For this week’s “Things That Bring Back Memories” post, I am going to pick something in the topic of “MOVIES” and go with “Stand By Me“. This movie was released in 1986, and is one that so many remember that were from “back in the day”. The 25th anniversary happened a few years ago – can’t believe that it’s been that long.
Stand By Me was one that everyone in school was talking about, and every girl was either in love with one of the characters, or knew a guy who always tried to be one of them. It was at the time of their life where they are still kids, trying to be adults and go through so many things that those of us are now seeing in our kids, or relatives.
If, for some reason, you are of an age that makes it difficult to remember the Stand By Me movie, here’s a preview of what it was about:
If you have never seen the movie, you are probably familiar with the famous song, that is a part of the title:
Did you ever watch the Stand By Me movie when you were younger? or have you seen it on TV later in life? Let me know what you thought of it, and if you have any memories of it in your life!
More Info on the Movie:
Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming of age comedy-drama adventure film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell. Based on the novella The Body, written by Stephen King, the title is derived from the Ben E. King song of the same name, which plays over the end credits. The film tells the story of four boys who go on a hike across the countryside to find the dead body of a missing child.
In 1985, after reading a newspaper article about the death of his old friend, author Gordie Lachance recalls a childhood journey to find the body of a missing boy near the (fictional) town of Castle Rock, Oregon, (in the book it is in Maine), over Labor Day weekend in 1959. Young Gordie was a quiet, bookish boy with a penchant for writing and telling stories. He is rejected by his father after the death of his football-star older brother Denny, who had paid more attention to Gordie than his parents did.
Gordie spends his time with three friends: Chris Chambers, who is from a family of criminals and alcoholics and is usually stereotyped accordingly, even though he does not conform to the perceptions and stigmas attached to his family; Teddy Duchamp, who is eccentric and physically scarred after his mentally unstable father held his ear to a stove; and Vern Tessio, who is overweight, timid, and often the target of bullying.
Vern overhears his older brother Billy and his friend Charlie Hogan talking about finding the body of Ray Brower, who was killed after being struck by a train while picking blueberries in the woods. Brower was a boy whose disappearance and subsequent police search was a big news story in Castle Rock. Gordie, Chris, Teddy, and Vern decide to embark upon a hiking journey following the local rail line to see if they can find Ray’s body and become local heroes.
The boys set out, first encountering Milo Pressman and his dog Chopper when they pause to fill their canteens from a well located in Milo’s junkyard. They then walk along a train bridge and Vern and Gordie are nearly run over by a passing train. At the end of the day, the boys set up camp and Gordie tells the boys a story that he made up about a fat boy that nobody likes named Davie “Lard Ass” Hogan who gets revenge on everybody for being mean to him by making them barf on each other during The Great Tri-County Pie-Eat. Later on in the night, Chris reveals to Gordie his fear of being stereotyped as a criminal and never making anything of himself. The next morning, the boys continue by taking a short-cut through a swamp only to discover that it is infested with leeches. While desperately removing them from each other, Gordie faints after finding one in his underpants, causing the other boys to wonder if they should go on. Gordie ends up being the decisive one, knowing that they have put in too much work not to see the body.
They locate the body and it reminds Gordie that his father liked his brother better than him. At this point, local bully “Ace” Merrill and his gang consisting of “Eyeball” Chambers, Vince Desjardins, Charlie Hogan, Billy Tessio and two other hoodlums show up in their cars to take the body, but Gordie threatens Ace with a handgun that Chris brought. Gordie decides that no one will get credit for finding the dead body and reports it via an anonymous phone call to the authorities. The boys hike back to Castle Rock and say goodbye to each other.
Gordie states that Vern later married immediately after high school, had four sons and became a forklift driver at a local lumber yard. Teddy tried to join the Army, but was denied entry because of his poor eyesight and ear injury. He eventually served a prison sentence and was now doing odd jobs around Castle Rock. Chris was able to stick it out and get by in the advanced classes with Gordie and later moved out of Castle Rock and became a lawyer. However, as revealed in the opening scene, Chris was stabbed in the throat and killed when he attempted to intervene in a fight in a fast food restaurant the week before the present day scenes took place. Gordie then finishes his memoir, and takes his son and his son’s friend swimming.
