(1986, Rob Reiner)
“I had never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve”
Stephen King is an author best known for his horror work (and we’ve seen him before with the likes of Carrie and The Shining) but sometimes he likes to branch out. This was most obvious in his 1982 novella collection, Different Seasons, which brought together four non-horror stories under the vague theme of changing seasons. Three of these were adapted into movies, and we’ve actually seen one already – Rita Hayworth & The Shawshank Redemption – and now it’s time to talk about the second, originally called The Body, but adapted for the screen into Stand By Me.
The entire film is a flashback narrated by Gordie Lachance (narration provided by Richard Dreyfuss), a writer (if you’re playing the Stephen King drinking game, take a shot now). In his flashback, he remembers growing up in Oregon (don’t take a shot, it’s not Maine) back in 1959. Gordie (Wil Wheaton) is part of a group of kids from dysfunctional backgrounds. Following the death of Gordie’s older brother Denny (John Cusack), his father resents him. His friend Chris (River Phoenix) has an alcoholic father, Vern (Jerry O’Connell) is overweight and timid, and Teddy (Corey Feldman) is mentally unstable following abuse from his father, currently locked up in an insane asylum.
Vern one day overhears news that a couple of local bullies may have found the body of Ray Brower, another kid in the area who’s recently gone missing. Vern passes this information onto his friends, and together they journey along the railroad tracks to see the body for themselves before news reaches lead bully “Ace” (Kiefer Sutherland).