Tweens girls today are largely divided: Team Edward, or Team Jacob.
When I was a pre-teen girl in the mid-80s, my friends and I were divided, too. Our polarizing boy crushes? Team Haim or Team Feldman.
Ahh, the Coreys.
My two closest girl friends were firmly Team Feldman. I, on the other hand, was adamantly Team Haim. Feldman might have been more interesting as an actor and was definitely the darker, more bad-boyish of the two, but Corey Haim was just so cute and, in some roles, charmingly vulnerable. How do you not watch Lucas and fall a little in love with that kid?
Some of my favorite movie-watching moments from the 80s involve one or other or both of the Coreys. Lost Boys, The Goonies, Stand By Me, Lucas, License to Drive--they just don't make coming-of-age movies that innocent anymore. My parents "got" the Coreys, too. Mom choked up during Lucas, and License to Drive is one of the few "teenybopper" movies my dad ever stopped what he was doing to actually watch with me when it came on HBO. Corey Haim's road test cracked him up for some reason. That's also the first movie where I saw my dad actually get nervous for a character. Midway through, he got up and shook his head and stood in the kitchen doorway.
"I just can't watch that kid keep making dumb decisions to save himself and that car. He thinks he's making it better but he just keeps making it worse." He yelled at the screen: "Stop while you're ahead!"
But he couldn't stop watching it. A good train wreck is hard to ignore.
Because a good train wreck is hard to ignore, I watched a little bit of the reality show the two Coreys "starred" in a couple of years ago. It was hard, though, seeing two former teen heartthrobs, both talented enough to have made it as serious actors, struggling with addiction and burnout.
The teen stars of my generation have generally not thrived.
I was sad to see yesterday that Corey Haim has left us. I keep reading that to many who knew him well it didn't come as that much of a shock; he had put his body through a lot in his youth, and still had his demons. The picture I saw of him attached to the news article showed a Corey Haim I could barely recognize; you could tell the years had been hard on him. I can't help but see him as I best remember him, though--little brother Sam in Lost Boys, singing and goofing off with child-like innocence and joy in a bubble bath (right before Michael tries to attack him.) Who knew the troubles that were ahead for that kid?
In many ways he was a lost boy.