02 December 2010

I just wish I could go someplace where no one knows me.

Stand by Me, 1986

 Set in small town in 1950's Oregon, Stand by Me tells the story of four best friends' quest to find a dead body in the woods and become heroes.What starts as a fun time turns serious as the boys reveal their true selves to each other and make discoveries about themselves. I think it's the quintessential coming-of-age story and one of the greatest films about friendship ever made. 

For me, the person who stand out most is River Phoenix. He plays Chris Chambers, a typical tough-guy with a heart of gold. to quote the movie: "He came from a bad family and everyone just knew he'd turn out bad...including Chris."   Chris is terribly intelligent but is practical enough to know that he has no shot of being successful in life.  Accused of stealing milk money at school, he is looked down upon by teachers and parents alike. His tearful confession about what really happened to the milk money is one of the most devastating performances in film history. 

 "I'm just one of those low-life Chambers kids. No one even asked me if I took the milk money that time. I just got a three day vacation. Maybe I was sorry and I tried to give it back. And I took it to Old Lady Simons and told her, and the money was all there. But I still got a three day vacation because the  it never showed up. And maybe, the next week, Old Lady Simons had  a brand new skirt on when she came to school. Just suppose I told that story. Me, Chris Chambers, kid brother to Eyeball Chambers, you think anyone would believe me? And do you think that bitch would have dared try anything like that if it had been one of those douchebags from up on the view if they had taken the money? Hell no. Well...I'm sure she had her eye on that skirt for a long time. Anyway, she saw her chance and she took it. But I never thought.....I never thought, a teacher...oh who gives a fuck anyway? I just wish I could go someplace where no one knows me."

"Would you two shut the fuck up? If either one of you assholes had two thousand dollars, I'd kill you both."
Another character of interest is Ace Merrill, played by Keifer Sutherland. Ace is one of those rare bullies that is actually menacing. In fact, Ace is terrifying. He's completely psychotic and wouldn't think twice about sticking his switchblade right in between somebody's ribs. 
I fell in love with Stand by Me the first time I saw it, because I saw myself and my childhood friends in it. Those four kids did everything that me and my friends did; they teased each other, they fought, they cried on each others shoulders, and eventually, drifted apart. Stand by Me also offers, in my opinion, the most heartbreaking closing line in all of cinema history.

"I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"

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