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Stand by Me Reviews

From the moment we hear the Ben E. King-Mike Stoller-Jerry Lieber hit "Stand By Me," we know we're in for a nostalgia trip, but STAND BY ME is a lot more than that. The picture is framed by the reminiscences of a writer (Richard Dreyfuss). Hearing about a friend's death, he recalls the summer of 1959, when he and his 12-year-old friends spent their time hanging around doing what boys do. Gordie (Wil Wheaton) is the writer as a youth, and he's joined by Chris (River Phoenix), a somewhat older kid who's considered bad because of his family, Teddy (Corey Feldman), an erratic boy whose father is in a mental hospital, and pudgy Vern (Jerry O'Connell). Vern hears his older brother (Casey Siemaszko) tell a pal that his gang found the body of a missing boy while they were out for a spin in a stolen car, and when he repeats the story to his own pals, they set out to find the body. Directed by Rob Reiner from a semi-autobiographical Stephen King story, STAND BY ME is a sentimental film that works because of its unsentimental moments--in particular, its sometimes embarassingly honest portrayal of what interests boys and how they talk about it. Reiner elicits some excellent performances from his young cast (River Phoenix is a standout) and Kiefer Sutherland is memorable as a menacing teen hood.