Monday, June 30, 2008

You Guys Wanna See a Dead Body?

Today's movie is:

1986's 'Stand By Me'

Starring: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, Kiefer Sutherland and Richard Dreyfuss. Directed by Rob Reiner. Based on 'The Body' by Stephen King.

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Coming-of-age

Plot: Four kids go on a trek to see a nasty-ass corpse.

Boom baba, boom baba: Aww, who doesn't love Stand By Me? It's a really sweet movie, especially when you consider the source and the subject matter. Let's look at this "on paper" for a second:

There's a kid-Gordie-whose brother just died. Gordie is a smart, sensitive boy, but his parents liked his brother more and now they just ignore him. His best friend Chris is also a good kid. However, his family is trash and HIS brother is a thug who spends all his time with his greaser buddies. There's Teddy, who's kind of an oddball. He's half-blind, his father is apparently insane and he's abusive to his son-burned his ear off and everything. Then there's Vern. Vern is fat and stupid, which trumps all else.

They get it in their heads to go look at the decaying body of a dead child. They almost get flattened by a train, accosted by leaches, chased by a junkyard dog and stalked by the aforementioned greaser thugs. All of this is brought to you by the guy who came up with 'IT' and 'The Shining' and directed by someone who, until this movie, was best known as Meathead on 'All In The Family'.

...And it was very well-made and poignant as hell, made all the more so by the untimely death of River Phoenix a few years later. So yes, I'm a fan of Stand By Me. It's a great movie with a lot of memorable moments. However, in the interest of fairness, I should admit that I cannot watch this scene without gagging.

Where are they now?:

Wil Wheaton acts periodically and does voice-over work. He has a well-known (and pretty entertaining) Blog and is a fellow Farker. I have nothing bad to say about Wil, at least not since he hung up his Starfleet uniform. God, I hated Wesley.

River Phoenix died of drug-related heart failure in 1993.

Corey Feldman pretty much "screwed the pooch". After a lucrative career as a child and teen actor, he decided he liked drugs and Corey Haim and flushed it all down the crapper. He can still be seen in some D-grade films and various reality shows, including one based on his life with the Haim.

Jerry O'Connell grew up nicely. His acting career is decent enough , he's not fat anymore, he avoided the pitfalls that beset River and Corey and he's married to this. Good on you, Vern.

Kiefer Sutherland fights the turrists on 24 every week. He also fights Christmas trees in his downtime. Little bit of a drinker, that one.

You can purchase Stand By Me Here if you're so inclined.