Thursday, September 15, 2005
Cha wanted to see this so I got it, and was pleasantly surprised. I recall reading Stephen King's The Body as a young teen and laughing my ass off at the blueberry pie contest story, which is lovingly re-created here by Rob Reiner (whose other King adaptation is also great fun). Sadly, I don't read King much any more--after [sh]It and The Tommyknockers I gave up on him almost completely; I tried last year to re-read The Shining and found it ridiculous--when I was a kid it scared the shit out of me (Kubrick's still does)! His stuff is still as close as I came to a "children's literature," however, so I'll always have a soft spot for the King.
The novella upon which Stand By Me is based is cute and crafty and is the kind of piece you can teach to reluctant English students who don't want to read anything, but who might try Stephen King if pushed (also worthwhile is Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, another story from the same collection that got the touchy-feely film treatment). Its carpe diem theme is effectively handled and is just obvious enough for the back-of-the-class crew to puzzle out without prodding. The novella translates well to the big screen, and you get to see an excellent performance by the long-dead River Phoenix, and another by that debauched reprobate Corey Feldman. And Kiefer Sutherland was so skinny back then! Worth a look.