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Episode #92: STAND BY ME

  

159 members have voted

  1. 1. Is STAND BY ME in The Canon?

    • Darling, darling, stand by me. Oh, stand by me
      102
    • No
      57


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I understand why they pre-record (and it's better than no episode) but I do miss the opportunity for a post vote discussion. I kind-of hope they do a one-off mini-episode when they're both back in town where maybe they discuss some of the points, good or bad, brought up in the discussion threads. The past several weeks I've seen many thoughtful arguments on both sides.

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I voted no and am disappointed it's gonna make it into The Canon but I gotta disagree with the idea that there are no inspired uses of the camera. As Devin and Amy stated in the episode, the train sequence is really crafted. I'd also add the initial train scene where Corey Feldman plays chicken before River to pulls him off cuts to them on the side and the train passing by very closely. There are also some pretty beautiful landscape shots, particularly when they leave the train tracks and head into the woods, the frame is divided nicely between the sunniness of the field at the bottom and the dark, forest green at the top that they're running towards.

 

 

I feel like the examples you give are perfect illustrations of workmanlike, classic, staging and directing. The train sequence is effective, but is comprised mostly of banal medium shots, two shots and wide shots, and some pretty conventional tracking shots that simply follow the action. The most creative use of camera is the long-lens they throw on it to make the train look larger and closer to the children than it is as they run away from it - but even this last choice is a simple technical way to solve the problem of making the train seem more menacing and keeping the actors away from it. If anything, it's the editing that makes the scene work. In every moment, the camera is in an obvious but useful place to capture the action, but that's all it does. It's competent, to be sure, but compare it to how someone like Spielberg would film something like this (okay, maybe that' an unfail comparison). In this sense, Rob Reiner grew a lot by the time he made Princess Bride and Misery.

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Hard no. This movie is very overrated and always has been. People had low expectations of Rob Reiner when it was released. I think that's how it skated by. Reiner did much better movies later on.

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I have to say, i was disappointed when Devin was trying to argue that the movie deserved acclaim because it made River Phoenix a teen heartthrob. I don't know if that's true and I don't care.

 

But he dismissed Running on Empty as a "Judd Hirsch movie"and that made my blood boil. Running on Empty was a better movie than Stand By Me; it made an impression at the time it was released among people who were crazy about good movies (even if it's forgotten now); along with Housekeeping it's how people who went to a lot of indie movies learned to appreciate Christine Lahti; and it caused me to decide that River Phoenix and Martha Plimpton were talented young actors I wanted to see again. Wikipedia says Phoenix lost the best supporting actor Oscar to Kevin Kline in a Fish Called Wanda (blech)--everyone in the category that year was more deserving.

 

I also loved My Own Private Idaho. But I wasn't a 12 year old boy ever. So maybe that's my problem.

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I remember loving this film when i was younger. I honestly can't separate the i loved this as kid from the idea of whether or this is a truly great film. I do however believe it is an iconic representation of the 80s boys coming of age film.

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But he dismissed Running on Empty as a "Judd Hirsch movie"and that made my blood boil. Running on Empty was a better movie than Stand By Me;

 

I agree, it's much better. And it's not a Judd Hirsh movie, it's a Sidney Lumet film.

 

But I wasn't a 12 year old boy ever. So maybe that's my problem.

 

I was a 12 year old boy once, and I have a 12 year old boy now, and I still don't think it's canon.

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Hard yes. Excellent, electric filmmaking. One of the all-time films about boyhood (much better than, say...Boyhood). Emotionally resonant, well-written, paced like a freight train, absolutely wonderful. Deals with masculinity, romanticism, childhood, with no easy answers on any front. Life is difficult and you enjoy the magic when you can find it, and Rob Reiner certainly succeeded in capturing that bittersweet magic, here.

Still gonna need that This is Spinal Tap episode before too long, though.

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