Friday, August 5, 2011
A recent twitter debate has led me to revisit one of my favorite films as a child and defend it. I have always considered Stand By Me one of the greatest kid's movies of all time. Yes, a kid's movie. I just happened to be that age when it was released, and to me I always appreciated the fact that a movie about 12-year-olds could be written with depth and character and not just fart jokes and fall-downs. It's a coming-of-age film not only for the characters, but for the audience as well.
Our pre-teen years are usually when we start learning those hard life lessons and how to deal with them and move forward: loved ones can die prematurely, parents can be abusive, you will get bullied by older kids...and sometimes the only people that truly understand you are your friends. Each of the four boys in the film carries a heavy issue which ultimately, is their bonding point and the motivation for the story. OK, yes, Vern is mainly there for comic relief, but I'm relying on the fact that he's a fat kid and was probably beat up daily by other kids and was the motivation for Gordies story about “Lard Ass.”
As a viewer and lover of film, even at that age, it's the first adult drama I can remember seeing that was actually aimed at my demographic. I'm not saying you had to be there to appreciate it, but it did help and is a movie I would encourage other kids of that age to see. It's hard to say that I would like it as much if I had never seen it as a kid but I really think I would. It has every element that comprises a quality film and I wish filmmakers would take a mature approach to younger audiences more often.
Read The Movie Anarchist's review here