Jul 27

Number 199: Stand by Me (1986)

Stand by Me is number 199 of our top 200 movies list.
The movie is directed by Rob Reiner and stars Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell.  It is rated R.

Stand by Me

Karen’s Review

I have always loved the movie The Sandlot, 1950’s, young boys playing baseball, Babe Ruth, Americana, what’s not to love?? So, noticing that Stand By Me was also about young boys in the fifties I had some expectations going into this movie. Kenny warned me that the two movies are nothing alike, but I still got my hopes up…

My Mom has always warned me about ‘expectations’, and unfortunately mine were not met with this movie.

Stand by me does have an interesting story line, good character development in the fact that you get to know the background and history of each of the characters and why they behave the way that they do, but it is by no means the light-hearted tale of growing up that The Sandlot is. These boys lives are riddled with tough times- the death of a teenage brother, alcohol, abusive parents, prejudice, the list goes on.

I like that fact that the friends ‘stand by’ each other and are there for one another through good times and bad, but it seemed like every sixth word out of their little mouths was profanity and that does not make for a good time in my book.

I enjoyed the direction, Rob Reiner always does a good job with his films, and the young actors, River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell each did a great job with the roles they were given. I am impressed when a young actor can portray crying and emotion realistically.

Overall I give Stand by Me two and a half shells out of five. It was worth seeing once but it probably won’t be a repeat for me.
2 and a half shells

Kenny’s Review

Stand by Me is the quintessential coming of age tale about four boys who are basically spending their last days of boyhood on an adventure to find the dead body of a boy about their age.  Two of the boys, Wheaton and Phoenix, know they are at the crossroads of their lives while O’Connell and Feldman’s characters are just there for the adventure and that dynamic plays throughout the movie.

The film’s acting was very well done by all actors and actresses.  Each of the main characters pulls off their characters with the greatest of ease.  The directing was also very good.  Reiner paints a very believable picture of 1950s nostalgia.  I am sure my wife had a problem with the dialogue with the large amounts of profanity and vulgar boy talk.  Being a middle school teacher and coach I have caught many boys and some girls unaware in the halls, field, or lunchroom using the same type of language and jokes.  They do not get away with it, but I could see almost any group boys out in the woods away from adult supervision acting just like the main characters of the movie.

In the end, I give this movie 3 and half stars out of 5.  The only reason it is not a 4 or higher is the fact that River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton characters are little too self aware of the significant point they are reaching in their lives.  Being around a lot of early teenagers I have not come across many who realize that the decisions they are making will determine how far they will be going with the rest of their lives.  Despite that fact, the film is still a rewarding journey through the tragedies as well as the blessings of adolescence.  Stand by Me is a touching buddy flick that reminds the viewer of all the great buddies they have had in their life.
3 and a half shells

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  1. Cecilia

    The movie is based on the book “The Body” and is written by Steven King.it’s really good and captures what a young teen is experiencing when moving into that awkward age of adolescence. I know it’s not on your list of books but it’s worth a read.

    1. Kenny and Karen

      Its kind of funny that his horror books, which he is best known for usually do not translate very well to the movie screen, but his short stories like Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and Apt Pupil usually do.

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