Stand By Me

tn_standbymeSTAND BY ME is Stephen King’s latest chiller, a spooky tale of kids going on a long walk singing TV show themes. Okay, I guess it’s more of a coming of age drama type deal, and it came out in 1986, and I don’t generally use the term “chiller.” This opening paragraph could use some work actually.

It’s hard to review a movie like this that everybody has seen and knows backwards and forwards, but I watched it on the new 25th Anniversary Oh Jesus We’re Old Edition blu-ray. It holds up, it’s a good movie, and I thought it was worth some words and sentences and shit.

Notice that Corey Feldman doesn't have his glasses or burnt ear on the poster, 'cause he was a heartthrob
Notice that Corey Feldman doesn’t have his glasses or burnt ear on the poster, ’cause he was a heartthrob

It is of course the story of four foul mouthed pre-teen boys in circa 1959 Castle Rock, Oregon walking many miles along the train tracks to find the dead body of a kid that went missing from their area. There’s a tiny bit of plot, because they heard about the body’s location from some cruel older kids who might try to get there first. So there are villains, led by a convincingly asshole-ish Kiefer Sutherland sporting the classic neighborhood bully name “Ace.” But mostly it’s just this simple, slice-of-life type story about the friendship of these kids. Since it’s told from the perspective of one of them grown up it also deals with the hangups they have from the way their dads treat them, whether they can overcome that to have a good life, and how those friendships affect that.

It’s a really well made movie, tastefully put together, funny, sad, very good performances by these kid actors. There aren’t too many kid movies from that era where all of the leads went on to be well known. Most child actors disappear. I guess none of them turned into Christian Bale or anything, but you have Wil Wheaton who was on Star Trek for years (and who I recently enjoyed in MR. STITCH), Corey Feldman who was in a ton of movies (being in a FRIDAY THE 13TH makes you respectable in my book), River Phoenix who got to be Indiana Jones and was starting to be really acclaimed for a bit there, and Jerry O’Connell is still quite a successful actor to this day, and got his dick bit off in PIRANHA 3D. In the STAND BY ME extras Rob Reiner mentions about 250 times that “the little fat kid grew up to marry Rebecca Romijn.”

All of the kids are really good in this movie, with beanpole Wheaton effortlessly taking the lead. But man, O’Connell steals the movie. I guess he doesn’t have to dig into the angst like the other guys do. His character is kind of like Betty White on Golden Girls, just clueless and relentlessly positive. The look of puppy dog excitement on his face as he listens to Gordie’s “Lard Ass” story is my favorite part of the movie.

What really struck me watching this now is how great and surprising it is that it could get made like that, then released, and that it caught on big. I think it’s pretty much a kid’s movie, but rated R for cursing and corpse. The plot is so simple, they don’t add a bunch of complications. It has a soundtrack of all corny oldies, not hip in any way, but people enjoyed it so much that Ben E. King’s original “Stand By Me” became a #1 hit again. (The new commentary reveals that somebody approached Michael Jackson about doing a cover of the song, but director Rob Reiner wisely wanted to keep it pure and vintage.)

I guess part of it was nostalgia. ’50s and ’60s nostalgia had already been mined, but not quite in this context. No hot rods or poodle skirts, it’s young kids and a pretty naturalistic portrayal. Their talk about these songs, cherry Pez and Annette Funicello’s boobs on the Mickey Mouse Club sort of served the same purpose as the CLERKS talking about STAR WARS years later. I always thought that TV show Wonder Years was inspired by this movie, with its narration and everything. But there’s no dead body and the kid with glasses isn’t as angry.

Anyway, it’s an impressively pure and non-formulaic movie that it’s hard to imagine getting made in the modern age. Especially considering the kids’ casual use of cigarettes and stolen guns. The good kid pulls a gun on somebody, and the message of the movie isn’t even “don’t pull a gun on somebody”!

In THE GOONIES I think they were trying to find a treasure to save their houses from getting foreclosed. In this one they’re trying to find a corpse to understand their own mortality. They know that Ray Brower was just a kid like them. Shit, they almost get run over by a train just like he did. In the futuristic year of 1986 adult Gordie (Richard Dreyfus) sits alone in his car thinking about it, because Chris has just died. Gordie thinks back to when Chris stood up for him, encouraged him to learn with the “pussies” in college and become a writer. Chris knew Gordie had a chance to get an education, but he thought he himself couldn’t escape a shitty life. It sounds like did, though. Somehow he became a lawyer. But he still got stabbed to death trying to break up a fight.

Gordie tries to understand Chris’s death by remembering the time he tried to understand his brother’s death through Ray Brower’s death. (And this all gets an extra layer of gloom by the audience’s knowledge that in real life River Phoenix died even younger.)

Why did Gordie’s brother die instead of him? Why Ray Brower? Why Chris? Well, nobody fuckin knows. But now he’s a grown man, he has two kids, he needs to make them feel loved so they don’t have to sneak off and find a dead body in order to find themselves.

How does he feel about his dad now? Did they ever get over that shit? Does he feel protective of his asshole dad the way Teddy did, trotting out the old man’s war record to balance out the horror of the same man frying his ear on the oven burner?

The raw emotions of these kids really ring true to me. It reminds me what it felt like to be that age. They don’t seem so much like movie kids. They’re smart, but not too smart. They get into trouble but they’re not obnoxious like a bunch of Goonies. You don’t feel like you’re babysitting them.

Hey man, it’s kind of like they’re going on a merantau. Going on a journey to discover themselves. I doubt Stephen King went to deeply into the symbolism of the story, but there’s something kinda mythic about it. These kids out in the middle of nature where there are almost no people, only predators like leeches, Chopper and the speeding train. They’re protected only by their loyalty to each other, and their shared knowledge of pop culture and childish sayings. Well, and a gun. But that’s not gonna save them from the train, or from self doubt.

The story it’s based on is called “The Body,” of course, not “Stand By Me.” They came up with the name late in the game, and the song only plays during the end credits, but somehow it fits pretty good. Like in the song, these kids really support each other, they stand by each other both literally and figuratively. (“Lit and fig” would be a hip way to shorten that, let’s start saying it that way for now on. They stand by each other lit and fig.) To be honest they actually are afraid when the night has come and the land is dark, etc. I don’t believe they shed a tear, so that part is accurate.

Hmm. There never is a point in the story where the sky that they look upon stumbles and falls and the mountains crumble to the sea. That would be kinda crazy. That sounds more like “The Stand” or something. Another difference is that in the song Ben E. King is probly talking to a girl, because he calls her “darlin'” a whole bunch of times. These kids don’t call each other “darlin'”, but there’s a surprising amount of hugging.

I guess now that I think about it this is not a very faithful adaptation of the song. The Ben E. King geeks were probly pissed.

But fuck ’em. Sorry, Beniacs. I like this movie. And it least it was closer to the source material than LEAN ON ME was.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 1:35 am and is filed under Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

149 Responses to “Stand By Me”

  1. I never saw it. I know, I should have, but every time it was on TV, something else kept me busy. That sucks. I really have to rent the DVD one day.

  2. Thanks for the review Vern. This brings back great memories, probably my favourite film when I was 11. It really does capture what it was like to be that age and just working the world out with some of the best friends you’ll probably ever have.

  3. I don’t think Stephen King ever gets credit for really telling some of the great stories of our time: Shawshank Redemption, The Shining, Stand By Me, Misery, Dolores Claiborne, The Green Mile, The Running Man. Seriously, a game show where they hunt people. Is that not what’s on the air now? I like Carrie a lot too and I always liked Pet Sematary but I can’t guarantee that still holds up, it’s been decades since I watched it.

  4. Vern references “Merantau” in a review of “Stand By Me,” nice.

    Another River Phoenix movie that holds up from 1986 is “The Mosquito Coast,” also with Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, Peter Weir directing.


    Sort of a kid-centric “The Mission”/ “Apocalypse Now” with a crazy inventor dad who for some reason takes it upon himself to go up the river into the jungle and bring ice to uncontacted tribes in Honduras/ Nicaragua.

  5. The title of The Stand was apparently inspired by the song, Stand By Me. King even qoutes Stand By Me in the book (in the revised version it’s correctly attributed to Ben E. King, but in the original edition it’s mistakenly attributed to The Drifters).

