Tag Archives: Rob Reiner

My Favorite Scene: Stand By Me (1986) “The Train Dodge”

While Stephen King will always be thought of as a “horror author”, I think King’s best works are his short stories.  These have produced as many movies as his novels (and a better batch overall).  Stand by Me, based on the King short story “The Body”, may be the best male coming-of-age movie ever made.  King is one of those rare adults who remembers exactly what it was like to be a kid.  It’s what allows him to tap into the primal fears we acquire as a child and never lose, and it also allows him to write kids and adolescents with an authenticity few can match.

When you’re a 12-year-old boy, you’re invincible.  Honestly and truly invincible.  You are aware of the dangers of the world and the problems the swirl around you (more so than any adult would guess), but you also have this firm belief that anything is possible, there are adventures around every corner, and that your friends will always be your friends forever.  Director Rob Reiner hit the gold mine with River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell, as four friends who set off on an adventure to find a dead body they heard had washed up by the river.  The beauty of the film is in the interactions between the friends, the dares, the stupid stories and jokes, and the best of them: the all-time best train dodge in the history of train dodges (not recommended for actual trying).  It’s a stupid thing to do, it nearly kills them, and it’s a story they’ll tell for the rest of their lives in which they’re the heroes in their own mythology.  That’s what we all do, right?  Set ourselves up as the hero in our own lives?  We  have to.  The alternative (REALITY) is too stupid to bear.  Ask any guy.  We all have a “train dodge” story in which we did something incredible that no kid had ever done.
Stand By Me

My Favorite Scene: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) “Quaalude Acrobatics”

The Wolf of Wall Street is a fascinating film, but I don’t know that I would exactly recommend it to anyone because it’s also kind of reprehensible.  THIS IS A RED BAND CLIP, in other words.  Not only is Scorcese in his full “F-bomb-as-a-substitute-for-writing-dialogue” mode, but pretty much everyone in the film is on drugs for most of the film.  Drugs are BAD!  However…..this is too hilarious to not recognize, so that’s my moral equivocation opening.  Physical comedy is something that’s not chic right now, but masters of it (ex. Dick Van Dyke) have proven that it can be just as funny and witty as the cleverest retort.  When you think “physical comedy”, Leonardo DiCaprio is not a name that springs to the fore.  However, DiCaprio’s acrobatics trying to reach and operate his car when a metric ton of quaaludes hit his system is, by far, the film’s best scene.  His inchworm contortions are amazing, and this is really only half the performance, because he only degrades when he reaches home and gets in a fight with an equally quaaluded Jonah Hill.  Whatever you may think of the film as a whole, this part is brilliant.  DRUGS ARE BAD!  Ok, think I covered myself there.

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

LBJ Trailer #1 (2017) *Woody Harrelson in a Powerful Presidential Biopic*

There was a time when Rob Reiner was, hands-down, one of the five best directors working in Hollywood.  From the mid-80s to the mid-90s, Reiner helmed some of the best movies I’ve ever seen, including The Princess Bride, Stand by Me, The American President, and A Few Good Men.  Then he disappeared from the ranks of Hollywood’s top directors.  LBJ looks like he’s back on his game, and it also looks like a perfect role for one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors: Woody Harrelson.  You need a LOT of personality to begin to be able to capture who Lyndon Johnson was.  He was a complex, contrary, outrageous lion of a man.  The film looks to focus on his finest hour, which was the continuation of the work begun by Kennedy on the Civil Rights Bill after JFK was assassinated.  Even with Johnson’s swing (and few have ever walked through Congress with more), shoving that bill through was a monumental achievement.  That Harrelson, who is coming off his best comedic role since Cheers in last year’s Edge of Seventeen, and the psychotic Colonel in War for the Planet of the Apes, to slip into the skin of this giant of a man, shows his astounding range.  I’m really rooting for this when it opens November 3, 2017. Continue reading LBJ Trailer #1 (2017) *Woody Harrelson in a Powerful Presidential Biopic*

Trailer Time: The Wolf of Wall Street Trailer #2 (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street made a brief foray into 2014 from it’s original release date (which was this Friday).  Then, once Monuments Men left a gaping hole in the Oscar race, the Scorcese financial thriller came back into 2013 and will now open on Christmas Day.  I have no idea what to think about this one.  Sometimes to cheer myself up, I’ll watch the buck-toothed Matthew McConaughey pound his chest in the first trailer.  I suggest it for quick therapy.  Official synopsis below.

A New York stockbroker refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, corporate banking world and mob infiltration. 

Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorcese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Trailer Time: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

DiCaprio has become Scorcese’s new DeNiro, it appears.  The Wolf of Wall Street pairs them again, and-given the pedigree-I think it’s safe to say this will factor into the 2014 Oscar race.  I know it’s blasphemy for film buffs, but I hated Scorcese’s work until the last few years.  I’m the one guy on the planet who hates Raging Bull and Goodfellas.  But then, in one year, he did Shutter Island and Hugo and I loved both and now I’m forced to actually reckon with enjoying his films.  We’ll see how this one goes when The Wolf of Wall Street opens November 15, 2013.

A New York stockbroker refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, corporate banking world and mob infiltration. 

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street, Oliver Stone