movie: Stand by Me (1986)

Some months from now, you will see my review of Stephen King’s The Body, by Aaron Burch. One of the Bookmarked series, this slim book combines personal essay with literary appreciation – or in this case, film appreciation. Stand by Me is a movie based on Stephen King’s novella “The Body,” out of Different Seasons (a collection that also included “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”). For this reason, I put the book down halfway through to see this movie for the first time.

stand by meReleased in 1986, set in flashbacks to 1959, Stand by Me stars River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell as four childhood friends. Over a weekend, they hike through the woods to view the dead body of a boy their age, learning along the way about friendship and loss. It is a coming-of-age story.

I think I can see Burch’s attachment to this film, but it had a different effect on me, coming to it in adulthood. The emotional tones are there: sweet friendship, the pain of helpless childhood and loss at any time of life, nostalgia. I get them all, but I can see from here how they work; I didn’t get bowled over as Burch did. It is undeniably a sweet and sad story, though.

I marveled at how loving these boys are: lots of hugging, arms around one another, extended eye contact, explicit words of comfort. Have we gotten more homophobic as a culture since these days? I can’t see little boys loving each other this earnestly and physically today, which is sad. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope I am.

I enjoyed the humor, the pathos and the loving friendships. It was worth my time – especially in being able to appreciate Burch’s story. But I’m afraid it doesn’t have the same effect on an adult today that it did on a kid in the 1980’s, and I regret that. I’m also interested in “The Body” now (of course).

A worthwhile snapshot in time, but not one that reads the same now, unsurprisingly.


Rating: 7 cigarettes.

4 Responses

  1. Still works all of these years later. Nice review.

  2. […] recently reviewed Stand by Me, which I found just so-so. I watched it to better appreciate a book (review still forthcoming) […]

  3. […] chosen genres (horror, fantasy), and outside those genres has given inspiration to movies scripts (Stand by Me, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption), which can be considered fluffy as well. I thought […]

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