  6. So the fat kid was your favorite, eh? The character coincidentally named “Vern”?

  7. I DO think King was aware of and explored the symbolism of the story: metaphorically, it’s kind’ve similar to The Green Mile and The Long Walk, with life as a journey toward death. The whole story is suffused with mortality, the dead older brother, the dead kid on the tracks, and there was more they cut out: in the story, Gordie makes a one-sentence reference to having been in combat in Vietnam (which, admittedly, doesn’t really line up with his later description of going to college), and ALL his friends are dead by the end, not just Chris (who is stabbed in 1971 as a law student, not as a full-blown lawyer in the 1980s.).

    I gotta admit, I’ve also always regretted that the film cuts the very, very end of the story, when Gordie takes his kids home to Castle Rock to visit their grandparents and sees Ace Merrill again, who doesn’t recognize him: Ace, the embodiment of 1950s rock ‘n roll leather jacket badass, has become a beer-bellied millworker with a crew cut and a REAGAN/BUSH 1980 bumper sticker on his car. And Gordie think about how America has changed, and the people he once knew, “in another dimension of time.”

  8. I’ve not seen “The Green Mile” or “Shawshank”, but of the other Stephen King movies, this is by far the best. And that’s saying something considering what it’s up against.

  9. Napoleon Dynamite

    March 29th, 2011 at 7:08 am

    @CC. I’m sure all that will be corrected in the PG-13 remake.

  10. Napoleon Dynamite

    March 29th, 2011 at 7:19 am

    I wonder how Michael Jackson’s version of “Stand By Me” would have held up against Big Daddy Kane’s version of “Lean On Me”?

    The world will never know… Damn you Rob Reiner and Dr. Conrad Murry!!

  11. I’ve been meaning to pick up the blu ray of this, it’s been years since I’ve seen it but I did read the novella in Different Seasons not long ago

    I would suggest everyone, whether you’re a fan or not, read King’s Different Seasons, which is without a doubt one of his best books, in many ways Apt Pupil is the most disturbing thing he’s ever written

  12. also prepare yourself to never think of Stand By Me the same way again http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/80d6c6be67/hits-from-the-90s-compilation-from-bobby-hacker

  13. My first R-Rated movie. Still holds up after all this time.

  14. Apt Pupil is a great story, and Bryan Singer totally screwed it up. I still can’t believe the director of The Usual Suspects wimped out like that. Now THERE’S something that should be adapted again.

  15. I’m with you CC, I watched the movie last year and was really disappointed by it, definitely a good candidate for a remake

  16. I honestly can’t remember the first time I saw this movie, it’s one of those films that’s just always been there. It’s funny how a movie set in a country I’ve never been to, in a time I wasn’t even born in can remind me more of my childhood than anything else I’ve ever seen. When I watch it now I wanna throw my playstation (and playstations in general) out the fucking window. Kids these days ect…

  17. Never saw this, believe it or not.

    Apparently this was back when Rob Reiner was actually a decent director (SPINAL TAP is a classic) so I’ll check it out sometime. Much sooner than SUCKER PUNCH, I’m certain.

    Fun Fact: What do Reiner and Christopher Nolan have in common? 3-time DGA nominees, ZERO best director Oscar nods.

  18. I’ve always how and why Rob Reiner when from being great to total shit

  19. *wondered

    shit, I messed that post up bad

  20. The Reiner turning point seems to have been A FEW GOOD MEN in 1991 or 92. MEN is a terrific movie; he managed to follow it up with the unwatchable NORTH. Then he did AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT, which is decent; and GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI, which is just OK, saved mainly by a fierce James Woods performance. After that, forget it, it’s been downhill ever since. His filmography gets worse and worse and worse. It’s really sad.

    I dunno, man, it’s tragic when you look at his body of work as a director. I’d be really hard pressed to come up with somebody else who has such a sharply divided career. He starts out with THIS IS SPINAL TAP, THE SURE THING, STAND BY ME, THE PRINCESS BRIDE, MISERY and A FEW GOOD MEN, and then….At least he’s still a good actor.

  21. Reiner used to be consistently very good back in the day… Spinal Tap, Stand By Me, Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery…

  22. I don’t know it it was Reiner’s turning point, he made good movies after it, but A Few Good Men is perhaps the worst piece of shit I have ever seen, and I really can’t understand how a man who made When Harry Met Sally… and The Princess Bride could sink that low. It’s bad even by Tom Cruise standards.

  23. Script by Aaron Sorkin, cinematography by Robert Richardson, terrific performances by Nicholson, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Pollak, J.T. Walsh, Kevin Bacon, Noah Wylie, Christopher Guest, Demi Moore and yes, Tom Cruise; and it predicted the Bush Administration’s torture policies. It’s an excellent movie.

    Buddy, if A FEW GOOD MEN is the worst you’ve ever seen, you haven’t seen anything yet. You are talking directly out of your ass.

    It’s about a million times better then that hideously overrated peice of rom-com nonsense When Harry Met Sally, a prophecy of what sadly lay ahead for Rob Reiner. But, hey, if you love that so much, I’m sure you’re a big fan of The Story Of Us, Alex And Emma, Rumor Has It and The Bucket List. Those some of the “good movies” Reiner has made since?

  24. pegsman, you can’t handle the truth!

    (i keed, i keed)

    in all seriousness, can any movie with a line of dialog that enters ubiquitous mainstream culture be considered a bad movie?

  25. BR – “DO YOU….. UNDERSTAND THE WORDS….. THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH!!!” is from a terrible movie. Fortunately that never caught on to “You can’t handle the truth!” levels

  26. Man, I first saw this when I was in my early teens. Obviously the pie-eating contest was the best thing ever seen by human eyes (it helps if you’re a chubby kid who had to listen to ‘chow down, lardass’ type shit daily). But I remember that I’d missed the Richard Dreyfuss prologue that warned us of Chris’s fate, so the end was a real gut punch.

  27. I always loved this movie. I saw it in the school. I was about 10 years old at the time. Was little shocking at times but nothing to worry really. Despite I’m not american and didn’t live in the 50s, as a kid, I could feel related to the characters and the message on the movie, it’s kinda universal. Altough I don´t belive that most of my peers got it or cared about at the time, or ever.

  28. neal2zod:


    ok, you win. bad movies can spawn mainstream cultural phrases

  29. Count me in as a fan of A FEW GOOD MEN, I watched it only last week in fact. Also, Tom Cruise might well be insane but is he ever bad in anything? Cruise is a fuckin good actor.

  30. I would ask: “Has he ever been good in anything?”
    To me Tom Cruise has always been the definiton of blandness (which is why his marriage with Nicole Kidman was so creepy, because she is maybe the blandest actress on earth!), unfortunately now, that everybody hates Cruise, it’s difficult to be taken seriously with such a statement. (Don’t wanna sound like a hipster, but I hated him before it became cool!)

  31. caruso_stalker217

    March 29th, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I was hoping Vern would get around to this one eventually. I’ve loved this movie since I was a kid. As a lifelong Oregonian I am amused that they moved the story from Maine but kept all the New England names. Royal River, Durham, etc.

  32. Bland? I dunno, man. We can all agree that he has sucked in some films (MI:2) but c’mon, you have to admit he can pull off some good shit; Three off the top of my head: Magnolia. Collateral. Risky Business.

  33. caruso_stalker217

    March 29th, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    CJ – I don’t think Cruise has the greatest range as an actor, but I think he turns in mostly solid performances. And say what you will about the guy, he never phones it in. He commits one hundred and ten percent. Just watch COLLATERAL or EYES WIDE SHUT and tell me this guy hasn’t been good in anything.

    You tell me that, buster!

  34. No, sorry, he never really convinces me. Everything he does comes across as acting, which is as we know, the worst kind of acting. Yes, he tries, but he fails! He is always the same Tom Cruise, even if tries to give it some edges, like in MAGNOLIA.
    I don’t demand much range from an actor. Not everybody can or should change his look in every movie or create memorable characters, that will be remembered in 50 years, but at least convince me, that you are not an actor, trying to act! Compare him to Denzel Washington! Recently there has been some kind of a backlash against him, because he never pulls a Johnny Depp or Jeffrey Combs and looks in every movie the same and hardly ever seems to try something different, but at least he convinces me! When Denzel cries on screen, I believe that he is sad. When he starts yelling, I believe that he is angry! But when Tom Cruise does the same, I usually always think (if any): “Oh look, it’s Tom Cruise, saying his memorized lines.”
    Sorry man. I never got the fuzz about him. (At least back in the 80’s he was a believable teeny heartthrob.)

