Schubert. On Film.

“Pink Slip For A Porscha” – A Tribute To Corey Haim

Posted in Corey Haim, Tributes by schubertonfilm on March 22, 2010

To most he was a joke. He was usually referred to as a dumb child actor who got into drugs and became a target for mean jokes and cruel treatment. To me, Corey Haim was not a joke at all. Sure, everything after The Dream Machine is terrible and not worth watching. But for those few good years, Corey Haim made some great throwaway classics. I grew up on Lucas, The Lost Boys, License to Drive and The Dream Machine. I lived my teenage years vicariously through him. While other teens my age were listening to Korn, I was imagining I was Les Anderson taking Heather Graham out in my Grandpa’s Caddy. While people I knew were doing drugs, bottoming out in the depths of the suburbs, I was doing drugs and watching The Dream Machine; imagining that, for just one day, I could magically transport myself back in time, to the only place a boy like me could be happy: the Golden Age of the Teenage Movie. I could hang out with Corey Feldman. Be Jason Patric’s gay kid brother. Or maybe vie for the affections of Kerri Green with Charlie Sheen. He was one of my idols. And now he’s dead.

When I got the early morning text messages informing me of his demise, I didn’t know what to say. I kind of expected it,  I  guess. We all knew Feldman was going to make it out alive. But Haim was in too bad of shape; anyone who attempted to watch The Two Coreys knew that. Hearing about the final moments of his death – his mom seeing him stumble around the bedroom until finally crashing onto the ground – gave me the chills and haunts me to this day. He was only 38 years old but so many years of prescription drug abuse can take its toll. And now people tweet and blog “R.I.P. Corey Haim” like they give a shit. These people didn’t give a shit when he was alive. He was a joke to them; “That kid from ‘The Lost Boys’ who did drugs, right?” Well fuck you. He was a legend to me.

The one thing that bothers me the most is that people think he was always as stupid as he was when he was a full-grown adult. I’ll admit: past 21, he probably became pretty stupid, to the point he was at when he died; unable to act in character and coming off as a meth-addict. But when he was young, before he lost his mind, he was smart, really smart. As “Lucas”, he wasn’t playing himself. He was playing “Lucas” and he was a goddamn revelation in the part. Nobody could have played that part like Haim and he was only 14 years old. In The Lost Boys, he was a comedic genius; my favorite part in the movie. Everyone talks about the Frog Brothers. What about metrosexual Sam? The only kid in all of Santa Carla with the homosexual Rob Lowe poster on his wall? He’s a walking, talking 80’s icon. His Grandpa doesn’t have television; he wants his MTV, goddamnit! His timing is impeccable and he’s undisputedly the heart of the whole movie. He successfully off-sets Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Patric’s dark vampire characterizations with a lively and fun comedic performance. He owned the role.

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KILLER 80’s 3-PEATS: Curtis Armstrong

Posted in Killer 80s 3-Peats by schubertonfilm on February 2, 2010

A candid moment with Curtis

In the “Killer 80’s 3-Peats” series, I examine 80’s actors that made three classic characters and/or movies in a row.

In the inaugural edition of Killer 80’s 3-Peats, we discuss the amazing three movie streak of Curtis Armstrong.  The casual movie viewer will know him, of course, as Booger in the Revenge of the Nerds series. But to the 80’s stalwart, he is a character actor on par with a Malkovich or a Tobolowsky. Armstrong has made a ton of movies and TV shows in his long and successful career, but in the early to mid 80’s he reached cult status when he made three classic teen comedies in a row: Risky Business, Revenge of the Nerds and Better Off Dead.

Sometimes you just gotta say ‘What The Fuck’.

1983 – RISKY BUSINESS

Miles: Joel, you wanna know something? Every now and then say, “What the fuck.” “What the fuck” gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.

Risky Business is an interesting creature. I did not see it until around 1998, when I was 14, and, even though I purchased it on VHS, I hated it. With a passion. 80’s teen movies were my main thing, but this was not an 80’s teen movie in my books. I had heard so much about this “classic sex comedy” but all I saw was a slow-moving, unfunny movie with a terrible synth score by Tangerine Dream. Then a strange thing happened. I gave it another chance and I liked it a little more. Then I watched it again and I liked it even more. Finally, on the fourth viewing, I realized how wrong I was. This movie is an absolute classic. It’s an adult teen movie; mature, observational and patient. This is not some stupid Porky’s-esque gross-out sex comedy where every possible joke is made in total disregard for plot. This is a clearly thought out story of one kid’s rebellion against the man and it took me four tries to be totally blown away by it. And funnily enough, I now count Tangerine Dream’s score as one of my favorite film scores of all time. It’s slow, it’s dreamy and it’s perfect.

The entire cast is great, from Tom Cruise to Rebecca De Mornay, Bronson Pinchot and the always-reliable Joe Pantoliano. But one character always sticks out in my mind: Cruise’s best friend Miles, played by Armstrong. It’s hard to believe this was Armstrong’s debut performance with the amount of comic-timing and confidence it contains. His point in the movie is to push Cruise to say “What the fuck?” and question society’s standards. All Cruise wants to do is get good grades and get into a good university. But Miles pushes on, urging him to order prostitutes and live life on the edge. Easier for him to say, Cruise tells him, he’s already on his way to Stanford. When we hear this line of dialogue, it’s laughable that someone as scrubby looking and rebellious as Miles would be accepted into any university, never mind Stanford. But Armstrong pulls it off and simultaneously makes the movie that much better. It’s the kind of sarcastic/sardonic character that gets me every time, usually played best by the likes of Bill Murray and Jason Lee.

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