Stand By Me Teddy Analysis Essay

The Characters from Stand by Me.

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Protagonists

    Gordie Lachance 

Played by:Wil Wheaton (child), Richard Dreyfuss (adult)

The main protagonist and an aspiring writer.
  • Adaptational Badass: Played straight and inverted.
    • In the novella, Chris is the one who pulls the gun on Ace and threatens to kill him. In the film, it's done by Gordie.
    • On the other hand, in the novel Gordie is the one who pulls Teddy off the tracks when he is trying to dodge the train. In the movie it's Chris.
  • Author Avatar: To Stephen King.
  • Big Brother Worship: Gordie greatly idolized Denny and his death really shook him. Averted in the book, however, as Gordie points out that the age difference renders Denny "just a guy."
  • Deadpan Snarker: His younger self when he interacts with his friends, but also his older self as the narrator.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: This is a Stephen King adaptation, after all.
  • Nice Guy: The most mature and kind-hearted.
  • Nostalgic Narrator: The Writer (aka the adult Gordie) recalls and narrates the events of the film after learning that his friend Chris was stabbed to death while trying to break up a fight at a restaurant.
  • Only Sane Man: He's the most mature in his group of friends.
  • Parental Neglect: Being The Unfavourite his parents never show much affection to him. In flashbacks, before his brother's death, it shows they didn't pay much attention to him, anyway.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Chris' Manly Man.
  • The Smart Guy: Gordie is noted for being the only one among his friends to actually excel in academics.
  • The Story Teller: He has a penchant for writing and telling stories.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Although Richard Dreyfuss is only credited as "The Narrator," the older and younger Gordie are played by two different actors.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Gordie, like every kid in his town, was deathly afraid of Ace. Come the climax, Gordie threatens Ace with a gun to get the older teen to back off. It works.

    Gordie: Suck my fat one you cheap dime-store hood.

    Ace: Are you going to shoot us all?

    Gordie: No Ace, just you.

  • Tragic Keepsake: Denny gave Gordie his favorite hat. Too bad Ace stole it from him.
  • The Unfavourite: His parents don't really care for him and clearly prefer his older brother Denny.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Gordie desperately wants his father's love and not to feel like his father hates him.

    Chris Chambers 

Played by:River Phoenix

Gordie's best friend who is lowly thought of by everyone in town because of his family.
  • Abusive Parents: His father is violently abusive.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Again, his father.
  • Alliterative Name: Chris Chambers.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Along with his family, he's shunned and put down by most of the town.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Towards Gordie.
  • The Conscience: He tends to be the mediator and the voice of reason in his group.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He gives Gordie a lot of tough love.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: He's a good guy who has a bad reputation because of his family.
  • The Leader: Of his group of friends.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business : Throughout the story, Chris is described as the member of the group who makes the best peace. In the novel, he points a gun at Ace and nearly shoots him to get him to back down.
  • Parental Neglect: In the book, Chris' father was on a bender, and his mother went out of town, leaving Eyeball to care for Chris and three younger siblings (the youngest just a toddler). Both Eyeball and Chris also promptly took off.
  • Posthumous Character: As revealed in the opening scene, Chris was recently stabbed and killed when he attempted to intervene in a fight in a fast food restaurant.
  • Self-Made Man: As an adult. He worked hard all his life to study and finally become a lawyer, and that makes the Downer Ending even more depressing.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to Gordie's Sensitive Guy.
  • Supporting Leader: Chris is the leader of the group, but Gordie is the main character.
  • Team Dad: To all his friends, especially Gordie.
  • Token Good Teammate: In his family of criminals and alcoholics. This also makes him the White Sheep of the Chambers family.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Angsty, rebellious, tough but kindhearted, with a horrible homelife, bad reputation etc. No surprise he's the most popular character among viewers.
  • White Sheep: His dad is an abusive drunk, his oldest brother is in jail for a violent rape, his second oldest brother is a gang bully, and he...busts his ass to get through the college courses and become a lawyer.

