With the prospect of meeting Wil Wheaton in just a few days at ApacheCon, I decided I should see Stand By Me. It was really, really good. I read the book a long, long time ago, and it has in it one of my favorite Steven King quotes.
The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When a secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.
Like so many books that I greatly enjoyed, I avoided the movie because I was pretty sure that it would not be able to be as good as the book was. But it did a really good job of dealing with the best parts of the book. And I found myself very impressed with how well those boys acted their characters. There were a few times when you could tell that they were just boys trying to act. But most of the time, they really were the scared kids in the woods.
I also realized that this is only the third thing I’ve seen with River Phoenix in it. Sneakers and Last Crusade being the other two. And tomorrow is the 11th anniversary of his tragic passing. He was a very talented young man, and it is criminal that nobody stopped him before things went too far.