‘Stand by Me’ used to be the movie and story that Stephen King fans would point to in defense of his ability to write more than just straight horror tales. Sure, he’ll always been known most for bringing us stories of haunted cars, evil dogs, anger inducing hotel’s and pet semetary’s (yes…that’s a purposeful typo)…but his talent encompassed so much more.
The movie was adapted from the novella ‘The Body’, which appeared in the collection ‘Different Seasons’ (published in 1982). The idea for the collection came from his editor’s suggestion to try some non-horror writing out so critics and readers could see that he actually had the ability to be quite diverse.
The movie showcases an excellent tale of a group of friends on a summer quest adventure in the 60’s. What really shines through are the phenomenal performances of the four central actors (well…that and an amazing soundtrack). One can’t help but speculate upon the real life scenarios of these four young talents whenever the movie is watched.
Will Wheaton went on to portray the character that no one liked in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’. He survived the Trekkie anger and now makes his living as character actor and professional geek (he’s the ‘geek editor’ for ‘Suicide Girls’, had a column in the role playing game magazine ‘Dungeon’ and provided the voices for Aqualad on ‘Teen Titans’ and Blue Beetle on ‘Batman: The Brave & The Bold’). Corey Feldman had an excellent childhood / teen career for a while (‘Goonies’, ‘Gremlins’ AND a ‘Friday the 13th’ movie!) before his work delved into obscure horrible D grade ‘straight to video’ type fare. River Phoenix was securely on his way to becoming the next great American actor, until a fatal drug related night outside of a Hollywood night club. And, as an episode of ‘Family Guy’ recently pointed out, the fat kid grew up to marry Rebecca Romijn.
Rob Reiner directed the film, back when he was in the midst of making other great movies like ‘This is Spinal Tap’ and ‘The Princess Bride’. He felt such an attachment to the film and to King’s work, that he went onto name his production company ‘Castle Rock Entertainment’, in tribute to the fictional Maine town where a number of King’s stories take place. ‘Castle Rock’ then went onto produce two other great Stephen King adaptations, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘The Green Mile’ (and the unrelated to Stephen King TV series, ‘Seinfeld’).
‘Stand By Me’, winner of the best adapted screenplay Oscar in 1987, plays Saturday October 24th at 1PM and Sunday October 25th at 2PM.