Some of the Characters:
Wil Wheaton (Gordie Lachance) was born Richard William Wheaton III on July 29, 1972 in Burbank, California. He first gained international attention by starring in the Rob Reiner comedy-drama film Stand by Me (1986). He then played Wesley Crusher on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) for three and one-quarter seasons. Wheaton left the Hollywood scene for 18 months to pursue personal video production. He did return to “Star Trek” every now and then for an occasional episode, however. He then returned to Los Angeles, California, attended acting school for five years and now works on many projects. He lives in Arcadia, California with his wife Anne and her two sons.
River Phoenix (Chris Chambers) was born River Jude Bottom in Madras, Oregon. His mother, Arlyn (Dunetz), a Bronx-born secretary, and his father, John Bottom, a carpenter, met in California in 1968. They worked as itinerant fruit pickers, and later joined the Children of God religious group (John was originally Catholic, while Arlyn was born Jewish). By the time River was two, they were living in South America, where John was the sect’s Archbishop of Venezuela. In 1977, they moved to Los Angeles, and changed their last name to Phoenix. His parents encouraged all of their children to get into movies and, by age ten, River was acting professionally on TV. His film debut was in Explorers (1985), followed rapidly by box-office successes with Stand by Me (1986) and The Mosquito Coast (1986), and as young Indiana in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). His role as Danny Pope in Running on Empty (1988) earned him an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor. His best role was probably Mike, the hustler in My Own Private Idaho (1991). River died of acute multiple drug intoxication involving lethal levels of cocaine and morphine at age 23 outside the Viper Room, Johnny Depp’s Los Angeles club.
Corey Feldman (Teddy Duchamp) Corey Scott Feldman began his career at the age of three, starring in a Clio Award-winning McDonald’s commercial and has sustained a 35-year career as a steadily working actor, with more than 80 films under his belt. Corey began his career in guest-starring roles on television series such as Mork & Mindy (1978), Alice (1976) and Eight Is Enough (1977), before landing a regular part on the sitcom, The Bad News Bears (1979). In the same year, Feldman made his big screen debut in Time After Time (1979). Over the next few years, Feldman continued making guest appearances in many television shows and, in 1981, Feldman supplied the voice of “Young Copper”, in Disney’s The Fox and the Hound (1981). Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) launched Feldman’s career in the horror genre with the role of the main character, “Tommy Jarvis”, as a child. He reprised that role in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985). Feldman then began a series of appearances in blockbuster films such as Gremlins (1984), The Goonies (1985) and Stand by Me (1986). In 1987, Feldman won the Jackie Coogan Award for Stand by Me (1986), and appeared in the legendary cult classic film, The Lost Boys (1987), alongside Jason Patric and ‘Keifer Sutherland’. In 1988, he won the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor in a Horror Motion Picture for his performance in The Lost Boys (1987). Now a husband, father and environmentalist, Feldman is focused on his career as an adult. Nurturing a growing music career with four albums and five sound tracks, he has toured North America twice with his band, “The Truth Movement”. Off-screen, Feldman is a spokesperson for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the world’s largest animal rights organization, and the Amie Karen Cancer Fund, as well as a supporter of environmental charity, Global Green. In 2009, he was presented with The Paws of Fame Award from Wildlife Waystation for his exemplary work in support of animal rights.
Jerry O’Connell (Vern Tessio) was born in New York City, to Linda (Witkowski), an art teacher, and Michael O’Connell, a British-born advertising agency art director. He is of half Irish, one quarter Italian, and one quarter Polish descent. He was raised in Manhattan with his parents and a younger brother, Charlie O’Connell, who is also an actor. He began his acting career at a very young age. He did commercial work and TV work before getting the role of “Vern Tessio” in the popular film Stand by Me (1986) opposite River Phoenix and Corey Feldman. After that, he worked on several TV-Movies and TV-series and had a starring role in My Secret Identity (1988). From 1991 to 1994, Jerry attended New York University where he majored in film, but he didn’t graduate. In 1993, he starred in the film Calendar Girl (1993) opposite Jason Priestley. In 1995, he starred in the TV-movie western The Ranger, the Cook and a Hole in the Sky (1995) and, in 1996, he landed the role of “Frank Cushman” in the successful film Jerry Maguire (1996) opposite Tom Cruise. Over the next few years, he starred in Scream 2 (1997), had a small uncredited role in Can’t Hardly Wait (1998), as well as appearing in several TV-movies and having starring roles in the TV-series Sliders (1995) and the film Body Shots (1999) opposite Sean Patrick Flanery and Tara Reid. In 2000, he appeared in the Brian De Palma film Mission to Mars (2000) with Gary Sinise, among others. He has also appeared in movies such as Tomcats (2001), Buying the Cow (2002), Kangaroo Jack (2003), Yours, Mine & Ours (2005), Man About Town (2006) and Room 6 (2006). In 2007, he married actress/model Rebecca Romijn and they are expecting twins in the winter of 2008.
