Stand By Me is one of those coming-of-age films that just perfectly captures the essence of what it was like to be a kid in those times, at least the good, sitcom-friendly parts. The plot should be familiar to anyone reading this; it’s based on a Stephen King novella about four boys who go in search of a dead body, i.e. the quote above. Even with its familiarity and accessibility, it’s hard to judge this in a critical light because of the massive waves of nostalgia for our youths that wash over us watching this film. But hey, that’s kinda the point.
The film itself is very simply made, and doesn’t have very many outstanding features, but this is a great example of a film being more than the sum of its parts. Even with its simplistic frame and structure, the film succeeds so well at what it does that it is hard not to fall in love with it. Even for the time, this had quite the veritable cast of young actors; Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, and John Cusack, all enveloped by a wonderfully natural voiceover by Richard Dreyfuss. And of course, the classic oldies soundtrack, chock full of good old-fashioned tunes to bring back the memories.
This is yet another one that I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t seen it, but if you haven’t, you’re missing out on a great tale full of memories and good times. This also occasionally finds its way onto cable television, so if it’s upcoming on a particular channel, take the time out to watch it and really give it a good look. Rob Reiner is practically the invisible director, and his works are usually pretty above par in their entertainment value, and Stand By Me is no different.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10