Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Lost Boy no more

OK, you might be thinking initially that I’m just getting clued in that actor Corey Haim is dead. But oh no, I knew. I just wanted to kind of sit back, watch and listen to some of the reaction in the days following his death last week of an apparent accidental drug overdose. (Yes, Corey Feldman, I used the overdose word. I’m sorry. But come on dude, you know people are going to go there.)

Well, now that the poor guy is dead and buried back home in Toronto, it seemed like as good a time as any to comment. There’s a lot of sadness in a story such as this, but hardly anything too surprising. Drugs among the Hollywood community and the struggles that entertainers have with them are about as old as the entertainment industry itself, it would seem. At times like this, there always seems to be the friends that show up on TV to say that (enter name here) seemed like he/she was in a good place and was starting to turn their life around. So they can’t understand what happened.

Perhaps that was the case here with Haim. No one will ever really know for sure, which is another sad facet to his story. By all accounts, he was barely making ends meet and staying with his mom, who is battling cancer. Acting work wasn’t exactly pouring in, at least not in any projects that you or I would have heard of. A glance at his filmography on IMDB.com will give you an idea of what his work has been over the past two decades. I’m a big-time movie buff, but I’d be hard-pressed to tell you anything about the vast majority of them. Several of them over that period were co-starring Feldman, his longtime friend, with whom he seemed to share a bizarre love-hate relationship. Most of them looked god-awful just by their description, but I did manage to see a trailer to “Dream A Little Dream 2.” What’s that, you ask? Well, it just happens to be the sequel to the duo’s cinematic classic from 1989 that was the 137th during the late ‘80s to focus on the body switching concept. And yes, I’ll admit to having seen it. One of them (let’s face it, it doesn’t matter which one) switches bodies with Jason Robards (and is now an older person in a young person’s body). OK, it’s Feldman and he does an unusual amount of Michael Jackson imitating in it. I know he and Jackson were friends and all, but still ...

All right, back to my discussion of Haim. The point is, the guy hasn’t made a good movie since “The Lost Boys,” which was a legitimately entertaining movie. Still is, for that matter. Sure, some of that had to do with the strong overall cast (Dianne Wiest, Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Edward Herrman, and heck I’ll even give Jami Gertz and Feldman credit for being good in it). But in the film, Haim showed he had the potential for a decent career, displaying some good comic timing and just the right combination of heroism and fear.
He was also good as a geeky teenager in “Lucas,” which also featured Charlie Sheen and Winona Ryder.
Some might be saying, “Wait a minute, he was also good in ‘The Goonies.’ But you’d be wrong, as that was Feldman among the young actors starring in that entertaining ‘80s flick. Haim actually auditioned for the same role that Feldman ended up getting and would star with another “Goonie” cast member, Kerri Green, in “Lucas” the very next year. (How’s that for some useless information?)

After the miserably unfunny and stupid “License to Drive,” which I remember at the time tastelessly had a running gag with a seriously drunk driver in the film, roles in mainstream movies dried up and Haim essentially disappeared from Hollywood’s (and audience) radars. Then, lo and behold, he and Feldman pop up in 2007 on A&E’s reality TV show, “The Two Coreys,” which I will label as one of the worst guilty pleasures I’d have to admit to seeing. I watched most of the episodes, actually, as I saw their friendship as something like a train wreck. It’s something you shouldn’t want to look at, but you can’t help it.

The premise seemed to focus on Haim returning to L.A. to recharge his listless movie career, and reconnecting with Feldman (who was happily married at the time; his wife filed for divorce last fall and is seeing sole custody of their son). The show lasted two seasons (which is probably longer than most would have put money on) and the two even went to couple’s counseling in a few episodes (I’m talking the Coreys, not Feldman and his wife). But like all good things, the show came to an end when it was canceled in 2008, with the Coreys all but fading back into obscurity.

It seems unfortunate and definitely sad that the by far the biggest news that Corey Haim has made since his late ‘80s heyday is pretty much the last news he’ll ever make.

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