    Teddy Duchamp 

Played by: Corey Feldman

The resident goofball of the group, who deeply admire his father.
  • Abusive Parents: Teddy's ear is disfigured due to his father's pressing it down on a hot stove in a drunken rage.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Teddy is still abrasive in the movie, but was a lot worse in the novel.
  • Berserk Button: Teddy goes ballistic after Milo Pressman calls his father a "looney".
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He's very weird and eccentric.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All the four boys have their moments, but Teddy is arguably the snarkiest.
  • Freudian Excuse: Despite his Jerkass personality, his homelife sounds so horrible you can't help but feel for him.
  • Jerkass: He tends to be abrasive and obnoxious, especially towards Vern. Although he was more violent in the book than in the film.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: After his confrontation with Milo, he breaks down crying and then apologizes to his friends for the way he behaved. He also genuinely loves his father.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to Vern's Sensitive Guy.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the book, Teddy kills himself and others by driving drunk. He doesn't die in the movie but his life has gone absolutely nowhere.
  • Token Evil Teammate: He's far meaner than his friends.
  • Too Dumb to Live: He stands in front of the tracks because he wants to dodge a train a few seconds before it speeds over him, until Chris forcefully drags him off the tracks. And apparently it wasn't the first time Chris saved his life.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: He's ready to fight Chris for his above rescue. In the book, he also once almost attacked Chris for saving him from from a possibly fatal fall from a tree he and Chris were climbing, because he did it by grabbing his hair.

    Vern Tessio 

Played by:Jerry O'Connell

The butt monkey of the group, who kicks off the plot.
  • Butt-Monkey: He's often picked on by his friends, especially Teddy.
  • Catch Phrase: "Sincerely!"
  • Fat Comic Relief: In the book, however, Vern is described as very skinny. This characterization of his is strictly in the film.
  • Fat Idiot: In the movie he's chubby, and painfully naive and oblivious. In the novel he's not necessarily fat but it's mentioned that it takes him over an hour and a half to read the Sunday comics (which granted were a lot bigger back then, but still).
  • Flanderization: In the novella he was still naive, and something of a wimp, but nowhere near to the level he is in the movie.
  • Flat Character: Unlike his friends Vern doesn't have much going on other than being a fat wimp. Aside from setting the story in motion by overhearing his brother his only purpose in the story is Comic Relief.
  • Lovable Coward: He's scared very easily.
  • The Millstone: Especially on the Railroad Tracks of Doom, where he almost gets himself and Gordie flattened by his staunch refusal to just get up and run for his life.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Teddy's Manly Man.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Like Teddy he dies in the book (where he's killed in a house fire), but not in the movie. Adult Gordie says he just became another face in the crowd after a while.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • When on the Railroad Tracks of Doom, Gordie and Vern (who is crawling on all fours at the time) end up having to outrun a train. Vern's reaction? Crawl faster.
    • Interestingly, this is both discussed and averted in the novella; older Gordie states in the narration that none of the boys crawled over the trestle because they'd learned from the movies that "Only Losers Crawl."
  • Trademark Favorite Food: That's easy. Pez. Cherry flavor Pez. His reveal of this became one of the movie's taglines.

Antagonists

    Ace Merrill 

Played by:Kiefer Sutherland

A jerkass older teen.
  • Ascended Extra: He only has one scene at the end of the novella, but gets his own subplot in the film.
  • Big Bad: Actively antagonistic towards Gordie and his friends, even threatening to kill them during the movie's climax.
  • The Bully: Towards Gordie and his friends, though it's certainly not exclusive to just them.
  • Delinquents: Along with his gang.
  • Formerly Fit: As revealed in the epilogue he will become a fat mill worker years later. However he shows up looking like his old self in "Needful Things".
  • Hot Guy, Ugly Wife: He and his friends are described in the book as having pimply, mustachioed girlfriends. It's implied that it's because they're the only girls in town who put out.
  • Jerkass: A cruel and violent bully who is even willing to murder a younger boy.
  • Karma Houdini: He and his delinquent friends receive no punishment at all in the movie, unfortunately.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty:
    • At least in the book. The adult Gordie spots Ace in town years later and observes that he's become a fat, crew-cutted millworker whose sole enjoyment in life is apparently hanging out at a local dive bar every night.

    "I thought: So that's what Ace is now."

  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Despite his Nerves of Steel, he's smart enough to realize that getting shot by Gordie simply isn't worth taking the dead body.
  • The Leader: Of his Gang of Bullies.
  • Nerves of Steel: He wins a game of chicken with a lumber truck, while the rest of the gang is freaking out and begging him to stop. And when held at gunpoint, he barely bats an eye and continues to taunt Gordie (Chris in the book), even threatening to make him eat the gun.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: They never say his real name in the movie.
  • The Sociopath: Holds a cigarette to Chris' eye and would have casually stabbed him, and barely blinks. Also maintains a cool demeanor during the Chicken game.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: While Ace has no problem threatening kids Gordie's age with knives, he thinks Gordie holding him and his friends at gunpoint is taking things too far.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Or even kill a child, when he pulls a knife on the four boys.

    Eyeball Chambers 

Played by: Bradley Gregg

Chris's older brother and Ace's best friend apparently.
  • Big Brother Bully: He's verbally abusive to his little brother, Chris. It's even worse in the novella, where Eyeball doesn't hesitate to beat Chris to a bloody pulp and breaking his arm.
  • The Dragon: Ace's right hand man.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Eyeball's one tiny moment of humanity comes when he puts up the feeblest protest possible upon seeing Ace intent on murdering his little brother.