  35. caruso_stalker217

    March 29th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I’m with you a hundred percent on Denzel. I’ve never seen him turn in a bad performance. Even in mediocre shit like COURAGE UNDER FIRE he turns in a great believable performance. Just a shame Meg Ryan was all up in that movie. Terrible actress.

  36. I think the turning point for Reiner came in ’94, when he read Darabont’s spec draft for Shawshank and decided he had to direct it. He offered Darabont an insane amount of cash, but Darabont decided that Shawshank was his once-in-a-lifetime shot at doing something amazing, so he turned the money down. Disheartened, Reiner chose to adapt a well-received novel with a script by a well-known writer with an all-star cast. That movie was North.

  37. “So the fat kid was your favorite, eh? The character coincidentally named “Vern”?”
    Who grew up to marry Rebecca Romijn, who played Mystique, Vern’s favourite X-Men character. Too much of a coincidence to ignore?
    Anyway, terrific film. Not much to add to what everyone else has said, but the info about all the friends being dead in the original story reminds me of how the original novella of THE GREEN MILE goes into similar detail about how all the other guards die as well as how Paul’s wife does too, the latter especially bad with it being in a horrific bus accident and not just natural causes.
    Also, Ace and his gang were after the body not just out of morbid curiosity, if I remember right, but also because they wanted to be famous for finding it. I guess that was the 1950s equivalent of being a reality tv star.

  38. STAND BY ME is so good it can make an actual 12-year-old boy feel nostalgic for what he’s going through right now. I remember getting all choked up when Dreyfuss says that bit about how no one ever has better friends than they do when they’re 12. Then I remember kind of shaking my head when the movie buzz had worn off and thinking “Really? My friends are fucking idiots. I hope I do better than this someday.”

    I think I always might have been kind of a prick.

  39. I think Cruise showed a decent amount of range in INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, say what you will about that movie he was excellent in it. Or maybe it just seemed that way because Brad Pitt was so awful. He was great in the first MISSION IMPOSSIBLE too.

  40. Sorry for going off up there, but that guy’s comment seems to have zero purpose except to attack anybody who liked A FEW GOOD MEN.

    People like Reiner, Oliver Stone, Steven Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson, Cameron Crowe, Micheal Mann, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and Guillermo Del Toro don’t cast Cruise just because he’s a box-office draw. They cast him because they see something there, something of substance as an actor and a screen presence. I agree, he probably doesn’t have a really wide range–not the way people like De Niro, Daniel Day Lewis, and Matt Damon do–but when he gets the right role he can play the hell out of it. Collateral, Minority Report, Magnolia, Born On The 4th Of July, The Color Of Money, A Few Good Men–I’d cite all of those as excellent performances by him.

    I worked on KNIGHT AND DAY, but never was on set the same time as Cruise. I heard nothing but good things about him. I also worked on The Great Debaters, and was very impressed by Denzel Washington. He really hasn’t ever given a bad performance, and is a really dignified and inspiring guy in person.

  41. Majestyk – absolutely agree. “Stand by me” is without a doubt one of my favorite movies of all time, both personally and in terms of the sheer quality of the movie. And you guys know how harsh I can be.

    CJ – Tom Cruise gave an excellent, under-appreciated performance in the original “Mission: Impossible”. (One of my favorite thriller-type movies, along with the likes of “Sneakers”). He was also effectively nasty in “Collateral”. The only really bad performance I can remember of his is “Mission: Impossible 2”, and that’s because the whole film is basically one long love-letter to his hair. (Seriously. They love that hairstyle so much, they actually put it on a mask and make Dougray Scott wear it as well.)

    I’m also one of the few people who actually liked “Eyes Wide Shut”. Yeah, I know how crazy that sounds, but look at who’s talking here.

    And I don’t understand the “A Few Good Men” hatred, at all. It’s not “Stand By Me” but it’s a pretty gripping courtroom thriller nonetheless. Apart from anything else, it’s Aaron Sorkin on great form, and that’s always worth watching.

    I don’t really understand the “Cruise” hate either, unless it’s the whole way he portrays himself (sofa-jumping, scientology, etc). Which is justified but, to me, irrelevant. A lot of the criticisms of his “range” could also be levelled at actors like Julia Roberts, Ben Affleck, Will Smith, etc. All of whom have given great, critically-acclaimed performances; all of whom have appeared in films that I like or love. And who the fuck hates Julia Roberts or Will Smith?

  42. I actually liked The Story Of Us, with a really good role for Bruce. I wonder if Vern would like it.

    I remember Cruise being good in Born on the 4th of July and Rain Man, though admittedly he only has to be an A-hole in Rain Man.

  43. Wait, people don’t like EYES WIDE SHUT!? It’s a fucking masterpiece!

  44. Also it sure seems like Kubrick was trying to out Tom Cruise with that movie.

  45. A FEW GOOD MEN isn’t particularly memorable except for that whole “you can’t HANDLE the truth” scene (which I doubt most people even remember the context of), and a few other scenes, mostly just of Nicholson’s lines.

  46. Stu – actually I pretty much liked most of it. The whole “military vs military lawyer” tension was handled very well, I thought, better than that kind of thing is usually done in this kind of film.

  47. Man this is just a really depressing “talkback” We got one guy that doesn’t like Stand By Me, we have another that hasn’t even seen Shawshank and another who thinks Tom Cruise has never been good in anything. I wish more white suburbans whose age was 3 when the 80s started would post here. lol

  48. no plug for Tropic Thunder in this “does Cruise have range” debate?

    i think that Cruise gets the backlash because of his public persona. He’s this scientologist asshole who famously couldn’t handle being squirted with a prank microphone. Consider that you can’t muster the same vitriol for Orlando Bloom, who is probably even more bland than Mr. Cruise. Also one is tempted to speculate on things like Katie Holme’s Battle Royale electronic explosive collar that he probably makes her and her child wear, as he prepares to sacrifice them to L. Ron Hubbard’s ghost.

    also, Vern makes some really insightful points about how Stand By Me was sort of this anomaly, an R-rated movie that’s not only appropriate to take your kids to, but probably more valuable for them than any number of movies specifically made for kids (especially in the mid 80’s, I imagine). But when I went back and watched it, I was struck by how much better the film would have been without Dreyfuss’ involvement. I mean the movie ends on a really satisfying, emotionally fulfilled note, and then Dreyfuss has to basically tell you that in voice over…it was sort of like the letters to Grandma in Platoon. Although I still haven’t seen the version of Blade Runner with Ford narrating (I am a younger person), but some people like that better … maybe the mid 80’s were an era of ill-advised voice overs?

  49. Oh, yeah, I forgot STANLEY KUBRICK.

    Cruise isn’t gay, sorry. Gay men don’t have energetic sex with Rebecca De Mornay.

  50. i think the good thing about cruise’s acting is his INTENSITY

    i think the bad thing about cruise, the person, is his INTENSITY

    i appreciate the man for his neck tendon stretching dedication to getting across the idea that this scene: it’s intense man. on the big screen, that is gold. but i get the feeling that if i had to be around the guy in real life, i don’t think i could handle more than a half hour with him

  51. Poor Wil Wheton, he’s hated even more than Tom Cruise and it’s not like Wesley was his fault because this movie proves the kid can act, it’s just that Wesley sucked by design and he takes the fall. Tom Cruise is better than he gets credit for, but if people want to hate on his frequent portrayals of “The best and most awesomest “spy/pilot/driver/bartender” ever!!!” then I get that.

    On an different note “A FEW GOOD MEN” is like a lot of plays that get turned into movies in that the interesting parts that made it a good play show through, but it still should have stayed a play because it’s a story about people talking about things.

