April 4th, 2012

swagger like us

Gender!Swap: Stand by Me

Whew, so my recent frenzied film rewatches have finally brought this into being! It’s been burning a hole in my mind for awhile.

I LOVE Stand by Me. I sorta wish I could send flowers to my childhood’s VHS rental store, just for having it in their collection. It’s really almost as though they had this film just for me and my friends to grow up on. Some years ago, I  also found the Stephen King novella it was based on (The Body), and I soaked up everything else that I didn’t know about my favorite characters. They’re almost real to me, I can’t even tell you.

The thing is: this isn't only a ‘critics-approved’ film. Nope. It’s totally beloved, and no wonder. Anybody could see a bit of themselves in it. It’s all about childhood and goldenness and losing innocence when you didn’t know you still had it; it’s about being yanked into harsher waters and trying to stay afloat, when you're still not quite ready to "grow up". And it is about friendship. Oh, is it about friendship!

It also revolves all around four boys, and that was always fine by me. After all, their journey in the movie  quite isolates them from (almost!) everyone else in the world.

But like anyone who eats up the character-study goodness of a gender!swap, I’ve been having a blast re-imagining Stand by Me. Let’s say the golden summer and the sweet melancholy strain and everything else in this story stay intact…but let’s say that these familiar characters were all young girls! Girls living in the shadows of their mothers and their sisters; four girls who go questing down the railroad tracks…

Well, why ever not? Other than the character-study aspect of it, fantasy casting is always hella FUN. : )

If you’re not familiar with the film (it goes without saying that I recommend it with all my heart!), here is its DVD cover summary, as seen through regender.com:

In a small woodsy Oregon town, a group of friends--sensitive Gordie, tough gal Chris, flamboyant Thea, and scaredy-cat Verne--are in search of a missing girl's body. Wanting to be heroines in each other's and their hometown's eyes, they set out on an unforgettable two-day trek that turns into an odyssey of self-discovery. They sneak smokes, tell tall tales, cuss 'cause it's cool, and band together when the going gets tough. When they encounter the town's knife-wielding hoods who are also after the body, the girls discover a strength they never knew they had. Stand by Me is a rare and special film about friendship and the indelible experiences of growing up.

“It was almost noon as we set out to find the body of a dead kid named Rachel Brower…”

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