R.I.P. Corey Haim (1971-2010)

Looking back at the blog entry I wrote about The Two Coreys in the summer of 2007, I guess the news of Corey Haim’s death should not have come as a surprise. But it did. Somehow I always assumed that the kids I watched onscreen would grow up to be okay, and every time I learn that a once-promising life has gone off the rails, it evokes a combination of shock and disappointment. On some level it always drives home the fact that the expectations and ideals we had as children are fragile and fallible. Like so many things in life, this simply should not have turned out this way.

At age twelve (in 1990), did I anticipate things ending this way for Corey Haim? I did not. In fact, at age twelve, my friend and I shifted from playing Barbies to writing “life stories”. They were basically an extended game of M.A.S.H., wherein you’d write your BFF an absurd future featuring every boy she’d ever had a crush on. We’d torture each other with marriages to Hollywood heartthrobs that resulted in scores of absurdly named children and ended in a comically bitter divorce or an absurd death. “Ha ha! I’ll let you have your Tom Cruise, but *this* is how it turns out!” The funny thing is that the one happy ending I wrote involved Corey Haim. After the usual string of mishaps, I had my friend (aged forty-six in the story) marry a fifty year old Corey Haim, adopt a pile of kids, and live happily ever after. At the time, I literally could not imagine anything going wrong in a marriage to Corey Haim. He would be endlessly sweet, funny, and even-tempered. He would make movies forever. It would be perfect. If you were a tween in the late Eighties and early Nineties, then you understand that a little piece of perfect died with him. He was part of our dreams.

Regardless of where life took him, Corey Haim’s talent is undeniable. Even his earliest performances reveal the pathos and vulnerability that made him so endearing and relatable. He was funny and cute, genuine and real. Had he not possessed these qualities himself, he never would have been able to bring them to the screen.

If you never knew what the fuss was all about, or if you would simply like to remember Corey as he was, I would recommend checking out Murphy’s Romance and Silver Bullet, two 1985 films that hinted at great things to come. Just one year later, he would bring Lucas to life in a performance that any veteran actor would be pleased to call their own. The Lost Boys followed in 1987 – flat out one of the best things to come out of the Eighties.

Things would drift downhill after that point, but Haim’s place in film history was secure. For the roles he gave us as a child and a teen, he will be remembered with love and affection.

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