Paying tribute to Corey Haim
We don't want to remember Corey Haim, who died Wednesday morning at the age of 38 after an apparent accidental overdose, as the drug-addled reality star of recent years. We want to remember Haim as the actor he was when he first started out in Hollywood in the early '80s, a young man capable of projecting a vulnerability, exuberance and sweetness that made him instantly likable onscreen.
In fact, that's what he did in his two best movies: 1986's "Lucas" and, of course, 1987's rock-vampire epic, "The Lost Boys."
"Lucas" is one of those movies we always linger on while channel surfing, and Haim is the reason why. As an exceptionally tiny and goofy kid with a crush on the pretty, new girl in school (Kerri Green) and a difficult home life that he keeps hidden from everyone but Winona Ryder (in her film debut here), he was incredibly empathetic and, above all, innocent. The whole movie, actually, was notable for its innocence; it was the kind of teen flick you could watch with your parents without getting embarrassed. And when Haim's Lucas, determined to join the high school football team, jogs out onto that field and eventually gets the nerdy lights knocked out of him, anyone watching -- you, your mom, your dad -- couldn't help but gasp. The last thing a person wanted during that movie was to see sweet little Corey Haim get hurt.
But Haim's Lucas persevered. Despite being told he was too little, too geeky, too much of an outcast, he stayed on target, defying the odds to win the hearts -- not only of the prettiest girl in school and the star of the football team (Charlie Sheen), but ours, too.
In "The Lost Boys," Haim was a little older, but he still retained that sense of naivete and exuberance. As Sam, he read comic books in bed while kissing his mommy (Dianne Wiest) good night. He sang oldies in the bathtub and loved his dog, Nanook. For reasons we never fully understood, he kept a poster of Rob Lowe on his bedroom wall. And above all else, he loved his older brother Mike (Jason Patric), so much that he was willing to team up with the far weirder and more worldly Frog brothers -- that's Jamison Newlander and, yes, Corey Feldman -- to claim him from the vampire-clutches of Kiefer Sutherland and co.
Would "Lost Boys" have worked without Haim? With INXS on the soundtrack and Sutherland and Patric looking all creepy-hot, probably. But the then-16-year-old actor definitely brought a sense of comic-panic to the part that, again, made us like him, especially when he (spoiler alert!) managed to triumph over the blood suckers in the end.
This is one movie that neither of us is ashamed to admit we both wore out after repeated watchings on VHS.
Of course, things changed, as they do for many child stars, when he grew up and out of that cute-and-innocent kid category. He tried to make an adult acting career work. But it never really took off.
Along with partner-in-cinema-crime Corey Feldman, he recorded some of the worst cheese ever committed to celluloid. Take "Dream a Little Dream," for instance, in which Haim and Feldman play two guys who -- freaky deaky! -- switch bodies thanks to a science experiment gone wrong. Though the worst thing about the flick wasn't even the ludicrous plot; it was their foppish, hipster-wannabe get-ups and Feldman's uncanny mimicry of Michael Jackson.
Haim was never able to escape from his status as one-half of the Coreys. And, apparently, he also wasn't able to extricate himself from a life of frequent drug use.
Which is why on the sad day of his death, we prefer to forget all about "License to Drive," or "The Two Coreys," or any of the many straight-to-DVD flicks Haim did later in life. Instead we'll remember him as our "Lucas" and our "Lost Boy," a teen determined to win the girl's heart and save his big brother, a kid still innocent and untouched by Hollywood's dark side.
-- Liz and Jen
| March 10, 2010; 11:51 AM ET
Save & Share: Previous: 'Lost' Dueling Analysis: 'Dr. Linus'
Next: Celebs remember Corey Haim; Betty White to host 'SNL'; 'Twilight' trailer sneak peek
Posted by: jezebel3 | March 10, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bra8en | March 10, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Beach_Girl | March 10, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Californian11 | March 10, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: epjd | March 10, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MarcosBrasilia | March 10, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: BurgBarbL | March 10, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Californian11 | March 10, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dlstottlemire | March 10, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mjwies11 | March 10, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.