RogerBW's Blog

Stand By Me 17 December 2021

1986 drama, dir. Rob Reiner, Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix: IMDb / allmovie. In 1959, four kids go out following a rumour of a dead body…

All right, this is something of a confluence of things that I tend not to like about films: Stephen King story, nostalgia, about children, no significant female characters, Wil Wheaton. But beyond that, it sometimes felt as though Reiner had taken everything I might enjoy instead and scraped it away: no elegant camerawork, no subtle direction, not even any long-shots of gorgeous landscapes, just a relentless focus on these unlikeable people.

Maybe if I'd watched it at the right age I'd feel more positive, but I don't think so: these children have no conversation beyond insults, and they think they're friends. (Two of them will eventually achieve actual communication, which I suppose is the point of the exercise, but I found I didn't care about their one-note characters enough to be impressed.) But then, while I do keep up with a couple of my school friends, I don't feel that they are vastly better friends than anyone I've known since, and I think that's the central thesis of the film – that once you grow up (and, presumably, discover sex) you just can't make good friends any more. That is very much Not Me.

Even the "smart" kid who wants to be a writer (not that this is a Stephen King self-insert or anything) doesn't read anything except the occasional comic.

River Phoenix gives the best performance here, and seven years later he'd overdosed. Jerry O'Connell's next role was in Police Academy 5 and he's made something of a career of coming in at film 5 or 6 in a series. Corey Feldman, while not formally prosecuted, is one of those men whom women tell each other not to be alone with. And it is apparently mandatory to love Wil Wheaton, but his resting smugface – which he has just as much here as he had a few years ago in TableTop – just gets in the way.

When the kids are racing across a bridge ahead of a steam locomotive, I couldn't help but notice that the driver made no attempt to brake (it wouldn't have been successful, but it would have been obvious from the noise). Had he met them before?

Once more if you want more of my witterings you should listen to Ribbon of Memes.

Tags: film reviews

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1