  52. CC, so you just proved right there at Tom Cruise is an amazing actor.

  53. Sorry, but I stand by my opinion about Cruise. Even in TROPIC THUNDER he wasn’t convincing. Yes, he wore a fatsuit and tried to be self ironic, but nah, I don’t know. (But I do agree about Orlando Bloom. I think he and Scarlett Johansson are the Cruise and Kidman of this generation. And I will never understand what some otherwise pretty smart directors ever see in those actors.)

    Also marlow, you are wrong about Wil Wheaton! Yes, everybody hates Wesley Crusher, but Wil himself has re-invented himself years ago as smart blogger and writer and was able to gather a huge fanbase around him.

  54. I can see from your…eh…polite comments that my statement about A Few Good Men needs some clarification. I don’t hate the movie because it’s boring, badly acted (just watch the scene when Cruise is supposed to be drunk) or to hyped to ever be able to live up to it. I hate A Few Good Men because it’s a movie that claims to KNOW that we can sleep safely in our beds at night ONLY because of military bases on f*****g Cuba. I guess this was supposed to be the view of “bad guy” Nicholson, but the producers (or Reiner) are so afraid of losing the right wing audience that when it’s Cruise’s character’s time to respond to the stupid “you can’t handle the truth” statement, he basically wimps out. And it becomes the view of the movie. That’s why I hate A Few Good Men. Not because Cruise is a terrible actor. Which he is.

  55. caruso_stalker217

    March 30th, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Anybody else think Orlando Bloom was good in KINGDOM OF HEAVEN? Just me?

  56. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    March 30th, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Such a class movie.

  57. It was Demi Moore’s character who comes out with the line about sleeping safe in our beds etc, and it was directed at Kevin Pollack, in response to his protestation that they’re defending a couple of bullies. Nicholson’s view on the subject never comes up. His only crime (!) was to try and toughen up one of his men who was trying to wimp out and get transferred, and then try and cover up the fact he’d ordered the covert beating.

    Orlando Bloom is bland in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but he did manage to make an elf look badass
    in the Tolkien movies, and did a good job in Kingdom of Heaven.

  58. Jessop; “Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post.” A rather log quote, but it illustrates what I’m talking about.

  59. Pegsman, is your complaint about A Few Good Men that Nicholson’s point of view is more eloquent and compelling than the argument against his actions? And even though he is eventually held to account, his argument still rings more true?

  60. My complaint is that the film makers don’t adress the bullshit Jessop/Nicholson comes up with in a proper way. So they either agree with him or they don’t have the balls to call him on his lies.

  61. “..tries to be self ironic…” ? Uh, okay…

    And pegsman (most definitly a square peg in a round hole man): do you really think a pair of uber-liberals like Aaron Sorkin and Rob Reiner gave a goddamn about “losing the right wing audience”? In a film made shortly after the 1st gulf war? So because the filmmakers don’t have some of blatant, overly obvious, unsubtle speech or image denouncing a Marine Base in Cuba, you denounce the entire thing as a worthless?

    A. The point of that speech you qouted, and several other moments in the film, is to suggest that the military has a legitimate purpose and justification for existing, even if individuals don’t like it, maybe especially if you don’t like it. It’s addressing the post-Vietnam attitude of, “The military are genocidal nazis!” and trying to say, “No, they’re not always right, but a military is a useful thing for a nation to have, it’s like a police force, they end up doing a lot of unpleasent but often necessary things that many people don’t want to deal with or confront. At the same time, they shouldn’t be given carte blanche and be allowed to dictate policy; doing an unpleasent job does not justify being unpleasent.” B. Left out of your highly selective dialouge qoutes is the line Cruise says at the end to one of the Marines on trial, which is something like, “You don’t need a uniform and a gun to be an honorable man.” That, right there, seems to me to be a refutation of all of Col. Jessup’s blustering self-righteous hawkishness and militancy.

    I mean, the filmmakers themselves clearly come down on the side of the Cruise and Pollack’s characters, ect: they just do so in a subtle way that apparently entirely escaped your notice. I think your problems with Few Good Men have a lot more to do with your own shortcomings then anything that’s lacking in the film itself.

  62. And the Cruise / De Mornay episode I’m referring too happened off screen. It’s a fairly well-known tale around Hollywood that he was doing her in a limousine one time after they made Risky Bussiness. I’m not telling stories out of school, either. That’s been printed in a book, about gay actors in Hollywood; there’s an entire chapter on “the myth of Tom Cruise”, and the author, when he went searching for evidence of Cruise’s reputed gayness, found that instead. And there are similar stories about Cruise and Mimi Rogers, Mary E. Mastrantonio, ect. I personally have heard several such tales of Cruise’s carousing with various women and never ONCE heard a similar story about Cruise with men. Unlike various other extremely high profile A-List stars I could name, some of whom are married with children and yet are reported to regularly and cheerfully have sex with guys.

  63. The comparison of the movie with the song at the end of the review just about killed me (and I mean that in a good way).

    It would be interesting to compare how Reiner represents the 50s/early-60s in Stand By Me with his depiction of the same era in the movie Flipped. I think that would be a good case study as to what happened to Reiner as a filmmaker. Unfortunately, this would mean that someone would actually have to watch the movie Flipped.

  64. Napoleon Dynamite

    March 30th, 2011 at 9:27 am

    @CC. Tom Cruise may not be gay, but how he got from the hotness of those ladies you mentioned above to wack ass Katie Holmes is beyond me.

    I’m not a big Tom Cruise fan, in fact I have never seen Top Gun and really don’t care for the MI joints at all, but he forever gets props for “Born On The Fourth Of July” The boy has got skills on the acting tip.

    I’ve never seen the Oprah flip out in it’s full context, but I did see the Today Show flip out. It didn’t really disturb me because I’m used to building in cyphers with the 5% Nation of Gods and Earths and hearing all the righteous Black God Science on the weight of melanin in the pineal gland and the speed of thought and all kinds of buck wild shit that cats convince themselves to believe in.

    Tom Cruise just be dropping righteous. Scientological bombs on your motherfucking dome piece yo!

    Don’t hate… Congratulate!

  65. “no plug for Tropic Thunder in this “does Cruise have range” debate?”
    Let’s wait for the supposed LES GROSSMAN spinoff movie before we declare that a real example or range. It’s fun, but the movie didn’t exactly rest on his shoulders.
    “i think that Cruise gets the backlash because of his public persona.”
    I think it’s more that these days, Cruise doesn’t take very many risks in the roles he picks, and likely due to concern for his persona, and as a result, a lot of his characters are interchangeable in their personalities, despite things like profession and the situations they find themselves in. Shit, when he played a NAZI, it was only as an actual “good” Nazi who was trying to kill Hitler. AND HE DID IT WITH AN AMERICAN ACCENT!

  66. CC – I agree with you more than with Pegsman, but don’t say stuff like “I think your problems with Few Good Men have a lot more to do with your own shortcomings then anything that’s lacking in the film itself.” He’s got a different perception of the film is all. You may not agree with it, you may not even think it’s justified, but you can make a counter-argument without sounding insulting / condescending. Yeah, I know what you meant, but it comes across badly.

    But let me make one thing clear here, if I may. My sarcastic calling-out of the “Kill Zone” review was, obviously, a joke and a compliment to Vern (I hope everyone gets that, right?) but there was also a point to it. This site is called “striving for excellence” and it seems to me that lately it might as well change its name to “justifying mediocrity”. Because an awful lot of crap has got some support here recently.

    I could go over and over the examples I’ve come across recently, but to take the latest one that I’ve seen: “The Expendables”. Vern’s review of that, while not exactly a glowing recommendation, was probably the most positive I’ve seen. And ok, Steve Austin was good and Jason Statham did as good as job as he could and the twists involving Dolph Lundgren’s character were well handled.

    But still… this movie has scenes that were blatantly made-for-trailer and serve no purpose in the film (Arnie cameo anyone?) It’s got a soundtrack that sounds like it was taken straight from a videogame like “Rainbow Six”, dialogue that’s made up of cliches that don’t even make any sense within the movie, and what must be close to a career-worst performance for Stallone. (Yeah, “Judge Dredd” was worse, but at least he looked like he was trying in that one.) And you guys are complaining about the action direction? Sure, I agree it was bad, but THAT’S supposed to be the worst thing about this movie?

