a/perture Cinema, Bradley Gregg, Casey Siemesko, Corey Feldman, DVD.com, Gary Riley, IMDb, Jerry O'Connell, Keifer Sutherland, Netflix, Richard Dreyfus, River Phoenix, Rob Reiner, Rotten Tomatoes, Stand By Me, Stephen King, The Less Desirables, Wil Wheaton
a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movies of the Week, Stand By Me (1986), starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell.
Per IMDb: “After the death of a friend, a writer recounts a boyhood journey to find the body of a missing boy.”
The film starts with a writer (Richard Dreyfus) sitting in his car in the middle of a field with a confused, not-able-to-believe-it look on his face. He rereads a newspaper article about an attorney who was stabbed to death while trying to break up a fight in a fast food restaurant. This leads him to start telling a story of his childhood, his best friend, who was the attorney and two of their pals, who were a bit challenged in their own way.
The story is about Gordie (Wheaton), Chris (Phoenix), Teddy (Feldman) and Vern (O’Connell) and their trek to find the dead body of a boy their age that had been hit by a train and a county-wide search was going on to locate him. Turns out that Vern overheard his brother Billy (Casey Siemesko) and his fellow hoodlum Charlie Hogan (Gary Riley) say they found the body while ditching a stolen car. Vern knew the vicinity where the body was from the description his brother told. Billy and Charlie were part of a bigger gang involving Chris’ brother Eyeball (Bradley Gregg) and Ace Merrill played by a very young Keifer Sutherland. It was a race to find the body if anyone did.
Gordie’s brother Dennis had been killed in a car accident earlier that year and his parents had pretty much written him off. Chris’ whole family were pretty less desirable, except Chris, who tried his best to do the right thing and set the peace. Teddy’s dad was a former veteran who probably suffered from PTSD (although that wasn’t mentioned) and had a bit of a drinking problem. He held Teddy’s ear to a stove and burned it half off. His dad was in a mental institution. Vern was an overweight kid who was a bit of a screwup, but he was a lovable screwup. Any more and I’d be giving away all the good parts. Watch it for yourself.
I have stated before and I’ll state it again, I love films where adults are recounting their childhood with VO (voice overs) as the narrator. The Sandlot was another of those and Now and Then was another. This happened to be narrated by one of my favorite voices, Richard Dreyfus. He didn’t step on the story too much. He actually allowed the younger actors to take charge and tell their story and each of them were fantastic in their roles. Wil Wheaton went on to play on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Corey Feldman was a staple in many late 80s films, especially alongside Cory Haim. Jerry O’Connell grew up to be a non-fat kid that is a pretty good actor and is now married to Rebecca Romijn. The tragedy, however, is River Phoenix who passed away from a drug overdose at the age of 23 just outside of Johnny Depp’s Rainbow Room Lounge in LA. Such talent that was snuffed out by fate and bad decisions.
This happens to be my second favorite film of all time, right behind another adaptation of a Stephen King work; you’ll have to wait for that one. The pie eating scene from one of Gordie’s stories is both gross and hilarious all at the same time. Rob Reiner did a fantastic job of directing this and the screenplay adaption was spot on with little divergence of the original work. Again, watch it.
Rotten Tomatoes has it at 91% Fresh with an Audience Score of 94%. Wow. IMDb has it at 8.1 stars out of 10. It’s only available via Netflix‘s DVD.com I have it on DVD and it was one that was watched with my son, 3B. I rate this film 5 stars out of 5. One, I think it’s worth that rating and two, it holds such a nostalgic place in my heart. The soundtrack is fantastic as well and I wore out a copy of it on cassette and now own it on CD. Have you seen it? What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with me? What would you like to read/hear me review?
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” – The Writer