Keifer Sutherland (Ace Merrill) was born in London, England, UK, to Canadian actors Shirley Douglas and Donald Sutherland, who moved to California shortly after his birth. His maternal grandfather, Tommy Douglas, was a Scottish-born Canadian politician who was a Premier of Saskatchewan for over 17 years and led the national NDP party for almost 10. Kiefer got his first film role in the comedy drama Max Dugan Returns (1983). Sutherland’s first major role was in the Canadian drama The Bay Boy (1984), which earned Sutherland and director Daniel Petrie, Genie award nominations for best actor and best director, respectively. Following his success in The Bay Boy, Sutherland eventually moved to Los Angeles and landed television appearances in “The Mission”, an episode of Amazing Stories (1985) and in the telefilm Trapped in Silence (1986) with Marsha Mason. In 1992, Sutherland starred opposite Ray Liotta and Forest Whitaker in Article 99 (1992) and in the military drama A Few Good Men (1992) also starring Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise. Later, in 1994, he starred with Jeff Bridges and Nancy Travis in the American version of The Vanishing (1993) for 20th Century Fox. In 1997, he co-starred with William Hurt and Rufus Sewell in Dark City (1998), directed by Alex Proyas, which was a special presentation at the Cannes Film Festival. Sutherland also added his second directorial credit and starred in Truth or Consequences, N.M. (1997) alongside Kevin Pollak, Mykelti Williamson, Rod Steiger and Martin Sheen. He stars in the Fox drama series 24 (2001) as Jack Bauer for which he has earned a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama Series. Most recently, he has been seen in the movie Phone Booth (2002) as a man who calls up someone at a phone booth and threatens to kill them if they hang up.
Did You Know?
When Gordie visits the delicatessen for ham, the grocer pulls waxed paper from a box with a 1980’s Crown Zellerbach logo on it.
The pond the boys fall into was a man made pool because the crew wanted them to be “safe and secure” and didn’t want to put them in a real pond because they didn’t know what would be in it. But Corey Feldman stated in a interview that the joke of the whole thing was that they built and filled it with water in the beginning of June and by time they got to film the scene it was in the end of August. So it been out in the woods for 3 months and they didn’t know what was in it anyway.
As with most of Stephen King’s stories, this one originally contained connections to other books he has written. Ace Merrill later re-appeared in the book Needful Things (1993), although he does not appear in the film. The dog Chopper is compared to Cujo (1983). Characters are familiar with Shawshank Prison, from The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Teddy Duchamp was actually first mentioned in King’s first book, Carrie (1976), in which Carrie destroys a gas station he once worked at.
In the campfire scene in which Chris breaks down, Reiner was sure River Phoenix could do better. He asked him to think of a time in his own life when an adult had let him down and use it in the scene, which Phoenix did. Upset and crying, he had to be comforted by the director afterwards. The result of Phoenix’s exercise is the scene that ended up in the final cut.
In the scene where Gordie and Chris race each other through the junkyard, Wil Wheaton could run faster than River Phoenix but Wheaton’s character was supposed to lose. Wheaton had to fake a fast run when running slow so that Phoenix’s character would win.
After Rob Reiner screened the movie for Stephen King, Reiner noticed that King was visibly shaking and wasn’t speaking. King left the room and upon his return, he told Reiner that the movie was the best adaptation of his work he had ever seen.
In the shot where Gordie and Vern are running towards the camera with the train right behind them, the train was actually at one end of the trestle with the two actors far on the opposite end. A telephoto lens compressed the image enough to make it look like the train was right behind them.
Chris says his pistol is a .45 but when he first pulls it out of his pack the barrel is clearly much smaller revealing it to probably be a prop gun.
Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”, which the film derives its title from and uses as its theme song, was not recorded until 1961. However, it is non-diegetic (not heard by the characters), and it is also first heard when Gordie is an adult in the film’s opening scene, which would be well past 1961.
In the train scene, River Phoenix’s voice has suddenly changed and he looks older. This scene was obviously shot last, and he has started going through puberty. But in terms of movie time, he has gone through puberty in two days.
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