    I guess what I’m saying is that I used to come here to find gems like “Universal Soldier: Regeneration” and “Blood and Bone”. Now what I’m finding is “The Tournament” and “Marines 2”. When did we start giving awful story, dialogue, acting, characters or soundtrack a pass just because a movie has a few well-directed action scenes? Is that what “striving for excellence” means nowadays?

    Look, the mainstream media often doesn’t give these types of movie a chance, I get that. It’s good that there’s a forum like this where you can get honest opinions about films that might be great, but end up being neglected. But “honest opinions” doesn’t mean “unconditional free pass”. I fucking loved “Kill Zone”. It’s an excellent film. It’s so good, it felt like a blast from the past. If you put mediocre films on the same pedestal as this one, what you’re also doing is cheapening the praise for a genuinely great film. And that’s no good.

    Ok again, I’m done.

  67. Thank’s for helping me out, CC. I forgot about that last line from Cruise. What a punchline! That’s like Predator ending with Arnold saying “you naughty boy” after taking all that beating. It’s fair to say that we want a lot more than that. Especially from a courtroom drama made by (as you call them) uber-liberals. It would have been so easy for an intelligent man to crucify Jessop after that speach, but it doesn’t happen. It reminds me of the trick they used in Basic Instinct. Whenever Sharon Stone came up with one of her supposedly wicked one-liners none of the other characters said anything. Even if it would have been so easy to take her down a peg or ten.

  68. Except Vern didn’t really put those films on the same pedestal. It’s pretty clear to me from reading his reviews that KILL ZONE was invited onto the winners podium and THE EXPENDABLES and was told, “Good game, kid. You showed a lot of heart. We’ll get ’em next time.”

    I would also argue that good action directing is one of the most important things for an action movie to have since it is the entire point of the genre. Though the comments section for STAND BY ME is probably not the best place for me to make that argument.

  69. CJ – Oh yeah, Wil Wheton is great. Maybe it didn’t come across that way but I was trying to say that I think the guy got a bad rap for being Mary-Sue Crusher.

    Also, Wesley was still better than everyone on Voyager not named Janeway or Seven of Nine.

  70. Jareth Cutestory

    March 30th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Majestyk: I think it was you who referred to Christian Bale’s Batman voice as “a prank call made by the Cookie Monster.” If that makes you a “prick,” then the world is better for it.

    Also, thanks to this thread I now have a mental image of Tom Cruise intensely engaged in a sex act with”neck tendon stretching dedication.” Thanks guys.

  71. What? No love for the Holodoc, Marlow?

  72. Actually, I think I called it either his “stupid Robert Loggia voice” or “like Corey Feldman in The Lost Boys trying to sound grown up.” I have too much respect for the venerable Mr. C. Monster to drag him into this.

  73. Paul: I hear what you’re saying and agree. I don’t want to come in to these remarkably civil and intelligent comment threads and contribute arguments and hate speech, or lower the standards of conversation. If I unintentionally sank to personal attacks or insults, my apologies. You’re right, and I could have expressed myself a lot better.

    That being said, I do just want to state that I honestly don’t give much creedence to pegsman’s take on A Few Good Men. I got the impression that his or her original post calling it “the worst peice of shit I’ve ever seen” was motivated by my post describing it as the turning point in Reiner’s career, and an excellent film. They seemed offended I dared to praise it and posted something specifically as a criticism of my own taste and opinions. Maybe it wasn’t a personal attack, but it was close.

    Second, A Few Good Men is obviously not a terrible movie. I can understand not liking it for whatever reason; hell, I loathe American Beauty, I think that’s a terrible movie. At the same time, American Beauty is still clearly better then, say, The Room or Troll 2. (although not nearly as enjoyable to watch.) To describe A Few Good Men that way is innacurate, at best.

    But then, when I found out WHY they had such a vehement dislike of A Few Good Men, how they justified that opinion, if anything it just undercut their position even further. It seeemed like this frankly illogical interpretation of the film based on a very selective reading, if not an outright distortion. It reminded me of the people who complained that JFK was homophobic, or AVATAR racist; or an essay I read once that JAWS was a conservative film reinforcing patriarchal masculinity, because it showed three men destroying an “archetypal female sea monster”….despite the fact that the shark is specifically identified as being male. Which the authors of the essay admitted and then dismissed because it didn’t matter what was actually in the movie. That essay is still the stupidest pseudo-intellectual excuse for film criticism I’ve ever read.

  74. Um… wasn’t A Few Good Men originally a play adapted for the screen?
    And I seem to remember that the US Military were so against the movie they gave absolutely zero assistance during the production. Even the guards at the beginning doing all the fancy twirling of the rifles were actors.

  75. MikeOutWest: Correct on both stage origins and lack of military assistance. The precision drill team at the beginning were from the University of Alabama or something.

  76. Jake – I agree about “The Expendables”, although Vern was more positive about it than almost anybody else I heard of. But others… not so much. “The Tournament” and “Marines 2” have stuck in my mind as particularly good/bad examples. Great reviews, horrible films, and I don’t think it’s just a subjective or personal opinion (in the sense that I can’t watch mafia films, including some that are almost universally acknowledged as classics, but I don’t think it’s because they’re objectively “bad”).

    CC – I do agree with your point, it was just the way you called out Pegs that grated on me a little. But yeah, I can understand his point but I don’t agree with it. To me it’s a lot less black-and-white than that.

  77. I don’t really want to hijack these comments any further but I just wanted to say I don’t think I got the same impression from those reviews that you did, Paul. And the proof is on my DVD shelf. I bought UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION and BLOOD AND BONE thanks to Vern’s glowing recommendations. I still haven’t even seen THE TOURNAMENT and THE MARINE 2.

    That’s all I had to say. Now these comments can get back to what they were originally supposed to be about: a discussion of Tom Cruise’s sexuality.

  78. Jake – well I won’t labour the point. Also, you just made me spit all over my keyboard, damn you!

  79. I can see that I once again have fired a mustard gas grenade into the filmatic no mans land where the flowers of peace, harmony and platonic love should be able to live and grow without interference from my mortar of idiocy. For that I apologize. My grandfather once warned me against discussing religion and politics with strangers (he didn’t say anything about taking candy from them and go for a ride in their cars, but that’s another story), and I should have known better. For those still interested, and this is me not talking out of my ass (is that possible, by the way? It would be a neat party trick!) all I wanted to say was that for personal political reasons I don’t like A Few Good Men. It is of course not the worst peace of shit I’ve seen, nor is it the worst Tom Cruise movie I’ve seen. But for once I wanted to give another reason than the fact that I think Cruise belongs in Days of Our Lives and not in all the blockbusters they throw his way. Next time I’ll go straight to the Cruise hating.

  80. Pegsman – I’m not sure if talking out of your ass is possible, but if anyone could do it, it’d have been Le Petomane.


  81. Paul: Hey, I totally hear you. Good call, man.

  82. By the way, I like Stand by Me.

  83. While my parents were huge movie fans themselves (and largely responsible for my love of film), during my childhood they were very, very strict about what I could and could not see. Which is why Stand By Me holds a very special place in my heart as the first R-rated movie my folks ever took me to. I was in sixth grade and had just turned 12…in a way, just seeing the movie under those circumstances felt like my own little “coming of age” moment. It was a huge deal, made all the more so by the flick being so damn good. For years and years I owned the soundtrack on vinyl (of course I never referred to it as such) and those songs still make me smile. Like Mr. Majestyk, Richard Dreyfuss’s comment about never having friends quite like those you had when you were 12 hit home and resonated with me even at that age.

    Great review as always, Vern…keep up the “maintaining the excellence” standard.

  84. My first R-rated theatrical experience?


    I was nine.

    I was never the same.

  85. Ooooooh. Not totally sure about my 1st R-rated *theatrical* experience. I definitely saw TRUE LIES at a drive-in somewhere near Shelby, NC, in 1994, with THE SHADOW as the opener.

