Stand By Me (1986)

The search for the dead body in the woods is merely a MacGuffin in this Stephen King–derived hit—the four tweens (Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell) could just as well have been hunting for mushrooms for all it really matters. What’s really at stake in Rob Reiner‘s Stand By Me is the recreation of early-1960s childhood summers, before parents began micromanaging their kids’ lives. This film reminds us that once, when summer was summer, not just an excuse for air-conditioning, kids could roam into the next county, along the train tracks, through the leechy swamps, into tree houses, and across mad-dog-guarded junkyards, and nobody thought twice about it.



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