Stand By Me (Reiner, 1986)

A wonderful experience, filled with classic moments of childhood on the verge of change, loyalty unquestioned amongst friends. Watching River Phoenix again both amazes and saddens me, his skill even here as a young adult, could have turned him into one of the greats, instead of a one of the great tragedies. River’s performance as Chris Chambers haunts the pages of film history simply because of the parallels between the on-screen character and his own demise. I never quite realized how crucial Stand By Me is to the children’s adventure film, mixing a calming maturity of pacing with a dynamic, fully realized character driven story. How important it is for kids to see themselves not as dumbed down modes of stereotype, but conflicted, haunted, and loving three-dimensional entities? More than we can no in this day and age.

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