It took me long enough, but all the mentions on this podcast finally convinced me to see this movie in all its baby-faced glory. Paramount Theater in Oakland, thanks for being so cool and showing flicks like this in your gorgeous art-deco self.
And nevermind the annoying young girl who was sitting behind me, uttering innocent, grating phrases like “Oh, my!” and “Whoa!” the entire time. I enjoyed it anyway. Wil Wheaton, as culturally significant (and slightly grating) as he is now, was adorable back in the day. He had a certain effortless innocence about him, a desire not to be corrupted by other idiot boys his same age, and it showed through marvelously in his character. River Phoenix. What an innocent, too, though and infinitely more tragic one because of his short life. Watching him was painful, if only because you could see the talent just oozing from him, and knowing that there wasn’t much more after that was a bitter pill to swallow. He was definitely the soul of the movie (if Wheaton was the heart).
Jerry O’Connell made a great fat kid-and-punch-line, and I want to give him a high five for turning into such an attractive, hilarious individual. But Corey Feldman. Damn. For whatever reason–maybe it was the glasses, or the generally out-there-disposition, but his Teddy Duchamp was my favorite character in the movie. Something about his idiotic tendencies and his give-no-shits attitude resonated with me. I wish I had been as carefree as he was when I was a kid (minus the train incident), or at the very least known about him as a character, instead of finding out about him now.
I liked that this movie was dark. It had its light moments, namely when O’Connell’s Vern would say basically anything, but mostly it buried the humor within really intense scenes and topics. The leeches, for example–hilarious visual, terrifying concept. I cringed as I have not cringed before in a movie. Same with the race to cross the bridge before the train. Funny in most Stooge-like circumstances, but in this case it was horrifying and heart-palpitating. These kids were all brats, and yet you root for them to survive and grow up and grow out of themselves. And then, in true Six Feet Under fashion, you find out that some of them don’t even make it out alive (in real life, too, which was perhaps the eeriest irony). But at least Wil Wheaton grew up to be Richard Dreyfuss. If only the rest of us could be so lucky.
And now, for the funniest use of the song “Stand By Me,” ever.