Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reacquainted with "Stand By Me," thanks to Leona

Thanks Leona!
Regional Fellows of the ASSOCIATION OF HEALTH CARE JOURNALISTS (of which I am one) receive a meal stipend during training seminars and other fellowship functions. Fellowship funding comes from THE LEONA M. AND HARRY B. HELMSLEY CHARITABLE TRUST, a grant-making organization that supports advancements in health and medical advancements and -- unbeknownst to them -- nostalgic reunions with 1980s coming-of-age movies.
The latter Trust function first occurred yesterday, when I used my final few bills of my recent meal stipend to purchase a DVD copy of ROB REINER'S "STAND BY ME."
I had been wanting to see this film again for so long.
If you've forgotten, the plot of the 1986 film follows a group of boys embarking on a journey into the forest to find the body of a local teen struck and killed by a train.
Young actors WIL WHEATON, RIVER PHOENIX, COREY FELDMAN and JERRY O'CONNELL form the heart of the cast.
Wheaton later explained how perfect casting lent the film its indelible quality, a classicism that resonated when I watched the movie last night:
"Rob Reiner found four young boys who basically were the characters we played. I was awkward and nerdy and shy and uncomfortable in my own skin and really, really sensitive, and River was cool and really smart and passionate and even at that age kind of like a father figure to some of us, Jerry was one of the funniest people I had ever seen in my life, either before or since, and Corey was unbelievably angry and in an incredible amount of pain and had an absolutely terrible relationship with his parents."
It's hard to watch the film now and not mourn the passing of Phoenix, whose acting career and life were cut short by an overdose death.
We can, however, enjoy his performance in "Stand By Me," frozen in time, and well-worth revisiting.
Thanks again, Leona.


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