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Tuesday, September 7, 1999

Corey Haim: The Gregoire Tribute
To An Icon Of Hollywood Romance

Every few months here in my cozy corner of decadence at the Times Square HoJo, I like to contemplate the universal concept of romance, the overwhelming force of good and evil that provides Breakup Girl with neverending dilemmas of the heart and body. And then I think of Corey Haim.

Haim is, of course, the boyish star of such late 80s hits as "The Lost Boys" and "Dream A Little Dream," as well as the leading hero of such later hard-to-find classics as "Prayer Of The Rollerboys" and "Watchers." He made an auspicious film debut in the charmer "Lucas," a film which also brought us Winona Ryder and Charlie Sheen, and since then has starred in a wide variety of films, from "Demolition High" to "Demolition University."

Unlike the higher profile romantic leads of the late 80s (John Cusack, Matt Dillon, River Phoenix), Haim gradually developed his romantic habits on screen, from the bashful fumblings of first love in "Lucas" to the hilarious, orgiastic romps of his later straight-to-video work. He wasn't some silly, whining romantic like Cusack or a cool casonova disguising a tender heart like Dillon. Haim was utterly surface, a slip of a boy disguised as a self-assured, super-hip misogynist-to-be. The extreme hints of his homosexual character in "The Lost Boys" and the vague of homoeroticism of his relationship with Corey Feldman not withstanding, Haim was as confident as he was cute.

The Feldman Thing

One cannot discuss one Corey without the other, the bad one. The Coreys Feldman and Haim paired on several films late into the 90s, the product of some on-screen "chemistry" that I personally never saw. I was always scared for Haim ("Run away, that other boy's evil!"). Though Feldman has a more impressive resume ("Stand By Me", "The Goonies"), there was always something very heroin-addict-y about his character, even at a young age. What's worse is that intelligent people -- people with degrees, doctorates, superhero credentials! -- often confuse the two. When I was younger, my mother Sainte-Marie would call me into the television room, shouting, "My little croissant, there's a Corey Haim movie on the video!" And I'd tear through our many winding hallways, only to discover that Feldman's "Bad News Bears" was on. I scolded my mother good for that one, believe you me!

Corey Now I've attempted to find the latest on Haim -- what he's up to, who he's dating, if they still seat him at Spago's -- but I've had little luck. In 1997, he filed for bankrupsy, due to terrible mismanagement of his money. He was also sued by the production company of a film he dropped out on, because he did not tell them he had a drug and alcohol problem. (Well, duh, who tells their employer that?!) Currently he's making an independent film called "Groove Society," revolving around the club-rave world of the illegal drug Ecstasy. Corey, snap out of it! I have also found out that his nickname is Space Ace. Who knew?

Advice From A Lost Boy

In revisiting the oeuvre of La Haim for this article, I noticed that many of his movies contain valuable lessons that one may take from the confines of the cinema into one's own life. You ask any actor -- Streep, Nicholson, Pacino -- what their objective is in their craft, and they'll tell you it's the will to achieve that same connection with the audience.

Below are some thoughts from Corey, gleaned from a sampling of his "greatest" films, including the Stephen King thriller "Silver Bullet," "The Lost Boys," "License To Drive," and "Dream A Little Dream." (Why no "Lucas" or "Snowboard Academy" you ask? Believe it or not, Manhattan video stores -- many who proclaim such "quality selection" -- no longer carry the films of Haim! I ask you, who said our culture was evolving?) In addition, I've interspersed advice taken from "Me, Myself And I," a biography video on Haim. (I took this from the Corey Haim Fanzine,because my local video stores were mysteriously out of stock of this title as well!)

