By Miscellaneous | | March 10, 2010 |
By Miscellaneous | | March 10, 2010 |
I have always cherished Lucas more than any John Hughes film dealing with the high school caste system. For me it falls just below Heathers in that regard, which is fitting since both featured Winona Ryder. But like in the choir scene from Lucas, nobody’s looking at Ryder today. We’re all looking at the film’s star, Corey Haim.
Anyone who had interests outside the norm of high school students, anyone who ever wanted to fit in at least at some point as a teenager, anyone who ever had a crush on an older, inaccessible schoolmate had to have appreciated Lucas. As has been pointed out a few places today, it was a more genuine precursor to Rushmore, which comparatively lacks charm.
If Lucas wasn’t your bag, though, you at least had to have thoughts of Haim in License to Drive when it was your time to be introduced to the frightening world of the DMV. Or related to Haim the first moment you realized your older brother was off getting into no good, whether with alcohol or vampires or whatever.
With a few years on me, Haim was an actor who helped guide me into adolescence and teenage-dom with a sense that it would be okay. I’d like to thank him and all his characters for that.
Rest in peace, Leukoplakia!
We can’t pretend that we’ve all followed his career in recent years, but when someone touches your life when you’re young — as Haim did with Lucas, which taught us that the strongest kids in school are the ones who walk down that hallway knowing they’ll be teased — you’ll always have a fondness for them.
As someone who watched The Lost Boys, Lucas, License to Drive, Dream a Little Dream and other Corey flicks countless times growing up, I feel like I’ve lost (another) piece of my childhood. No matter what shape he was in, I was always crossing my fingers for a Corey comeback.
While it initially looked as if Haim could carve out a niche for himself as a lovable geek in the Anthony Michael Hall vein, he promptly did a 180 and turned himself into a veritable teen dream love machine with roles in The Lost Boys and License To Drive. His successes paved the way for cocksure teens like Kirk Cameron (a fellow Canadian!) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar to gain a foothold in pop culture, but sadly, the fame went to his head and he got himself caught up in the excesses of the decade, snorting his way out of the rolodexes of everyone in Hollywood by the year 1990.
His was always a welcome face on the movie screen as I was growing up. He was funny and goofy and endearing. And then he vanished, partially because of drug problems, and probably (in large part) because he wasn’t all that great of an actor. But you know what? He was a “bankable” little star for a few good years, but (as it often happens) Hollywood just spit the guy out and he became a C-list tabloid joke. Mostly because of his own doing, absolutely … but it’s still a sad story any way you slice it.
When I went to YouTube to find a charming Corey Haim clip to post in thoughtful remembrance of his life and his work, it is all laughing stock videos. LIke this. He just seems like one of the purest examples of Hollywood’s gnashing, dissatisfied maw, eagerly rendering human lives into messy, broken piles of cocaine-soaked pulp. Then again, he’s not actually in a better place, because the better place to be is still alive, working things out. And besides, there were good times, even if they now seem in the distant past. So this is just sad. Duh.
Lucas is one of my favorite underdog sports movies because it stays honest with itself and its audience right through to the end, and Haim is the epitome of awkward likability. Silver Bullet is a goofy as hell werewolf movie featuring a wheelchair-bound Haim fighting off the menacing lycanthrope with the help of illegal fireworks and the always nutty Gary Busey. Watchers absolutely mangles the beautiful and exciting Dean Koontz book it’s based on, but Haim somehow salvages it with pure charm and personality. Blown Away is a guilty pleasure from frame one, and is most notable (and worth watching) for a fantastic, against the wall sex scene with Nicole Eggert’s body double.
Let’s instead remember Corey for the good things he brought us. Haim didn’t do a lot of horror films, but the ones he did appear in were memorable. He turned up in the cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s story Silver Bullet and in Dean Koontz’s killer monster flick Watchers.
However, Haim will always be best known as Sam, the teenaged vampire killer in Joel Schumacher’s classic The Lost Boys. That role encapsulated everything we loved about Corey Haim—his sense of humor, his charm, and yes, even his acting ability. Corey may not have come to the end we’d all have hoped, but his legacy lives on in the work he leaves behind.
The best of Haim’s horror movie work — indeed, the best of Haim’s collaborations with Feldman — is undoubtedly in the form of “The Lost Boys,” the vampire thriller starring Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland. Haim’s hilariously obnoxious Sam Emerson is perfectly matched against his monstrous do-gooder of a brother, the brothers Frog and the many vampires contained within the film. When it comes to marrying swagger and horror, this was Haim’s role to beat.
Joel Schumacher’s cult classic was, though not his strongest, certainly Haim’s definitive role, not least because it marked the beginning of his partnership with Corey Feldman: another child star, with whom he starred no fewer than 10 films and, later, a reality TV show. Here we see him at his sudsy, youthful best, singing in the bath, blissfully unaware of his brother’s troubles. It’s a charming, carefree snapshot of young teenage life; part Fred Savage, part Macaulay Culkin.
We lost our minds when Haim showed up with a long yellow mullet in Crank 2, and really hoped this could be the reawakening Haim’s career, now that he was able to laugh at himself. Even co-star Amy Smart was rooting for him.
Though I didn’t follow his career, his troubled and now shortened journey through adulthood was hard not to be aware of. I think of people like Haim sometimes when I look at the latest child/teen stars and I wonder which ones will live through it unscathed.
This sad news comes just days after the Oscars, where a not-quite-intentional highlight was the strange mirror-phase collision that occurred, thanks to the tribute to the late John Hughes, between two generations of teen stars: the aged Brat Pack, and the current stars of High School Musical and Twilight. It’s easy to joke about what Judd Nelson looks like in his 40s, and it’s maybe even easier to joke about what Zac Efron will look like in his 40s (see: the casting of Matthew Perry’s in 17 Again). But, um, whoops—a significant number of teen stars never make it to 40 at all.