‘Stand By Me’ Again, 37 Years Later

Sometimes, with the passing of time, a second, or even fresh look at an older movie brings about a sense of nostalgic irony. This reflects life itself, with its twists and turns. Chris (as played by River Phoenix in the 1986 movie) commented on Teddy’s (as played by Corey Feldman) recklessness, saying he is not likely to live pass 20. Yet, in real life, Phoenix departed at the age of 23 with the cause of death reportedly being ‘acute combined drug intoxication’, just three years more than his ‘prediction’, while Feldman continues outliving him, although he also had drug issues.

Actors already lived out alternative lives on screen, helping us to explore the possibilities of going through similar experiences. Although movie worlds are mostly fictitious, what great real life differences would they make, if we all learn the cautionary lessons from every single film we see. What if we pay enough attention, to reflect on what we should and should not do? Doing so, even the ‘worst’ movie will warn us not to be terrible, while the ‘best’ movie will urge us to be better. Is this not the best way to watch movies, to let them transform us, only for the better?

Beyond films, cautionary lessons are everywhere – in songs, fairy tales, novels… Surely, that worth representing must have some meaningful worth? Of course, some stuff is indeed exploitative, ambiguous and downright pointless. Skip those then. But even so, it had some ‘meaning’ for the makers then, the directors, singers, writers, be it sensible or not. From encounters with the external, in whatever medium, may we have more introspection, to sieve out the meaningful. The best entertainment is not merely entertaining, it should trigger some ‘enlightenment’ of sorts too.

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