    Eyeball: Ace...come on, man...

  • Evil Counterpart: To Denny. Both are the older brothers to two of the main characters (Denny to Gordie, Eyeball to Chris). Denny (who is dead) was a nice guy who cared about his little brother and everyone liked him; Eyeball (who is alive) is a straight up Jerkass who seems to be indifferent to his younger brother, except for one moment (see Even Evil Has Standards), but wasn't well like by anyone in town because of his own actions and his family history.
  • Jerkass: Like the rest of Ace's gang, he's a complete jerk and a delinquent.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Like Ace, they never say his real name in the movie. In the book, his real name is Richard. In the book, he has a jittery eye that is the cause for his unusual nickname, but this isn't addressed in the film unless you look close. He has a scar over one eye, but how he got the scar is not addressed, either.

    Milo Pressman 

Played by: William Bronder

The owner of the junkyard.
  • The Dreaded: His dog, Chopper.
  • Grumpy Old Man: He gets angry at the boys for teasing his dog.
  • Jerkass: He's a cantankerous, foul asshole.
  • Kick the Dog: Calling Teddy's father a "loony" repeatedly.
  • Troll: Towards Teddy.

    Milo: I know who you are. You're Teddy Duchamp. Your dad's a loony. A loony up in the nuthouse at Togus. He took your ear. And he put it to a stove. And he burnt it off.

    Teddy: My father stormed the beach at Normandy.

    Milo: He's crazier than a shithouse rat. No wonder you're actin' in the way you are. With a loony for a father.

    Teddy: You call my dad a loony again and I'll kill you.

    Milo: Loony, loony, loony!

  • Would Hurt a Child: He doesn't see anything wrong with hurting children just for trespassing.

Other Characters

    Dennis "Denny" Lachance 

Played by:John Cusack

Gordie's older brother who is dead by the time the movie has started.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: While Denny was a nice guy in the novella, he was also as distant to Gordie like their parents were. In the movie, he makes an effort to get Gordie's talents noticed.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Denny was this to Gordie. In the book, because of their age difference, Denny is nearly as distant as Gordie's parents, with a few exceptions. "He was just a guy, you know?"
  • Cool Big Bro: Flashbacks show Denny encouraging Gordie's writing skills and attempting to get his parents to pay attention to his little brother and his budding talent.
  • In-Series Nickname: Referred to as "Denny".
  • Lovable Jock: He was a star football player and flashbacks show him as a Nice Guy.
  • Nice Guy: A caring and loving older brother to Gordie, as seen in the flashbacks.
  • Posthumous Character: When the story starts, Denny is already dead.

Essay/Term paper: Stand by me (movie review for small group com)

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A Summer To Remember



The movie Stand By Me is based upon a novel by Steven King. It doesn"t have the same eerie feel as some of his other books and is generally a more serious movie. It takes place in the small town of Castle Rock, Oregon. It is the middle of the summer in approximately the early 1960"s. The kids are bored and that is the setup for their adventure to go find a dead body in the woods.

The main role of Gordie LaChance is played by Wil Wheaton. He is having trouble in his life at this time because he just lost his brother and his parents are having a very difficult time dealing with it. Chris Chambers was played by River Phoenix. Chris is considered a loser because of his family and everybody thinks he will do nothing in life. Through it all, the group of kids looks up to Chris and he is admired by them. The role of Teddy Duchamp is played by Corey Feldman. Teddy has a difficult time in life largely because his father was very mean to him before getting thrown in an insane asylum. The lack of discipline shows in that Teddy has a serious problem staying in control. He is always going crazy and his behavior presents a problem more than once to the group. Vern Tessio is played by Jerry O"Connel. He is the short little fat kid that remains a constant pest throughout the movie. Together the for kids embark on a trip through the woods that will be a challenging adventure for them all. Over the course of the movie the group has problems with individual group members, they have to work as a team, and leadership roles emerge.

In any group, dealing with difficult group members is vital to the group"s success. Stand By Me has three different types of difficult group members that cause problems in their own way.

Vern is probably the most difficult member to deal with. He would be characterized as a blocker. He thwarts the progress of the group, opposes much of what the group attempts to accomplish (Rothwell 145). Throughout the movie he tries to get the group to do other things. Though he usually goes along with the group after some convincing, it definitely slows the group down. Right when they take off on the trip he begins to voice his opposition starting by complaining about why they are bringing the pistol. His character is further developed when he complains about having to walk the entire trip and says they should hitchhike. When they stop to get food and they flip a coin, they get all tails. Vern whines that it means they are all doomed and should go back. Vern also slows the group when he refuses to go into the woods away from the tracks towards the trail. He then plays the role of backseat driver (class notes) when they reach the swamp saying, "I told you we should have kept following the train tracks". Vern hindered the development of the group. While they could have been devoting time to the task at hand, they had to spend time helping him with trivial things like dealing with him being scared when they are in the woods. While Vern slowed the group by challenging many of the group"s ideas, Teddy presented a much different challenge to the group.

