Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

15 March 2008

Stand By Me, dir. Rob Reiner (1986)

STEVE says:
I was 15 going on 16 the first time I saw Stand By Me.

Richard Dreyfuss has a line toward the end of the movie: "Friends come in and out of your life like bus boys in a restaurant." When I heard that, sitting in the theater in 1986 with my friends John Loftus, Chris Becker and Crispin Hildebrand, it didn't even register.

I didn't question it, didn't think, "Yeah, for you maybe." It was so inconceivable that this group may not last forever, my subconscious didn't even bother to stir. Maybe it knew better, didn't want to wake me up just yet to the reality that Nothing Lasts Forever, and that my friendship with these guys wouldn't last much longer than another three or four years.

Becker, two years our senior, left for the Navy just after the beginning of our Junior year. I'd see him when he was home on leave, and more often later, after he got out, but he eventually moved to Delaware and we lost touch.

Loftus went off to Lehigh University after graduation in 1988 and we stayed in contact for a year or two after. Once he transferred to Pitt, the length of time between the letters and the phone calls got longer and longer, until one day I realized, almost as an afterthought, that they'd stopped altogether.

Crispin, my oldest friend in the group, and the one responsible for introducing me to the rest, was the last to fall away. We remained close until the summer of 1991. Then - and looking back, I can't help but think it was inevitable - he moved on as well.

Twenty-two years on, and this movie is as powerful as it was in 1986, but for different reasons. Then it was because I could see our friendship up there on the screen, reflected (or possibly refracted) from another time. Now... As time goes by and memories fade, it becomes more difficult to remember specifics about these guys and the things we did together that summer.

Stand By Me has become the surrogate for those memories, with Chris, Teddy, Vern and Gordie standing in for John, Becker, Crispin and myself. Which is somehow both more and less painful than not having them around to share the real memories.


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