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YMMV / Stand by Me

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  • Adaptation Displacement: Not a lot of people know the novella the movie is based on. Even more unfortunately, though popular, it had largely faded from public awareness by the time another movie from the same book, Different Seasons (a collection of four novellas) had debuted. What's more is that both movies downplayed that they were based on Stephen King works, so the audience wouldn't mistake them for horror films.
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  • Awesome Music: Much of the movie's soundtrack, but especially the titular theme song "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The film was massively popular in Japan, to the point where special versions of the movie were sold intended to teach English. (So the reference to this movie in Pokémon Red and Blue is not a Woolseyism.)
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Like his character, River Phoenix would end up dying an untimely death.
    • At the end of the film it is said that Chris dies trying to stop a fight, while the others went on with their lives. Phoenix actually did end up dying from an overdose in 1993, while the other actors are still pursuing their careers.
    • Gordie and Chris' friendship becomes this as Wil Wheaton and River Phoenix's real-life friendship fell apart by the early 90s.
    • In the book, Gordie mentions a trip to NYC in the late 1970s/early 1980s. He mentions touring the Empire State Building, and says "Fuck the World Trade Center, the building King Kong climbed will always be the tallest to me." Fast forward two decades...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight
    • Rob Reiner directs this film which depicts the always-troubling image of children smoking, as it appeared in the book and is (unfortunately) historically accurate. Reiner would eventually become one of the biggest anti-smoking advocates in America, enough to be parodied for it on South Park.
    • During the campfire scene, Gordie says "Wagon Train is a cool show and all, but they never get anywhere. They just keep...wagon-training." The next year Wil Wheaton would, of course, become a cast member on Star Trek: The Next Generation . Star Trek was described (and pitched) by Gene Roddenberry as "Wagon Train to the Stars."
    • Gordie becomes a writer. Wil Wheaton would grow up to author a half dozen books himself.
    • Kiefer Sutherland looks quite Jack Bauer-esque while winning a chicken game with a lumber truck.
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  • Ho Yay: Chris and Gordie are incredibly close - and both get a scene where they cry into the other's arms. It is made clear that they see each other as family, but still.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Teddy is short-tempered, obnoxious, cruel and nasty but his homelife sounds so horrible you can't help but feel for him. His fate later in life - denied entry in the army and doing jail time is even sadder.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Ace pulls a knife on Chris and says "no problem" when the latter says he'll have to kill him. All over getting the credit for finding Ray Brower's body.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • The "Lard Ass" story, especially the ending, where the title character vomiting sets off a chain reaction of everyone present following suit.
    • The boys finding leeches on their bodies after they swim through the swamp. Gordie finds one down his pants and faints because of it.
  • Signature Scene: The kids walking along the railroad tracks. Similar shots have since tended to pop up as a shorthand for childhood nostalgia.
  • The Woobie:
    • Gordie has been neglected by his parents his whole life and truly believes that he should have died instead of his brother (who was the only member of the family to care about him). At least the end sequence shows he has a good relationship with his own son.
    • Chris comes from a troubled family, bullied by his brother and gets taunted by a Sadist Teacher. He truly believes he's worth nothing. And just when he makes something of his life, he dies stopping a mugging.
    • Davey Hogan, the hero of Gordie's Story Within a Story.


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