Teddy is described in the beginning as being reckless and wild. He holds to that description right in the beginning with two crazy incidents. When they leave in the beginning and are walking on the train tracks, Teddy goes a little bit nuts and says he is going to dodge the train. It takes the entire group to pull him away from the train tracks before the train comes. Teddy also becomes difficult when the run away from the old man in the junkyard. When the old man calls his father "looney" Teddy flips out. He starts kicking and punching even though he"s on the other side of the fence. This remains a problem with the group because they have to spend time comforting him before they get back on the road again. On more then one occasion Teddy got in small fights with almost all of the different group members. For that reason he might be called a Fighter-Controller by Rothwell (145). Teddy hinders group development by forcing the group to devote time and effort to control his behavior.

Chris remains one of the leaders, but even at times presents a problem to the group. He has a very tough attitude and almost gets his eye burned out in the beginning trying to stand up against bigger, tougher kids. At the end of the movie he almost get attacked with a knife for mouthing off to a the same group of kids, but Gordie bailed him out. By standing up against difficult group members Gordie really showed his leadership skills.

Successful groups almost always have leaders whether it is the President of the United States or John Elway of the Broncos. In the beginning Gordie said how Chris Chambers was the leader of the group. Whether he realized it or not; he himself was the actual leader. Gordie provides strong leadership for a group that needs it. Through the movie it is demonstrated that he is a competent, respected leader in the group of four boys.

In the beginning Gordie starts out by planning how they are going on the trip. He devises a way for them to go without getting in trouble and the group immediately endorses him as their leader. The group will reinforce the bid of that member perceived to be the most skilled (Rothwell 145). The group shows that they look up to Gordie when they are sleeping in the woods. They are all scared and ask Gordie to tell them a story. Chris confides in Gordie when he tells him the truth behind what happened to the milk money. It is a typical characteristic of leaders to have other group members to confide in them. A good example of this is when people have a problem, they often go to their parents or boss to seek resolution. In perhaps the most dramatic scene in the movie, Gordie shows his leadership for the group by pulling out the handgun and firing a shot in the air. He makes Chris"s attacker back down when he finally realizes that he means business. A good leader stands up for his group. Gordie stood up for his group in the toughest of circumstances, and risked having to kill a person. Gordie helped exemplify exceptional teamwork.

One thing that keeps the group on track is the way the work together in times of peril. Cooperative intergroup relations (teamwork) will increase the level of task satisfaction and performance (Van Oostrum 272). At first glance, the kids do not appear to be much of a team. The hit each other and often pick on the fat kid. But when it gets down to crunch time they are there for each other. When Gordie gets the hat his brother gave him taken away, Chris jumps up, ready to protect his group member. The most important demonstration of teamwork comes at the end, when rather than back down to the big guys they stand their ground together. Another good example of teamwork occurs when they are crossing the bridge and the train comes. There is nowhere to go so they have to try to outrun the train to the other side. Vern falls, and it would have been easy for the others to keep going, but Gordie stops to help him get up and together they make it across the bridge in time.

Overall the group"s teamwork contributed to the overall success of the group. Had they not worked together they probably wouldn"t have made it all the way to the dead body and surely would have had problems dealing with the gang of older kids.

As you can see the four kids in this movie matured a lot through such a complicated circumstance at the end of the movie. You can ask anyone who has ever pulled a gun or had a gun pulled on them; it changes your life and everyone around you. No matter what anyone says, you are a lot different after your life (or another"s) has been placed in the hands of others. The boys not only matured a lot, but leadership roles emerged. It became obvious that Gordie was a leader in the group less than halfway through. And as groups tend to do, they relied on his leadership more and more until the end. The group was faced with the additional challenge of dealing with difficult group members. But the group discovered the concept of synergy when they found if they stuck together and used teamwork, they are a lot stronger unified than individually.

The leadership in this movie was provided primarily by Gordie. He didn"t melt in times of pressure. The group liked him and looked up to him. In the movie Gordie had to deal mainly with two types of difficult group members. Vern was a backseat driver and Teddy had trouble controlling his behavior. Gordie would be considered a leader because he is more likely to direct other group members (de Souza). Gordie"s efforts were combined with the group"s to show that when working cooperatively, they achieve goals more often, and more effectively (de Souza).



 

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