Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lost Boy

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 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.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

More Than This, There Is Something Else There

And my Heaven will be a big Heaven/ And I will walk through the front door

-Peter Gabriel

The band Genesis will soon be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Their original lead singer, Peter Gabriel, has said he will likely not attend as his tour is about to start at the same time. While die hard fans would surely like to see Gabriel there, it almost seems appropriate he is not.

Bands have had more success after an original lead singer left I am sure. But how many splits worked out this well for both sides? Gabriel became huge after leaving; and so did Genesis. Gabriel did far more interesting things as a solo artist than Genesis ever did without him, and really with him.

Gabriel was using African and other world musicians long before the likes of Paul Simon. A former drummer who loves good percussion, Gabriel even helped create, along with his bass player Tony Levin, attachable drum sticks that stick to your fingers while playing bass. Gabriel loves elaborate staging but yet doesn't rely on it. He finds ways to enhance the music, not make it secondary. As sophisticated as Gabriel can be, he can tone it down to just he and a keyboard for some songs. And for my fellow fans of sad songs, nobody does sad much better.

And for everything I find interesting about Gabriel, lately I am drawn back to his music much for the same reasons of other artists I gravitate to. I find a searching in his lyrics. Not one from artists who one time or another professed faith, like Dylan, Van Morrison U2, or Cat Stevens; but a search of a man that finds there is something more beyond this world, but who is so far not ready to say what that might be.

"Solisbury Hill," Gabriel's first single as a solo artist was about him leaving Genesis. And it evokes imagery of listening to an unknown voice.

I had to listen had no choice
I did not believe the information
Just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom-boom-boom
Son, he said, grab your things I've come to take you home

To keep in silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut

In, "Lay Your Hands On Me," Gabriel opens with the narrator speaking of how he is not interested in the spiritual:

No more miracles, loaves and fishes, been so busy with the
washing of the dishes

But then he comes back around to the spiritual by the 3rd verse. "No more miracles" becomes "there are no accidents."

But still the warmth flows through me
And I sense you know me well
No luck, no golden chances
No mitigating circumstances now
It's only common sense
There are no accidents around here

I am willing - lay your hands on me
I am ready - lay your hands on me
I believe - lay your hands on me, over me

"It's easy to be philosophical; to sit back and look at your life. Especially with a little wine. And what you see is a bit like being inside a car, you only see whats in front of you, you don't see whats above or below. And the moon for example sits up there; and every day it pulls the sea in and out. Controls the menstrual cycle. And at the time of the full moon the murder rate is up three times. Yet, most of us have no idea where the moon is or what phase it's in. Which only goes to show.

There is always...'more than this.'"

-Peter Gabriel

"Come Talk To Me," written to Gabriel's daughter after he and her mother divorced.

Start at 5:00 mark