stuff we used to do as kids.  Richard Dryfus’ narration was really good, not Ron Howard Arrested Development good, but still really enjoyable.  Alex Rates This Movie 8/10

Tim’s Thoughts: I don’t care how old you are, or who you are, this is a GREAT MOVIE! You just don’t find this many talented child actors and get them into one movie. Especially when it’s not a kid’s movie. I have nothing bad to say about this, the directing is crisp, the pacing is perfect, it’s funny when it needs to be funny and has the appropriate amount of sadness/melodrama for the issues that it deals with. It’s nearly a perfect coming of age story that is relevant to any generation. I still remember friends that I had when I was about that age, and while we never went looking for a dead body (we didn’t find one either) we had plenty of misadventures, and what’s probably saddest of all is where those friends are now. I watch this and feel that pull in my heart to be 13 again, when the world was so big, you could make following railroad tracks for miles the adventure of a lifetime.  Enough of my rambling, this movie is great, and if you’ve already seen it, watch it again. Tim Rates This Movie: 10/10

“Boy, you don’t know nothing! Mighty Mouse is a cartoon. Superman’s a real guy. There’s no way a cartoon could beat up a real guy.”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here or add it to your Netflix queue