Here -- sans the mousse, sans the neon neckties, sans the long jackets with rolled-up sleepves -- is the real Corey Haim:

• On harboring a destructive crush "Oh, I've bumped into her a million times. She's never bumped into me once." - LTD

• On sexual jealousy "Jan's walking around in all these new clothes showing off her tits. Acting like no one's ever had tits before her!" - SB

• On the mechanics of love "What does kissing really mean to me? If you feel, when you kiss a girl, that certain feeling of all those dolphins, like swimming through your blood stream, and you get those good tingles inside your stomach, I don't think there's any better feeling." --MMI

• On not being jealous when your best friend falls in love "My best friend Bobby is totally cool. We hang together, go to the same school and think rock'n'roll's rad. Now he's stuck on some dreamboat named Lainie. Bobby's got just three days to convince Lainie that she loves him, even though she already does but doesn't know it yet. This whole thing is totally weird -- but I'm sticking around to see what happens." -- DALD video jacket

• On obsessive behavior "You're at the mercy of your sex glands, bud!" -LB

• On the mental breakdowns caused by loneliness "Wow. Sh*t's getting weird. Me, Digger, unbelievable looking guy, sitting out here, freezing my ass off. In some butt-ugly red Mustang. [Pause] What time is it? [Looks at wrist.] I don't have a watch. I've never had a watch. Why did I look at my wrist?" -- DALD

• On the perfect romantic encounter "I'm asleep. I'm dreaming: Apache women. Mai Tais. Vanna White. And a whip!" - DALD

•On fashion "You are what you wear. I wear something different everyday." --MMI

• On making the most of things "You look like sh*t, pal. Don't worry about it. We'll make it a fashion statement." - DALD

• On facing who you really are "Look at your reflection in the mirror. You're a creature of the night!" -LB

• On introspection "I'm trying to get in the habit of, you know, picking up a book and learning how to write my feelings down, not my feelings but my thoughts, about things, and hopefully I'll move toward the writing and directing thing soon." -MMI

• On the passing of a loved one "If he's dead, can we go back to Phoenix?" - LB

• On priorities "You know, it's not enough that the monster had to kill all those people. It had to kill Brady. Which means they had to cancel the fair. And the fireworks!" - SB

• On loyalty "Even though you're a vampire, you're still my brother." -LB

• On patriotism "Who cares what your commie boyfriend says? I say it's great to be an American!" - LTD

• On nihilism "I'm dead. I'm so dead they'll have to bury me twice!" - LTD

• On putting things in perspective "Well, at least your mom didn't run over YOUR leg with her Volvo, mister!" - DALD

• On logic (Part One) "What's wrong with this picture? There's no TV! Have you seen a TV? I haven't seen a TV! You know what it means when there's no TV. No M...T...V." - LB

• On logic (Part Two) "Why am I running? I have a broken leg!" - DALD

• On foreign language "A dumbass may be a foreign object, but it ain't French!" - DALD

• On finally finding true love "I don't need the BMW anymore. I already have a Mercedes." [Cue Billy Ocean's "Get Out Of My Dreams (And Into My Car)."] - LTD

• On irony "There's no point in making bad movies. That's not my desire." - MMI

Final observations from the corner booth: If you believe that the universe is truly infinite, then you believe in an infinite number of planets formulated by an infinite number of possibilities. If this is the case, there is a planet where everything is just like it is on this planet, except Corey Haim would be Corey Feldman and Corey Feldman would be Corey Haim. And people would STILL be mixing them up!

If he were my brother, I'd smack him.

Possible career comeback role #1 for Corey: a gay prostitute in a gritty Brian DePalma film

It's just a guess, but I'm willing to bet that Corey Haim does not know the location of the sunken city of Atlantis.

Because Corey Haim's character in "The Lost Boys" had a beefcake picture of Rob Lowe on his wall, stuck his collars straight up, and wore splashy pastels with abandon, I was instantly transformed from the heterosexual football player I was as a kid into the fabulon I am today!

Possible career comeback role #2 for Corey: a nerve-rattled young intern on "ER"

In a People Magazine article circa 1989, Corey is photographed in his home, which, oddly enough is filled with lifesize cut-outs of characters from the popular "Archie" comic books. I don't remember a single thing I learned in college, but I remember this detail vividly.

Corey Haim's acting idol? John Ritter. (Well, there you go.)

Possible career comeback role #3 for Corey: a housemate on the next "The Real World." Previous unknowns have been made famous by the show. Why not always use somebody hardened to the ways of fame?

Back to the gossip next week, dears. And remember, when you're in an awkward romantic situation, just ask yourself, "What would Corey do?"

Until he receives his richly deserved Academy Award,

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