    My first R-rated movie viewing experience involved our beloved Verhoeven. I saw TOTAL RECALL when I was 7, maybe 7 and a half, right when it came out on VHS. It seems fate has been working to bring us together for many moons, Mr. Majestyk. Maybe Verhoeven is God, or one of God’s angels. Or maybe, more believably, we’ve just always had innately impeccable taste in film. {hi-5}

  86. I also saw TOTAL RECALL in the theater. I was like, “Guy who made ROBOCOP? Arnold? Mom, I need you to stand outside the theater and wave to the ticket guy so me and the boys can go see some sickening violence. Make sure to tell my friends’ parents we saw DICK TRACEY again.”

  87. There is nothing wrong with having bought a ticket for and genuinely enjoying DICK TRACY in the theatre, even if it somehow ruined my super-young (& surprisingly super-sexual, now that I think about it) crush on Madonna.

  88. Mr. Majestyk & Mouth, those are both two great films for your first R rated theatrical experience. I am trying to remember what my first R rated theatrical experience is. I will have to think about it, but I think it was Die Hard 2. That would have put me at 11 years old, and my brother would have been 8.

  89. The more I think about it I am pretty sure it was DIE HARD 2, and after that the floodgates were open. Within the next year I saw DOUBLE IMPACT, T2, & THE LAST BOY SCOUT all theatricality (I am sure there are more I am forgetting). Also, the first R rated film I ever saw was THE RUNNING MAN followed by DIE HARD.

  90. Saw all those in the theater.

    Man, I was a fucking awesome little kid.

  91. I hereby certify Charles the Young as Badass Certified. (Am I allowed to do that? Does Vern have to preside over this kind of thing? Consider the certification conditional until otherwise officially notarized.)

    I definitely saw RUNNING MAN during elementary/early middle school, and I definitely simulated that pen-signature-poke-in-the-scapula scene way too often & way too uncomfortably in my younger days.

    First movie for which I ever skipped school & rode to see with a slightly older, un-licensed 14 year old friend who happened to be rich & have access to a Jeep Wrangler, a vat of cheap rum, & a pack of shoplifted Benson & Hedges Menthol 100s? Yup, more Verhoeven — STARSHIP TROOPERS.

  92. Works a bit different in the UK. We have rated 15 and rated 18. Can’t remember my first 15. My first 18? Last Boy Scout, got to see it aged 14. Thank you, Ticket guy who didn’t give a shit how old I was, I appreciate it.

  93. I saw my first live breasteses when I was 12, at a campfire type situation. Melissa was way overendowed for a 12 year old, and her magnificent nipples, even in the weak light of the pine-pyre, were strikingly adultesque.

    Do I win this thread now?

  94. Mouth, thanks for the Badass certification, but if I am badass then my brother is even more so because he got to do everything I did and he was 2 and a half years younger.

    Also, I see your 12 year old nipple sighting and raise you a blow job and an amazing pair of late 20 something tits. ( I was 12 the first time I got some head, and before that when I was around 9 or 10 a really hot chick lost her top at the water park I was at and it is still burned into my mind to this day.)

  95. wow Mouth and Charles I’m jealous, I’m 21 and yet to really see a pair of live breasteses *sigh* and a girl losing her top at the water park? why can’t that happen to me? the closet would be seeing some of a girl’s buttcrack in the wavepool *sigh*

    anyway I think my first R rated movie in a theater was Saving Private Ryan

    also I love how we’re all such big fans of Verhoeven, I remember watching Starship Troopers on VHS when I was like 8 early in the morning when my parents were still asleep and being quite surprised by the shower scene, I think that was the second time I saw tits (the first being Titanic)

  96. My first R-rated movies on video would probably be Stripes, Terminator 1 and/or Police Academy. Can’t be sure of the order, but those were the good old days where PG movies like Sheena already had breasts.

    First theatrical I think was Beverly Hills Cop II just by sheer timing. Wasn’t long before I was seeing Running Man and such. My parents were always cool about movies, and look how it paid off for me!

  97. You know, I’m kind of a joyless bastard with most movies. I see technique, skill, acting. I see the craft, (though I much prefer Scream or Wild Things, as far as Neve Campbell movies go). I’m much more likely to be wowed by the technique of the second act reveal than I am to be emotionally absorbed in most movies. But damnit, I just rewatched this film, and it pulls me and never lets go. A perfect film about childhood.

    What other realistic movies about youth and young adulthood influenced you guys or reflected your experience. Here are some of mine:

    SLC Punk!
    (wonderful technique and deeply identifiable characters. I knew all of these kids coming up. Doesn’t hurt that the cheating girlfriend looked just like my first love)

    (I wasn’t one of these kids, but I sure knew them)

    Stand By Me
    (My life was nothing like this…but it makes me wistful for a moment of emotional naivete that I really relate to)

    (Very good piece on youth culture group dynamics. One of the few films to get close to how casual sex works in the teen set)

    Mean Creek
    (Relatable, human characters. One of the best bully characters ever)

    Jeez, I sure seem to like my darker children’s fare

  98. Anyone else think it’s pretty funny that the only “fight” on Outlawvern in…maybe ever, took place in a talkback for Stand By Me, and revolved around the quality of Rob Reiner as a filmmaker. Badass juxtaposition anyone?

  99. A blowjob at 12? Damn, boy. I don’t know how I would have even contextualized that at that age. In fact, I’m not even jealous…I don’t know that I would have wanted that.

    Of course, in middle school and early high school (before I was ever having sex), I did play really hardcore games of Truth or Dare with about 6-8 girls. I was usually the only boy there, or one of two. See, we played differently than most. We played with you get two dares, you gotta pick one or you gotta leave the circle. This game was played very regularly.

    I would never have the guts to be so blunt or go so far today, but at the time it all seemed normal.

  100. First R-rated film I saw in theaters was a LACMA screening of Brazil. Then Kill Bill Volume 2. Then I stopped asking parental permission and just started sneaking into them regularly.

  101. My first R was The Wild Bunch, I think. I was 12, and movie wise I grew up quickly after that one. But in addition to the action stuff me and my brother saw a lot of grown up films that I think matured us in a good way (I mean, what 12 year olds watches Get Carter, Don’t Look Now or Midnight Cowboy today?). These days I can’t get my three sons to see a movie with me unless it has lasers and cyborgs and people getting their head blown off in 3D. They would probably fall asleep if I showed them Peckinpah, Kubrick or Leone.

  102. Things that have solidified my transition into middle age, in no particular order:

    1) My 14-year-old cousin asking me, “What’s Pulp Fiction?”

    2) The 25th Anniversary of Back to the Future (closely tied with the 20th birthday of Chucky)

    3) Posting on a message board where people’s first R-rated movie was Kill Bill, a film for which I was already many years into a professional journalism career and, incidentally, one which I also saw with my ex-wife when we were still in the dating stage.)

    Just random reflections, yet oddly appropriate for the Stand By Me thread.

  103. In all fairness, I was 15 or so at the time. And my first R-rated movie experience was Brazil…it still counts if it was at an art museum, doesn’t it?

    you wanna know something bizarre? I was asking permission to go see R-rated movies in April of that year (even though I went to see 2, 3 movies in a row every weekend, autonomously), and I was having sex by July.

    It was a big year in development for me…

  104. Wait…no, I have this timeline wrong. I know that I saw Kill Bill Volume 1 in theaters, multiple times. And Man on Fire. And I think maybe Jackass. And I definitely saw Freddy Versus Jason like 3 times in theaters…so, maybe Kill Bill Volume 2 was just one of the first times I asked permission?

    I know Brazil at LACMA was first…I started watching R-rated movies in theaters towards the end of 2002.

    In any case, there was still a V-chip in my family’s television and a semi-official ban on R-rated movies until well after I lost my V-card.

  105. pegsman, WILD BUNCH is a heavy hard R film for your first R rated experience. You didn’t just dip your toes in the water you dove straight into the deep end.

  106. How many of you guys had your dad take you to your first R rated theatrical experience? That was the case for my brother and I. Actually, I feel like my dad is a big reason why I am such a fan of film and more specifically badass cinema. My parents separated and divorced when I was 4, and when I was 7 my mom moved from Austin to Seattle with my brother and I. My Dad stayed in Austin because of his job, so this meant we would only see our dad during the summer and holidays. Often he would have to work when we went to stay with him and he would take us to work with him, and it was pretty common for him to take us to a movie in the middle of the day depending on his schedule. Then there would be times where he would come visit us for Christmas, and we would stay with him at a hotel while he was in town. Sometimes we would go see like 2 or 3 movies in a day because there was nothing to do in the hotel, and it was the holidays and a lot of places where closed except for the movie theater.

