Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Summer Reading "The Body"

The main characters are Gordie Lachance, Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp and Vern Tessio. Supporting characters are Ace and his gang. The book starts out in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine during the summer of 1960. Its the weekend of  Labor Day and three of the boys are busy playing cards in the clubhouse. They are interrupted when Vern arrives with a question for the boys. Did they want to go out and see a dead body?


            While Vern was looking for a buried jar of pennies, he overheard his brother talking to a friend about Ray Brower a kid that had gone missing. They had stole a car and drove around the back roads near Castle Rock and Chamberlain. While walking on the railroad tracks beside a piece of road to find a place to pee, they stumbled upon his dead body.


            After hearing what happened the four boys agree to go out together and find the body. They think that after finding the body they would be famous. Before the trip begins we find that Gordie's older brother was killed in a car crash a few months ago. Everything on the trip goes well until they realize that no one brought food. They head to the town junkyard to rest a bit. When none of the boys want to go and get the supplies the flip coins to see who goes. Gordie ends up going and gets some Coke and hamburg. When he returned to the junkyard his friends were know where to be seen. He spots them climbing over a fence. When he goes to join them he finds the junkyard manger, Milo Pressman who is angry that Gordie is trespassing. Gordie runs for the fence after Milo sics his dog, Chopper on him.


            Gordie makes it over the fence and joins his friend. Teddy teases the dog which makes Milo livid. We learn that Teddy's dad stormed the beach at Normandy and when he returned was never the same. When Teddy was little he took his ear and placed it to a stove burning most of it off. Milo uses that to make Teddy go crazy. The three boys calm Teddy down and walk away. They walk until they reach a long railroad trestle. Everyone but Teddy is afraid to cross the trestle because if a train comes they would have know where to go. Teddy declares that they could either hang on the side of the trestle, or jump 100 feet down into the river below.  Vern thinks they could go five miles down the river and walk across another bridge but that would have taken a few hours. So they start walking across the track.


            Everything goes fine until there Gordie and Vern reach the halfway point. Chris and Teddy were almost across because they hadn’t been as slow. Gordie thinks he hears a train so he reaches down and touches the track. It's vibrating and when he looks up can see smoke above the treeline. Everyone starts to run with Chris and Teddy making it to safety first. Vern trips a few times slowing them down and the train starts to approach rapidly at this point. Before they reach the end of the bridge Gordie pushes Vern and himself down into a pit to avoid the train. When the train is gone they climb out of the pit with only a few scrapes and bruises.


            Walking until dark they set up camp alongside the railroad tracks. They eat there food and pass stories along and trivia. There awoken in the middle of the night by a creature(s) howling. Chris says that the four of them should take turns watching over them with the gun he stole from his dad. Teddy takes first watch then Vern, Chris and Gordie ends up taking the last watch.


            They awake and it turns out to be a really hot day. They eat some berries for breakfast and venture out hoping to find the body today and get home tomorrow. Before lunch they find a swamp to cool off and get clean. What they don’t know is that there are leeches in the water. Chris finds a leech on Vern and they all run out of the water. They take the leeches off one another, but before its over there is one more leech left. Gordie looks down in his underwear and realizes that there is one clinging onto his testicles. He freaks out and picks up the courage to remove it. When he does the leech bursts. He faints making everyone worry if they should turn back and get help. Gordie shortly awakes and they head back out onto the tracks.


            When they get near the road Vern's older brother stopped at they split up and look on the side of the tracks. Chris and Gordie on one side and Teddy and Vern on the other. Vern spots the body first and they scurry down the embankment to see it more clearly. Chris removes the branches that had fallen on the body and that’s when they get a full look. It's the first time the boys had seen a dead body. There interrupted when they hear footsteps behind them.


            They turn around and see a angry Ace and his gang. Vern runs into the woods when he sees his brother. Teddy taunts them and runs when some of the older boys approach him. Chris and Gordie stood there ground and when Ace lost his patience and pulled out a knife, Chris pulled out his dads gun. Ace steps back and so does all the other older kids. Chris orders them to leave but not without Ace telling them that they would regret this. Instead of removing the body and becoming famous they cover him up with some blankets and branches and leave. They don't stop not even to sleep until they reach the beginning of Castle Rock at around 5:00 on the morning of Labor Day. They split up and go home.


            We learn that Teddy and Vern became another face in the hall, and befriended younger kids and brought them to the clubhouse. Vern died in a apartment fire after a party when someone fell asleep with a cigarette still burning. Teddy was driving along the road where they found the body with a few of his friends, when he crashed his car. Unfortunately everyone died in the crash. Chris joined some smarter classes with Gordie and ended up becoming a lawyer. He died after trying to break up a argument and was stabbed in the neck. Gordie is now a writer and has a wife and kids and has published a few successful books, even some that he told on his adventure with Teddy, Vern and Chris.


            The main characters are Gordie (Wil Wheaton), Chris (River Phoenix), Teddy (Corey Feldman) and Vern (Jerry O'Connell). Richard Dreyfuss plays the adult Gordie and is the narrator of the film. It is 89 minutes long and in technicolor. It has been released on Blu-Ray for it's 25th anniversary


            While Stephen King claimed that this was one of his most successful book to film transitions, it still had some things that were left out in the film or things not in the book added in the film. The book took place in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine in 1960. The movie had it take place in Castle Rock, Oregon in 1959. In the book Vern has been looking for his jar of pennies for 4 years, while the film version has him looking for 9 months. Ace and his gang play mailbox baseball in the film while in the book they don't. The film also has more scenes with Ace and his gang, then the book which only had a few references to them. In the film Teddy tries dodging a train but is unsuccessful when Chris, grabs him off the track. In the book Gordie is the one who grabs him off the track. Also three of the boys die in the book version, while only one dies in the film.


            There are quite a few interesting facts or behind the scenes information that I found out. The leeches during the leech scene were real. Corey and Rob tried out 30 different laughs before choosing which one to use for Teddy. The cigarettes used in the movie are made out of cabbage and lettuce leaves. Michael Jackson was asked to cover the song Stand By Me but not used in the film. The song also was reintroduced to the billboards, and was back in the Top 10 when the movie was released.  While not filming the boys were rowdy at the hotel. They all drank beer and smoked pot. They also threw patio furniture from the balcony into the pool below! They even covered Kiefer Sutherland's car in mud, which made the young actors even more afraid of him on film! The last fact is it only took 60 days to film the whole movie.

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