25 Years of Stand By Me.

Although, technically the movie Stand By Me was released in 1986, it wasn’t until March 1987 that it was released here in the UK.  So despite being a year too late to celebrate its actual 25th Anniversary, I still wanted to celebrate it by doing a blog post of twenty-five years since its release here.

I was only 9 years old when this movie was released but still remember the first time I saw it.  It was and still is one of my all time favorite movies to watch, it is one of those movies that has become timeless over the years, and is one of those movies that I grew up with, and still enjoy watching it even today.  I have been a Stephen King fan for a number of years and have read the short-story ‘The Body’, that this movie was based upon.

If you haven’t seen this movie (where have you been the last 25 Years?) – The movie has now been released on a Special Edition Blu-Ray that can be purchased for £7.49 from Amazon.co.uk

The disc includes the following features:

  • Blu-ray Exclusive: A video reunion with Director Rob Reiner and Actors Wil Wheaton & Corey Feldman for the first time in 25 years
  • An audio commentary with Reiner
  • Documentary featurette
  • Stand By Me music video featuring River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton.

 

The Movie’s Synopsis

The story follows four 12-year old boys Gordie Lachance (Wil Wheaton), Chris Chambers (River Phoenix), Vern Tessio (Jerry O’Connell) and Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman), as they travel on a journey through the woods to find the dead body of the kid Ray Brower (Kent W. Luttrell).  It is narrated by Richard Dreyfuss, who is supposed to be Gordie Lachance telling of his childhood story after he reads a newspaper article about the death of his friend.

Based in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Oregon over Labor Day weekend in September of 1959, young Gordie, a quiet boy renowned for telling stories and writing, is rejected by his father, following the death of his older brother Denny, who was like his best friend and who paid him much more attention than his parents ever did.

Gordie spends time with his school friends Chris Chambers and Teddy Duchamp in their tree-house when one of his other friends Vern Tessio tells each of them about a conversation he overheard, his brother Billy telling his friend about finding the body of Ray Brower while dumping a stolen car.  The disappearance of the boy had mounted the largest police search that Castle Rock had ever seen and had been big news on the radio.  Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern decide to embark upon a journey 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 and take a break.  Gordie is selected to go an get the food for the journey from the local store, but returns to find his friends have scarpered and realizes that Chopper is about to chase him.  As he makes a run for it, his friends have already jumped the junkyard fence and are encouraging young Gordie.  After which they begin to tease Chopper with the famous line from the story ‘Chopper Sick Balls’, Milo Pressman the junkyard owner is not best pleased.

They then walk along the train tracks and encounter a long train bridge, and decide to cross over here rather than going round.  Gordie is anxious that a train might come around the corner at any moment.  As Vern is concerned that he might fall decides to cross the bridge on his hands and knees, suddenly they see a train coming and begin to run for it.  The boys have a close shave with the train.

The boys make camp and Gordie tells his friends a story of a boy who enters a pie eating contest to get back at the town folk who are always teasing him because of his size and weight, a story invented by Gordie.  Later Chris reveals to Gordie he is tired of everyone singling him out because of his family always being involved in crime, and never making anything of himself.  He confesses to Gordie that he did in fact take the milk money at school, but decided to give it back, but then it turns out one of the teachers stole the money and bought a new skirt with it.

They finally locate the body of Ray Brower and it reminds Gordie that his father liked his brother better than him.  It is at this point the local bully “Ace” played by Keifer Sutherland and his gang consisting of Chris’s brother “Eyeball” Chambers, Vince Desjardins, Charlie Hogan, Billy Tessio and two other boys show up to take the body.  Gordie threatens “Ace” with a handgun that Chris had brought with them for protection.  Gordie decides no gang should get the credit for finding the kid Ray Brower and wants it to be reported anonymously to the authorities.

The boys return to town and say goodbye to each other.  The narrator states that Vern later marries out of high school, had four children and became a forklift driver at the local lumber yard.  Teddy tried to get in to the Army, but his eyes and ear kept him out.  He eventually spent some time in jail and is now doing some odd jobs around Castle Rock.  Chris was able to stick it out and took some advanced courses with Gordie, he later moved out of Castle Rock and became a lawyer.  Chris who was always wanting to keep the best piece got in to a fight in a fast food restaurant, one of the men pulled a knife, and was stabbed, he died almost instantly.

The ending scene sees a father finishing off the memoirs and takes his son and his friend swimming.

The Cast

I didn’t want this article to become one of my normal ‘Where are they now…’ posts.  I wanted it to be a special post that focuses on a movie that I think everyone should see at least once in their lives.

I am going to focus on the four main characters of the movie, and only give a brief account of where they are now.

Gordie Lachance – Played by Wil Wheaton.

First of all, is Gordie the main character that this story is based around.  It is supposed to be a memoir account of his childhood, so lets take a look at what Wil Wheaton has been up to since this movie finished filming.