  107. Hunter, for the sake of full disclosure I will admit my sexual exploits at 12 did more damage then good. My girlfriend at the time that I experimented with was 14, and while she was sexual inexperienced she was much more sexually mature then me. However, neither of us were prepared to deal the feeling of intimacy and closeness that come with sexual activity, and it really fucked with our heads and our relationship. We went from being friends that enjoyed each others company and occasionally made out, to every minute we were together we were fooling around. We did everything but have sex. We almost did once but my brother came home and interrupted us, and after that we were like “what are we doing, this can’t be healthy”. Our relationship ended when she went to high school and I was still middle school, but the whole thing messed with my head so much I didn’t date again till college.

  108. Wowza. That there is some blunt honesty. It’s like the third act character reveal where you find out the dude who’s been bragging the whole time actually feels awful about his war stories. I donno what to say other than thanks for having the courage to share that with us.

    I know my first sexual experiences fucked with me too. I was 15, and very serious about the girl, (in that retarded 15-year old way). It lasted all of 5 months and left me in emotional tatters for years. I had other girlfriends, lots of other girlfriends, but I never really got over that first one. Not until I got to college and met a truly magnificent example of the female form on Halloween night. I went to a big party school, and Halloween is like Marde Grais there, but we both stayed in that night and ended up talking for 6 hours. It was the first real conversation I had had in almost a month.

    She was the perfect girlfriend in large part because she was probably the only girl I have ever dated who was smarter than me. That sounds arrogant, but it’s true. We almost settled down together, had long term plans and everything, but I tried to explain that we shouldn’t get engaged right out of college. She didn’t get it, thought I was trying to pull away and avoid commitment. And now I spend a lot of time falling asleep thinking about her.

    These days, I don’t date girls. I mean, I spend a lot of time with girls, often in their beds. I just don’t do the whole dating thing anymore. I’m 22 and I’m not going to settle down with any girl I meet at this age, so getting “serious” is just begging for trouble. And yeah, maybe part of that is because I still miss her. Maybe part of it is I don’t want to disrespect any woman I could get involved with by pretending we’re in an exclusive relationship when I’m still not over my ex. And maybe that’s a rationalization too because I just like the fact that I’m suddenly able to be a bit of a Lothario, and I’m still consistently excited to find that women, outrageously beautiful women, are often attracted to me. Maybe I just like how that feeds my ego.

    In any case, movies…

  109. wow, now all of a sudden I’m not feeling so bad about being 21 and never having a girlfriend yet, maybe it’s best to wait till you’re more mature before you get into that stuff?

  110. Well, arguably its those sort of experiences which teach you about life and leave you wiser and more mature. I wouldn’t trade away any of my bad experiences, although I do attempt to not relive them. In my opinion, its always worth having an experience and getting burned rather than staying safe and avoiding one. I try to live that philosophy, anyway.

  111. I should say, not that you should push things, either. Just be ready to say yes when the time comes.

  112. Woo, I now have a working computer again. Sorry for AFKing on you guys.

    HunterD, to me “Stand by me” is the archetypical coming-of-age movie that every other coming-of-age movie tries to be, and can’t quite live up to. I didn’t have a childhood like these guys either, but damn if I didn’t want to.

    (Which, when you think about what happens to them in that film, sounds pretty damn odd… but you know what I mean. Maybe a childhood like theirs but without the parental abandonment, homicidal bully menacing, and genital leech infestation?)

  113. Adding to my last post… but then, maybe, that was the whole point. These four friends had SO MUCH, from the commonplace to the bizarre to the outright sociopathic, to deal with. And they all did it together. That’s an inspirational story right there.

  114. I can’t think of a more appropriate thread to share tales of the transition from childhood, to adolescence, and then adulthood then STAND BY ME. The reality is for better or for worse a number of things in my life forced me to grow up early in many ways. However, at the same time I am almost 32 years old and consider myself to be somewhat of a man child, because despite everything I have been through at the end of the day in my heart I am just a big kid.

  115. Griff,

    if you wanna meet girls, just focusing on talking to them. Don’t think ahead. Don’t try and make them your girlfriend, don’t try and even sleep with them. Just focus on meeting another person and getting to know them. The more specific your objective, the more pressure you put on yourself and the more likely you are to fail. If you have no specific goals, there is very little chance of failure and thus you’ll be much more charming and eloquent.

    You’re a smart kid, reading your posts on here, I would never guess that we were peers. Some girls, a lot of girls actually, go for intelligence. That’s how I’ve always been able to attract women. Just ask lots of questions, repeat back what they’re saying in different words, and then add some personal perspective. Your comments here are definitely insightful, so I’m sure you’d be good at that.

    Just don’t lie to them (it’s easier to just be honest, don’t have to keep track of lies) and never sleep with a drunk girl and you’re good.

    It might sound odd, but you might wanna try reading a pick-up artist book. Ignore everything they say about negging and all of the mind games, but listen to what they have to say about approaching women and presenting yourself. Some of that stuff is really good advice for many avenues of life, even those that have nothing to do with ladybits.

  116. Also, reason number 602342 that I love this site; we can discuss our sexual “conquests” in a legitimate and honest manner without the fratboy braggadocio that would overwhelm near any other message board.

  117. Griff, I know this is going to sound cheesy, but never be ashamed about who you are, and don’t worry about trying to compare your life experiences against others because at the end of the day you can only be you. Who is to say that I would not have made the same choices you have if I had to walk in your shoes. Be true to yourself and you will find happiness, but if you try to live your life based on what other people think or approve of you can wind up a pretty miserable person, and I can say that from experience.

  118. awww thanks Hunter D. and Charles, very rarely have I ever got such polite and meaningful responses on the internet

    I’ve always been kind of a late bloomer when it comes to most things, heck I didn’t get a computer and the internet until early 2006, so I’m confident that when I eventually get around to socializing with girls I should do just fine

  119. Griff, socializing with girls like anything else in life get easier with time and experience. It is going to be awkward at first, but the more you do it the easier it will get. We all have to crawl before we can walk.

  120. And then you can crawl sometimes for effect.

  121. Wow wow wow wow wow. You know, I’ve dated all my life and I’ve just now started to realize I don’t form close relationships that way. I’m looking forward to taking it easy and just bringing new friends into my life. It’s a load off that I’m not trying to “make” something happen with someone.

    My parents took my to my first R-rated movies because we were just a movie family. My dad really loves his kids and he didn’t care about sci-fi and really hated horror, but he loved taking my sister and I to see Rambo, Arnold and Chucky. My mom was usually along too because she was the true movie lover. She claims she doesn’t like action though, but she always liked Steven Seagal.

    Once I was a teenager they would just buy the tickets and let me go with my friends. By the time I was 15 I looked old enough to buy my own R-rated tickets, although I believe theaters are more careful now. I do remember sneaking into My Cousin Vinny.

  122. FTopel, My mom was always cool about taking my brother and I to movies as well. She took us to see numerous badass films at the theater, including PULP FICTION and HARD TARGET. Actually, the only movie she ever took us to where she was totally unhappy with our selection was BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE. To this day she still thinks it is one of the dumbest movies she has ever seen. I don’t understand why because it is unbelievably awesome. I would be willing to bet that she only tolerated a number of the movies she took us to, but at least she knew what we were watching and would talk to us about it afterward.

  123. My parents were movie fascists because they knew I cared about movies. I was reading Bret Easton Ellis in the 8th grade. I was allowed to listen to whatever I wanted. Hell, my mother bought me a copy of Limp Bizkit, Korn, NiN RAtM and Dead Kennedys records while I was 12-13 (I had mostly shitty taste back then. I’m sorry). I only had a gameboy, but I have plenty of violent video games for that too.

    But they knew I was really into movies, so they censored films as a way of putting me in my place. Ironically, of all that media, movies were the only part that DIDN’T negatively influence me.

