Saturday, March 13, 2010
I never liked Corey Haim. He was too interested in being the cool guy. Which ironically, made him very uncool. Unlike the title character of the film, Lucas.
Lucas (1986) was the true height of Haim's career. A largely overlooked film, it was one of the best films about being an awkward teenager of many such films in the 80s. And the biggest reason it worked was Haim's performance.
Roger Ebert's review at the time said this about Haim.
"He creates one of the most three-dimensional, complicated, interesting characters of any age in any recent movie. If he can continue to act this well, he will never become a half-forgotten child star, but will continue to grow into an important actor. He is that good."
Haim would soon achieve teenybop fame for far less substantial work. He would even distance himself from Lucas, I suppose being embarressed for having played a geek.
He would evolve into "Cool Corey" the cohort to fellow actor Corey Feldman. It was marketing that got him on plenty of Teen Magazine covers and in bad movies. It was also a person Lucas would have completely despised.
In the film, Lucas tells Maggie about locusts, his favorite insect. They will soon go away and not reappear for 17 years. He wonders where he and Maggie will be in 17 years.
In just a year or two Haim was on drugs. He would be more famous but also quickly losing his talent. In 17 years he was nearly unhirable and had long ago lost what people had once seen in him.
In 1989, Haim made a short documentary called Me, Myself, and I, about how great it was to be be Corey Haim. In it he appears high. He tries desperately to look the part of cool and aloof heartthrob. He talks of his favorite film still being his hit, The Lost Boys. Still, as if two years was so terribly long ago. For him, I guess it was.
"When you're 12 or 13 years old you are very impressionable And I know it's easy to get off track...so be smart, don't get messed up. Stay in school. And be anybody you wanna be." -Corey Haim (Me, Myself , and I)
Looking at the cast to Lucas is a who's who of young talent, that later would appear lost in real life: Corey Haim, Winona Ryder, Charlie Sheen. Kerri Green (Goonies), as Maggie, seems the only one of the main stars that got out intact. She would soon step away from acting for a time to study art. She then focused most of her time writing and directing and raising a family.
It is of course a shame, Haim is now just another footnote to most of us. To the outsiders looking in, he is just an answer to a trivia question.
I think Lucas survived the teenage years and turned out just fine. I wish it had been the character Haim had aspired to be.