Stand By Me (1986)

Stand by Me
Directed by Rob Reiner
(number 75)

I remember my sister watching this film when I was a kid and how I saw two scenes that freaked me out. One was the story about Lard Ass and all the vomiting of blueberry pie and one was the scene with the swamp full of leeches. I was looking forward to watching this again – although didn’t expect t be watching it quite this soon.

Anna, Ellen, Blair and I went to the drive in movies to see 10 Things I hate About You but sadly there were technical difficulties. In the end they had a ‘honk off’ for the audience to choose between Grease and Stand By Me and Stand By Me won.

We had some issues with our radio not picking up the sound, but they were playing it loud enough outside that it was all good. I think I missed a couple lines, but not too many. I have to say I really enjoyed this. The barfing scene wasn’t nearly as gross as I’d thought it was as a kid and the leech bit gave me a weird feeling but it was over quickly. I was also surprised by the end, because I thought one of the kids got killed and they didn’t – except for in the epilogue.

What most impressed me about this movie was the performance of tiny babies Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix and Corey Feldman and OH HOLY FUCK JERRY O’CONNELL! Holy crap I didn’t realise it was him. HOLY CRAP.

I remembered reading on TV tropes about the enforced method acting things Rob Reiner did to the kids to get great performances, but I don’t know how much of that is true, really but it was in my head when I saw the scenes with the boys crying, and the tension between the main boys and the older, mean gang of kids led by Kiefer Sutherland.

I enjoyed the silly conversations, the landscape, and the small(ish) nature of the crises. It idealises the age of 12 where you’re not yet responsible for anything much, but you’re aware of the world and the people around you. The cruelty of your friends as well as the unwavering dedication. That said, it’s a totally male film. Around this age, girls (in my experience) tend to get insecure and catty about each other, with best friends changing around week to week. It’s hard to think of a similar kind of film to this with female characters, but then again I guess there aren’t really any other films like this one. Or maybe I’m just forgetting them.

It made me want to play Grace again. To explore that feeling. I suspect I’ll be watching this film again.

Does it make me love the people? If there’s a thing Rob Reiner can do, it’s make you love the characters.

Bechdel test: Nah, the only speaking women in the movie are moms and only called that. This is a movie about boys being boys and other boys being nasty boys and grown up men mostly being nasty as well. Is it because it’s set in the late fifties, or is it just a male story?

Best line:

Gordie: Do you think I’m weird?
Chris: Definitely.
Gordie: No man, seriously. Am I weird?
Chris: Yeah, but so what? Everybody’s weird.

and for the lulz:
Vern: There’s one thing I didn’t understand. Did Lardass have to pay to get in the contest?

State of Mind: A bit sad, a bit introspective and a lot entertained.

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