Friday, September 25, 2009

Episode 46 Stand By Me, Contact, American Beauty

Episode 46

Stand By Me, Contact, American Beauty

Hi, welcome to episode 46 of Jay Wont darts podcast. My intro was from episode 132 of No Agenda.

This episode, I'll talk about three of my favourite movies. Stand by Me, a coming of age flick, Contact, starring Jodie Foster and centred around aliens, and American Beauty, which is like a grown up Ferris Buellers Day Off.

First, Stand By Me.

Heres the trailer,

Stand By Me is a movie a lot of people will have seen before, and forgotten about. Its truly a classic. The movie, based on a Steven King book, came out in 1986. It has a lot of fairly well known scenes, the young boys walking along train tracks for most of the movie is quite memorable.

I'll read from the Wikipedia summary.

The film is narrated by an adult Gordie LaChance, known as "The Writer" (Richard Dreyfuss), writing the memoir about his youth. Set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Oregon, over Labor Day weekend in September 1959, Gordie (Wil Wheaton), and his friends Chris Chambers (River Phoenix) and Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman) learn from their friend Vern Tessio (Jerry O'Connell) that the dead body of a boy named Ray Brower, who was struck by a train while picking blueberries in the woods, has not been found. While under his porch looking for his buried jar of pennies, Vern overheard his older brother talking about finding the body while in the woods with a friend. The boys then embark upon a two-day journey across the woodlands near Castle Rock to see and find the body in hopes that the discovery will make them all famous.
Each boy has a physical and/or emotional burden. Gordie is a quiet, bookish boy with a penchant for telling stories and writing, rejected by his father following the death of his football-star older brother Denny (John Cusack) in a Jeep accident. Chris is from a family of criminals and alcoholics and, despite his intelligence and desire to break the generational curse, he is usually stereotyped accordingly. Teddy is an eccentric and physically deformed after his mentally-unstable father (whom Teddy sees as a war hero who "stormed the beach at Normandy") held his ear to a stove and nearly burned it off, thus forcing him to wear a hearing aid. Vern, overweight and timid, is easily scared, and thus often picked on.
Through the boys' misadventures and conversations, the viewer learns about each character's personality. Each of the boys, for varying reasons, lives in the shadow of their fathers and older brothers. Gordie's talent for storytelling pegs him as the most likely of the four to have a promising future.

Heres a clip of Gordie telling a story.

Stand By Me is a great movie, its been mentioned in pop culture a few times, such as the scenes of the adult writer reminiscing about his childhood friends. By the end of the movie, we hear him mention how he moved away from his friends, and the terrible fates that awaited each of them. Its terribly sad, to hear how they all end up.

The next movie is Contact, about finding a radio signal from outer space. Contact came out in 1997. Jodie Foster's character has been into radio all her life, and now she works with radio telescopes listening to signals from space. Eventually, she and her team manage to decode one such signal, and find out it has information inside, instructing them to build a machine.

Here is the trailer for contact.

I forget the total cost of the machines, but its actually quite low by todays standards, less than the US auto bail outs for example. A machine, or two, to teleport us through space, to meet aliens, and they cost less than keeping American cars around.

This is unrelated to the cost of the machine, but here is a clip of Jodie Foster asking for more funding.

Contact has a really interesting character, a ultra rich man near the end of his life, he shows up in a lot of interesting scenes, such as one as he floats inside a space station to prolong his life. Near the very end of the movie, as a question about him is brought up, we see his fellow space station friends put him in a body bag.

An interesting thing about Contact, the signal, and aliens, are from Vega, a star. When you mention this star , people from Vega are called "vay-guns". So, in the movie there are some GREAT clips to be made, as it sounds like they are saying Vegans! Observe.

Arnt they great?

The last movie is American Beauty. I love this movie, it features Kevin Spacey as the main character. American Beauty came out in 1999.

Reading from Wikipedia,
Kevin Spacey plays Lester Burnham, a middle-aged office worker who has a midlife crisis after becoming infatuated with his teenage daughter's best friend.

After watching a high school basketball game at which Jane is a cheerleader, Lester develops an infatuation with Jane's sexually precocious friend and classmate, Angela . His fantasies entail a sexually aggressive Angela among red rose petals. Lester is informed he is to be laid off, but blackmails his boss, quits his job and takes up low-pressure employment at a fast food chain. He buys his dream car, starts lifting weights and begins running to "look good naked"—to impress Angela, whom he overheard telling Jane that she would find him sexually attractive if he had muscle. He also takes up smoking cannabis, which he buys from Ricky. Lester continues to fantasize about Angela and flirts with her whenever she visits Jane. The pair's friendship wanes and Jane becomes romantically involved with Ricky; the lovers bond over Ricky's camcorder footage of what he considers the most beautiful imagery he has filmed: a plastic bag blowing in the wind

Its a very odd movie, but definitely one of my favourite movies of all time. Heres the trailer for American Beauty.

here are some other clips, the main character Lester explaining his job

That job scene actually is reminding me of Fight Club, American Beauty is like Ferris Beuller meets Fight Club, but without the violence. Its emotional, but not a chick flick.

a tense dinner scene

and the most beautiful thing Ricky has ever filmed, a plastic bag

I highly recommend all three of these movies, Stand By Me, Contact, and American Beauty.

Thank you for listening. My outro is the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, on the Letterman show.

You can find the script for this episode, as well as downloads for every episode of Jay Wont darts podcast at

If you want to contact me, even just to say you listened, send an email to, j a y w o n t d a r t @, I'd appreciate it.

Have a super happy day, bye.


stand by me





american beauty

most beautiful thing

my job

dinner scene

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