Nov 14, 2008

Stand By Me

Most coming of age films are pretty lame, especially when you “come of age.” One coming of age film that I can say that I still have an appreciation for is Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me. As a child, I thought the film was the “deepest” and “coolest” of films about kids. I also felt as a 12 year old, searching for the dead body of a fellow kid would be quite the adventure. Whether people want to believe it or not, looking for a dead body is something that every adolescent male would participate in with his friends if he got the opportunity.

Most of my friends from when I was 12 years old are now criminals and aimless high school dropouts. Unfortunately, I have even heard some of them have had kids. The narrator of Stand By Me mentions that you have your best friends at age 12 and believe that to be true. It’s the time in your life when things start to get exciting and very few friends have pretensions. It is also a time when you still don’t have to take life too seriously and you feel as if you’re invincible. The young men featured in Stand By Me get involved in more than a few dangerous things.

The boys in Stand By Me also encounter a group of high school criminals that have a greaser style. Kiefer Sutherland leads this gang of petty hoodlums with a soft spoken voice of sadism. The difference between the young boys and older boys is obvious. When you get to the age of the high school boys, the subversive games become serious. The older boys never really grow up and just end up degenerate criminals.

River Phoenix stars in the film as the tough 12 year old Chris. A campfire confessional between Chris and Gordie foreshadows a gay campfire confessional with River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves in My Own Private Idaho some years later. Stand By Me is one of few coming of age films that brings up somewhat serious issues between 12 year old boys. Corey Feldman also appears in the film as an eccentric kid named Teddy whose father tried to burn his ear off. I am sure everyone has known a kid in their life with similarly odd behavior.

One of the most standout scenes in Stand By Me involves a leech in a place it shouldn’t be. When I first saw this scene as a child, I was almost traumatized. Another great scene is when Gordie tells his story about a kid named lardass who pays his whole town back via projectile vomit. Stand By Me is full of many memorable scenes with equally memorable characters. Sadly, today’s youth are probably only exposed to politically correct feel good garbage.

-Ty E

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Totally agree with today's kids only being exposed to garbage. This film is definitely a classic.