Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I WAS 12 GOING ON 13 THE FIRST TIME I SAW A DEAD HUMAN BEING
"IF I COULD ONLY HAVE ONE FOOD TO EAT FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE? THATS EASY. PEZ. CHERRY FLAVORED PEZ. NO QUESTION ABOUT IT"
Stand By Me was directed in 1986 by filmmaker Rob Reiner and is based on a book by Stephen King entitled The Body. The film is a story about four boys and their coming of age in America. I enjoyed the film because it is a reminder of childhood and friendships I formed during that period.
Taking place in 1959, all four boys are about twelve years old and each has their own social problems. The film documents a trip the four boys take to find a dead body. Throughout this trip they experience random adventures and become closer friends. My favorite part of the film is when Gordie Lachance tells his story about Lard-Ass. Lard-Ass is a fictional character that represents the local dunce. Everyone in town picks on him and provides him no respect. In an effort to get back at the town and its citizens, Lard-Ass enters a pie eating competition. Lard-Ass eats several volatile substances prior to the event. This enables him to vomit everywhere during the event. His vomit causes a domino effect and everyone in the audience starts throwing-up. Once Lard-Ass sees the beauty of his plan unfolding in front of him, he just sits back in admiration.
The four main characters are: Gordie Lachance, played by Wil Wheaton, Chris Chambers played by River Phoenix, Teddy Duchamp played by Corey Feldman and Vern Tessio played by Jerry O’Connell. Stand By Me also stars Keifer Sutherland, John Cusack and Richard Dreyfuss in less prominent parts. I like seeing these young actors in this film because most went on to become famous movie stars. However, River Phoenix did not live much longer after this film. He died at twenty-three years of age due to a cocaine and heroin overdose. During the night of his death, Johnny Depp, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and his younger brother Joaquin were present and also under the influence.
This film stands up over time because it addresses issues that are central to everyone’s childhood. Each of the four boys has problems of their own. Gordie is a smart and intellectual young man but his parents don’t appreciate him. Gordie doesn’t meet his older brothers’ lofty standards and his parents reject him. Killed in a car accident, Gordie’s older brother was the pride and joy of the family. Chris Chambers is the youngest member of a notoriously criminal family. His father and older brother create a negative shadow over Chris. Viewed in the same light as his family, Chris experiences stereotyped persecution on a day-to-day basis. Teddy Duchamp is forced to live his life with a deformed ear. His mentally handicapped father burnt his ear by putting it to the stove. Resultantly, Teddy is forced to wear a hearing aid and live with his physical inadequacy. Vern is much larger than the other boys. His weight is a constant source of ridicule and he is a continually agitated character. Together, the boys form a cohesive unit and travel the Northeastern US in search of a dead body.
Stephen King's Official Website:
Rob Reiner at Internet Movie Database: