FOR SOME, IT’S THE LAST REAL TASTE OF INNOCENCE, AND THE FIRST REAL TASTE OF LIFE. BUT FOR EVERYONE, IT’S THE TIME THAT MEMORIES ARE MADE OF.
In 1959, four Oregon boys hear about an older boy supposedly being killed by a train somewhere in the woods, and head out to try and find him… Stephen King was very pleased with this expanded adaptation of his novella, and it does seem to capture the spirit of boyhood and nostalgia that are hallmarks of many King novels. The atmosphere feels right, and the director is aided by a well-chosen score of classic songs that reaches an emotional peak in the final sequence. What may seem banal is elevated by honest performances from the four leads who make us (and each other) laugh and cry; Richard Dreyfuss also provides a perfect framing as an author/narrator, a stand-in for King himself.
1986-U.S. 87 min. Color. Produced by Bruce A. Evans, Raynold Gideon, Andrew Scheinman. Directed by Rob Reiner. Screenplay: Raynold Gideon, Bruce A. Evans. Novella: Stephen King (“The Body”). Cast: Wil Wheaton (Gordie Lachance), River Phoenix (Chris Chambers), Corey Feldman (Teddy Duchamp), Jerry O’Connell (Vern Tessio), Kiefer Sutherland, Casey Siemaszko… John Cusack, Richard Dreyfuss.
Trivia: Michael McKean was allegedly considered for Dreyfuss’s part.
Last word: “I agreed to direct it without really knowing what it was going to be about. In the book it was about four boys, but after about five days of driving around I realised this was really Gordie’s story. In the book, Gordie was kind of a dispassionate observer, but once I made Gordie the central focus of the piece then it made sense to me: this movie was all about a kid who didn’t feel good about himself and whose father didn’t love him. And through the experience of going to find the dead body and his friendship with these boys, he began to feel empowered and went on to become a very successful writer. He basically became Stephen King.” (Reiner, The Telegraph)