  124. That’s interesting, Charles. I wonder which of the films my parents actively hated. I know my dad didn’t like seeing killer dolls but it still made him life and it created positive memories for him. I actually just took him to see Drive Angry and Battle: LA at press screenings and he hated Drive Angry and didn’t think much of Battle either. He didn’t like Avatar either and only grudgingly saw it because it was popular. He did like District 9 though which makes me so proud, one that he even gave a sci-fi movie a chance AND that he got it.

    Also on the relationship front, it occurred to me that I used to think if a girl didn’t want to sleep with me, or even if she didn’t want to go out with me, I was doing something wrong. That’s probably where the Mystery Method comes from, this study of the perfect thing to say for any potential partner. The heart of the matter is actually if someone isn’t for you, you’re not doing anything wrong at all. On the contrary, you’re valuing yourself enough not to push something that will ultimately leave you unfulfilled.

    Although I did date a stripper once and I wouldn’t trade that experience for all the soul mates in the multiverse. :)

  125. FTopel, the last two films I saw with my mother in the theater were INCEPTION & IRON MAN 2 (she liked both of them). It is funny because my mother does not really like violence in movies, but she will admit that she loves big explosions. She is all for spectacle but can do without bloodshed. The last two films I saw with my father in the theater were THE EXPENDABLES and AVATAR (he liked both of them).

  126. I’ve always looked at it like this, if I approach a girl and she rejects me, great! Saves us both a lot of time and possibly some heartache. She knows pretty immediately whether there will ever be a spark there. You just can’t fake it.

    Funny story; you know how I prepared for my first pitch meeting? It was during February of my Sophomore year in college and I had a meeting at Fox for a comic book I had developed with a professional writer friend of mine. (It didn’t sell and now we can never make it because it’s pretty much the exact same thing as Inception). I knew I had to go to this meeting on the Fox lot on Tuesday morning, so I went out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. I didn’t dress up for the parties. Didn’t do my hair up cool. Didn’t get some liquid courage. I just went in cold and picked the 10 most desirable women (by my personal standards, not by Hollywood standards) at each party.

    And then I bombed with all of them.

    I went up, started a conversation, just chatting, and got shut down 10 times in a row, three days in a row.

    By the time I got to the pitch meeting, I had balls of fucking steel. Sat around talking shit with the executive for 45 minutes before we even got around to the project at hand.

    It’s a good exercise. I highly recommend it. That, or get naked in front of everyone you know as part of a piece performance art. Both are incredibly liberating.

  127. My wife and I don’t have children, but I am a full time uncle (my 3 nephews live two houses down from my wife and I), and I try to expose my nephews to the good stuff that their mom or dad most likely do not even know about. Their mom will take them to see trash like PAUL BLART: MALL COP or GROWN UPS, so I try to balance that out by showing them movies like RUMBLE IN THE BRONX and ARMY OF DARKNESS.

  128. I’ve got an uncle who has a DVD player, but doesn’t actually buy any movies or tv shows to watch on them. He just mooches off of me. At least I’ve spread some badass cinema around by lending him the likes of UNDISPUTED 2, BLACK DYNAMITE, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION, BLOOD AND BONE, NINJA and MACHETE.

  129. Hunter, good point. I think when talking to girls most guys tend to get intimidated and over think things when the worst that can happen is a girl tells you she is not interested. I highly recommend that any young man that is starting to date or go out to meet women should first intentionally put your self in the position to be rejected so you can get used to it and realize that it is not really a big deal. Think of it as conditioning. In my early twenties for a while there I went out of my way to ask out any random women that I perceived to be out of my league just so I could face my fear of rejection head on. After a couple of times I was completely comfortable with being shot down, and after that when I had the chance to approach a girl I was genuinely interested in I did so without hesitation.

  130. Stu, I have spent an embarrassing amount of money on VHS tapes, DVD’s and Blu-Ray discs over the course of my life. However, it has given me the chance to share my love of film with my friends and family, so given the chance I would do it all over again.

  131. Hunter, that is true, although there’s no denying the sting of finding out that the girl you thought was pretty isn’t nice to you. The most peaceful thought is you can’t fake it, but The Mystery Method is actually a system that allows you to successfully fake it for as long as you can keep it up. I must not have as much stamina as other guys, because I find it too exhausting, but some people find it natural and work it all night, for weeks or even years dating someone. The more evolved perspective is that you keep yourself open to the RIGHT relationship. Definitely braving rejection is a necessary and useful step.

    I know I used to feel really jealous when guys who were naturally vague and manipulative got all the attention. I saw one guy blatantly not answer ladies’ questions and bounce around from woman to woman giving no one his full attention. They were eating out of his hands and I don’t even think he was working a system. He was just naturally ADD. I wanted to be like that and it took a lot of personal growth to realize that I’m not supposed to be like someone else. And the women who were drawn to him were not for me, no matter how pretty they were. There are plenty of pretty ladies who love movies and honesty and integrity.

    God, Rumble in the Bronx is so not deservedly R-rated. It’s a cartoon.

  132. hey Hunter D., I once got naked in front of people at the local mall for performance art and the cops arrested me! damn cops just didn’t understand my art!

  133. Know your audience, man.

  134. You know the cliche for when you want to express that something isn’t difficult — “It’s not rocket science” or “It’s not brain surgery”?

    Well, what do rocket scientists & brain surgeons say instead? They say, “It’s not like talking to women.”

    I have a few secrets on how to bust up a chastity belt/avoid the cockblock/charm the chicks in various situations, but my little tricks don’t consistently work. I don’t practice TJ Mackey tactics or anything; usually, everything I do to impress girls is based on the environment & circumstances of the moment. Ultimately, I’ve realized that, hey, they don’t call it “getting lucky” for nothing.

  135. billydeethrilliams

    April 5th, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Mouth- Jim Gaffigan?

  136. Might be, billydee. I absorbed it somewhere, and Gaffigan’s a funny dude. It’s not plagiarism if I don’t remember the source.

    I also love the Larry Miller take on what it means to “meet women” in his brilliant old “Just Words” stand-up special. I wish I could find that online.

  137. OMG I remember the Larry Miller routine too.

  138. I’m certainly no rocket surgeon, but I know something about this subject. Dating and all that is fine, but what you’ll realize after a while is that you just need one good one. A girl who shares your interests and whom you can talk to day in and day out without getting tired of the conversation. A friend, basically (whom you get to sleep with). I’ve been with the same woman for 20 years now and we still enjoy doing the same stuff as we did when we first met; watching movies, listening to music and drinking a few beers on friday nights.

  139. Hey Pegsman, you know, that one special partner was all I ever wanted, even as a teenager. Yet I’ve dated a string of women who seemed compatible on the surface, but always revealed they actually didn’t like watching movies all the time or thought I should give up this journalism thing. I suppose they each reflected where I was in my life at the time, and moving past them helped me grow.

    You’re lucky and blessed. I’m still hopeful.

  140. Pegsman – FTopel is right. I sincerely wish I had what you have.

  141. so I bought the Stand By Me blu ray on Amazon last night, I also bought…..Enter The Void

    should I prepare for CGI dickheads coming at me?

  142. I’m one of those who don’t think too highly of THE PRINCESS BRIDE. However, SPINAL TAP, STAND BY ME, WHEN HARRY MEET SALLY and MISERY are all top notch movies. And THE SURE THING is a one hell of a fun movie. And if i forget that Tom Cruise is in it, A FEW GOOD MEN is a really good movie. Rob Reiner used to be really, really good. Not anymore. Nowdays i avoid any movie directed by him.

    He’s still a one hell of an actor, however.

  143. Anyway, we should continue this discussion.

  144. I’m happy to continue now that my posts are working again. Striving for excellence in my personal life too, where better to work my relationship issues. Does this count as my badass juxtaposition?

  145. My brother and I were literally (or shall I say lit) obsessed with this movie as kids, and with a gun to my head, I’d sitll be able to recite the meatier chunks of dailogue. Now, as I analyze the portrayal of emotions in child actors (in what will become an undoubtedly dry 12 pager), I just want to thank you for making my day.
    Best Stand by Me review ever.
    Keep on keepin’ on son!

  146. Thanks Rosemary, I’m glad you liked it.

  147. We have to do this movie for a school oral and im stuck on vern

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