A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 26 – Stand By Me

Stand By Me – March 26, 2010

Andy and I are currently attending PAX East, a gaming convention full of awesome. One major piece of awesome from today’s con experience was attending the inaugural keynote address, delivered by Wil Wheaton. So let me take a moment to say just how very cool it was to be there and hear him speak live and I’m not ashamed to say that I got a little misty eyed when he talked about the gaming community and friendships made through games. I’m not a hardcore PvP gamer, but I do love games and I’m all for gaming as a pastime and as a community.

Anyhow, in honor of our Wil Wheaton Live! experience today, we decided to watch Stand By Me. It’s another one I’ve seen several times, but that I’ve not watched in ages. Wil Wheaton made a couple of references to it during his speech today and it made me all excited to watch it tonight, so I’m enjoying it.

Except for the leeches. Leeches evoke a similar (but lesser) panic in me to that which I get from snakes. Let me tell you, Snakes on a Plane is going to be difficult. So yes, I’m over at my laptop at the desk in our hotel room while the leech scene plays so I don’t end up with leech nightmares. But other than the leeches, this movie is fantastic. It’s more than a little melancholy, which doesn’t really fit a gaming convention mood, but to be honest, if you look at the theme of friendship that’s at the movie’s core, I can fit it into our weekend. (ETA: Wil Wheaton has posted an excerpt from his speech at his blog here and he posted a part that fits perfectly into my point.)

It feels more than a little cheesy to talk about how the point of the movie is the friends you have and finding yourself and how good friends will help you do that, but what else is more important there? Be who you want to be. Stand up for what you believe in, be it yourself, your friends, your hobbies, your dreams. I like that message, even if the movie presents it through Richard Dreyfus’s adult view back, which inevitably makes it something hazy and nostalgic. Standing up for yourself shouldn’t just be nostalgia. It should be something you do every day. But then, I don’t think the movie needs to say that explicitly. It implies it if you look close.

I’m going to keep it short tonight, as I have a headache from too much time spent with too many people in loud spaces with little food and water. We’re going to endeavor to get a movie watched tomorrow morning and write our reviews when we get time during the day while we wait in lines.

March 26, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Stand By Me

March 26, 2010

Stand By Me

Today we’re attending PAX East, and we were there for Wil Wheaton’s great keynote speech about gaming, imagination, and treasuring this time with other gamers.  He even quoted Stand By Me during the speech.  So we’re reviewing Stand By Me tonight… then it’s back to the con for more gaming fun.

Stand by me is one of two non-horror films in our collection based on Stephen King short stories (the other being The Shawshank Redemption.)  Today’s film does show some of the same everyman fifties comraderie that would later be used to such great effect in the flashback scenes of It.  Stephen King really knows how to invest every-day existence with gravitas and importance.  I remember once that a grade school friend of mine asked me why I made everything in my life to be so operatic and larger than life: why I couldn’t just accept my life as normal like everybody else and just live it.  For years I didn’t really have an answer for him.  But now I begin to have an inkling of one.  Eric, it’s because it’s my life.  The only life I can ever experience firsthand, and I’m the only one living it.  So of course it’s a big deal to me.

I’m not quite sure why that annecdote comes to mind, except that this is a movie all about the friends we have in our childhood who we loose touch with.  And it’s about an adventure where almost nothing happens, these four friends go out to see a dead body one of them has heard about, spend a day and a night getting to it, then go home.  Really that’s pretty much it.  So it’s not a movie about the journey so much as how the journey is percieved by these four characters.  It’s a movie about growing up, I guess.  And anybody will tell you that growing up is not something I’m really qualified to talk about.

I do enjoy this movie a lot though.  The characters are so simple and real.  The soundtrack is so fantastic.  And what a great cast!  Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Keifer Sutheland, John Cusack, Richard Dreyfuss… every one a star!

Watching it now, though, I realize just how much the Wonder Years stole this movie’s bit.  How did I never notice that before?  I like Wil more than Fred Savage though.  Whatever.

I miss some of my grade school friends.  I see John on Facebook, but I don’t have any idea what happened to Kenny and Tez and Randy and Eric.  It’s a strange old world, and that, at least, the movie gets spot on.

March 26, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | 2 Comments