Wil was born Richard William Wheaton III on July 29, 1972 in Burbank, California.  He had a few movies prior to filming Stand By Me in 1986 and has go on to have a constant stream of acting and voice jobs since.

His most recent acting role is, as Dr Isaac Parrish in the television series ‘A Town Called Eureka’ and as Colin Mason in the television series ‘Leverage’.

In the recent reunion of the cast Wil gives an account of what it was like to see the cast members 25 years later.

He met with director Rob Reiner and co-stars Jerry O’Connell and Corey Feldman, and of course, there was an obvious absence in the room.

There were five chairs set up for us in a semi-cicle.  Or names were on pieces of paper so we knew where to sit.  I was between Rob and Corey, and Jerry and Richard sat to Corey’s left.  When we all sat down, Rob looked down the row of seats and softly said to me, “it feels like there should be an empty seat here for River”.

People ask me about River all the time.  He and I were close during filming, and for about a year or so after filming, but the sad truth is that he got sucked into a lifestyle that I just don’t have room in my life for, and we drifted apart.  When he died, I was shocked and horrified, but I wasn’t completely surprised.  I didn’t feel a real sense of loss at the time – but the River I knew and loved had been gone for a long time at that point – but I felt sad for his family, and angry at the people around him who didn’t do more to help him, to help himself.  Since he died, when I’ve talked about him, I’ve felt like I’m talking about the idea of him, instead of the person I knew, if that makes sense.

But when Rob said that to me, with such sadness in his eyes, it was like I’d been punched in the stomach by eighteen years of suppressed grief.  I knew that if I tried to say anything, all I would do was cry, and I didn’t know if I’d be able to stop.  I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and nodded.  “Yeah” I whispered.

Chris Chambers – Played by River Phoenix

Born River Jude Phoenix, August 23, 1970 died at the age of 23 years old on October 31, 1993.  He was the oldest brother of fellow actors Rain, Joaquin, Libtery and Summer Phoenix.

His real name was River Jude Bottom and was born in Madras, Oregon.  The first child of Arlyn Sharon Dunetz and John Lee Bottom.  He was named after the River of Life from the Hermann Hesse novel Siddhartha and received his middle name from The Beatles song ‘Hey Jude’.

It was after moving in with their maternal grandparents in Florida, that on April 02, 1979 the family officially changed their name to Phoenix, after the mythical bird that rises from its own ashes, symbolizing a new beginning.

River’s work covers some twenty-four films and television appearances, including that of the science fiction film Explorers and the coming-of-age film Stand By Me.

He began acting at the age of 10 in television commercials, but it was his appearance as Chris Chambers in Stand By Me that was his first notable appearance.

River died of drug-induced heart failure on the sidewalk outside the West Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room.  He had been in the middle of filming the unreleased film Dark Blood at the time of his death.

Vern Tassio – Played by Jerry O’Connell

Born Jeremiah O’Connell, February 17, 1974 in New York City.  Is best know for his roles in the television series Sliders (another of my favorites – that I haven’t seen in such a long time), My Secret Identity and of course as Vern Tessio in the film Stand By Me.

He began his acting career at a very young age.  As a child he did commercial work for Duncan Hines Cookies.  He was eleven years old when he landed his first feature film role as the character Vern Tessio in Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me.

Jerry has gone on to have acting roles in many television series including, The Defenders, Fish Hooks and most recently NTSF:SD:SUV.

 

 

 

Teddy Duchamp – Played by Corey Feldman

Born Corey Scott Feldman on July 16, 1971 in Los Angeles, California.  The second of five children of Sheila Goldstein and Bob Feldman.  He has an older sister Mindy, a yonger sister Brittnie and two younger brothers, Eden and Devin.

Corey was well known for his roles throughout the 1980’s in Hollywood films Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter, The Goonies, Stand by Me, The Lost Boys, License to Drive, Dream a Little Dream, Gremlins, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Burbs.

Corey started his career at the age of three, appearing in over 100 television commercials and on 50 television shows, including Mork and Mindy, Eight is Enough, One Day at a Time and Cheers.

Corey has gone on to star in television series, Psych and Easy to Assemble.  He currently has several movies due for release in 2012, including Six Degrees of Hell (Completed), Zombex (Post-Production) and The Zombie King (Post-Production).

 

And finally… a couple of videos for you to enjoy:

The Original ‘Stand By Me’ Trailer

A Scene From the Movie

The Original ‘Stand By Me’Music Video- by Ben E. King

The ‘Stand By Me’ song – by John Lennon

Hope you enjoyed this look back at a great movie, and would love to hear your thoughts on this post, please leave your comments in the section below, and until next time.

 

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2 thoughts on “25 Years of Stand By Me.”

    1. Thanks for the comment. Absolutely go and hire it out again… better still go and buy it on Blu-Ray from Amazon and own one of the best movies ever to be released. Cheers

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