Natalie: Ready to chat about 12 year old boys, dead kids, and growing up?
Tracy: Yes! This one is definitely rated B for Boys.
Natalie: And G for Gross. And C for super cute teeny tiny itty bitty actors.
Tracy: I know! A veritable "where are they now." And we can now say with all confidence that Wil Wheaton will NOT grow up into Richard Dreyfuss.
Natalie: HA! Which brings up the question, why wasn't Dreyfuss credited?
Tracy: I guess he was the big casting coup? Ah, how times have changed.
Natalie: Yeah, no one else was known at all. Even Sutherland's first big movie
Tracy: It's certainly timely with the recent Oscars--I guess it's also rated N for Nostalgia. I was just kind of bullshitting when I wrote about the hero's journey in the blurb, but while watching it, I think it kind of works. You know the cycle better than I do--do you think it's a legit reading? Wouldn't surprise me coming from Stephen "Dark Tower" King.
Natalie: It's absolutely a hero's journey. There's a call to action ("let's go see the dead guy"), crossing a threshold ("let's just go home"), tests (scary woods, train, etc), the ordeal (seeing the dead kid), seizing the sword (this one is the most literal with the gun being drawn), the road back, and the resurrection (growing up in this case and realizing a writing career).
Tracy: And they even say "we'll be heroes"! We should write this paper. So, do you think the train(track) is a metaphorical representation of how time is moving along, changing us all and ultimately mowing us down? Even if that's going too far, I thought the scene on the bridge was pretty freaking scary.
Natalie: Most coming of age stories can be linked to the hero's journey, actually. Which is interesting in that it's not that heroic just to come of age (anymore--years and years ago, sure). I think the train works as that metaphor, especially given the author and his predilection for such metaphors. Not that that is bad; it works especially in terms of how such things themselves change--the boys walk the train track while the older guys just drive a car and get there much more quickly. These kids' lives are about to change a lot. And, in that way, I didn't find the movie particularly dated beyond poor Will Wheaton's REALLY high-waisted pants and Dreyfus's computer.
Tracy: Hah! Those pants. I agree. It felt incredibly timely to me, because like I said in my little Pinterest thing, this is where 40-y-o virgin and Knocked Up come from. Except now, the boys aren't twelve. They just act like it. And I suppose we need to talk about the gross, speaking of Apatow.
Natalie: Exactly. The boys have grown up and are now Apatow, Sandler, Ferrel, Hill, Rudd, et al. And they still have the same gross sense of humor. The most obvious story for a campfire in the middle of the woods would be a scary one--especially considering King is the author--but 12 year old boys (and 30-50 something year old boys) think to tell a story of projectile vomiting instead. I covered my face for the entire interlude.
Tracy: I know. I remembered that scene, which I actually left the room for, but had for some reason forgotten about the leeches until they stepped into that river. shudder Again, poor Wil Wheaton. At some moments (like his understanding at that scene, and many others) I thought River/Chris was incredibly wise and okay with emotional expression for his age and time. Like a little juvenile delinquent Buddha. But maybe that's the way Wil/Richard was remembering him--sort of making him even better than he was because of his grief.
Natalie: Ha! "a little juvenile delinquent Buddha"! The leeches didn't bother me--they might if I were actually ever in the presence of a leech though. I agree about River/Chris and the unreliable narrator. The end shows us that Gordie is writing this story because Chris has just died so we have current grief and the remembered grief of his brother's death. And, we also have the fact that Gordie and Chris remained friends for longer than they did with the other two boys. So, Gordie had a longer friendship and probably a deeper fondness for Chris than the other boys, and a deeper understanding because he knew Chris as someone older than twelve. And, of course the nostalgia streak--do you ever have friends like the ones you had when you were twelve?
Tracy: The famous line! I read The Body years ago, but don't remember if anything major was changed. It certainly has a slew of patented King Bad Dads.
Natalie: I don't think I ever read that one despite reading a lot of King (when I was about twelve actually). TONS of King Bad Dads and absent mothers. So, the book says a whole lot of not so much: “A tale of friendships . . . set against the beautiful Oregon scenery (standing in for the novel’s [sic] Maine location), Stand by Me expertly depicts the fears, games, catchphrases, debates, . . . and secrets shared by young boys, whereas Kiefer Sutherland’s older, meaner Ace gives a taste of what could be round the next corner in their lives. Beautifully played by the young cast, and lyrically directed by Reiner”
Tracy: Fair enough. I think it's a pretty simplistic reading of the boys and Ace but whatever. I think it definitely belongs in the 1001.
Natalie: It's really beyond simplistic because it's just a plot summary--after a bigger plot summary in the book. But, yes, I think it definitely belongs in 1001
Tracy: Yay! The book got something right!
Natalie: Hooray! Except for actually talking about why we should watch the movie
Tracy: It would be too much to ask for that to be right on all accounts. I wonder if we'll feel the same way about The Leopard.
Natalie: At over 3 hours and in Italian . . . . . We can hope?
Tracy: Yes. A fool's hope, but hope.