2021 Movie Draft- Round 10- Pick 6- Hanspostcard selects- adventure- Stand By Me.
A great coming of age movie. Based on a Stephen King short story ‘The Body’ and produced by Rob Reiner who had two other films he directed selected in our draft- This Is Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride. The story is based around the four boys- Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern who after learning the location of the body of dead Ray Brower- go on a two day hike to discover the body and they believe gain fame for the discovery. That is the journey they take- but the movie really isn’t about that. It’s Labor Day weekend- the boys are making a big jump in a couple days- to 7th grade and junior high school. Teddy and Vern are headed for the shop classes and it isn’t too long into the movie before you can figure out why- they certainly aren’t going to be candidates by 1959 standards for anything beyond high school. Gordie is the brain who certainly wouldn’t belong with Teddy and Vern. Chris is the leader of the boys but due to his bad family life and older brothers he has already been pegged to join Teddy and Vern. It’s clear he is smart and has great leadership qualities. He seems resigned to his fate.
This movie always rings true to me because I remember the summer when I was twelve- leaving 6th grade and going to 7th – once my little league baseball season ended in early July-my mind turned to something I had been dreading- 7th grade. In my case it was just going from the 2nd to the 3rd floor of the same building I went to elementary school in- and also the addition of students from a smaller rural elementary schools 7th graders who would be coming to town. A lot of things of course you find the worry was worse than the reality but for some reason I nailed it in this case. 7th grade was a big year of transition. Things did change. I had four close friends in elementary school. I of course figured we would be friends for life. My mom once told me that the friends I would have would sometimes change- I’d gain other friends as I got older- and some of the friends I had would drift away. I didn’t believe that. As it turned out 7th grade was a turning point. The line in the movie that I always think of is the one near the end where a middle age Gordie who is a writer- says ‘As time went on, we saw less and less of Teddy and Vern until, eventually, they became just two more faces in the halls. Happens sometimes, friends come in and out of your life like busboys in a restaurant.’ So true of those four close friends I had through elementary school by high school only one remained and he remains a close friend to this day. The other three- there was no ‘fall out’ with any of them, we all just grew apart. By high school they were just faces in the hall.
The movie is one I have watched often over the years- and I get something out of it each time. A great story, a great soundtrack. Also features in small roles two actors who would hit it big- John Cusack as Gordie’s brother and Keifer Sutherland as an older hood- ‘Ace Merrill. The boys are played by a young River Phoenix [Chris] Will Wheaton [Gordie at 12, Richard Dreyfus as Gordie as an adult] Corey Feldman as Teddy and Jerry O’Connell as Vern.
“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?- Gordie Lechance.