They're burying Corey Haim today.
What else can we say about that? The Toronto-born star of Lucas and The Lost Boys died last week, apparently of a prescription drug overdose. He was a briefly appealing actor twenty-odd ago, and now he's dead.
People can mourn the charming young kid they remember from Haim's movies, or they can pity the Hollywood casualty he became. Obviously, more of us prefer to do the former; though Haim never achieved the level of cultural prominence of anyone in John Hughes repertory, he's being remembered as if he had. That's the beauty of the 24-hour news cycle, I suppose; anyone can be eulogized as a broken angel on Larry King Live these days.
I know that sounds callous. I don't mean it to be. Haim's performance as a winsome, awkward dreamer in Lucas is something genuine and lovely, and it's a shame he never had the chance to make another movie of that calibre. Instead, he made The Lost Boys, which paired him with perpetual co-star Corey Feldman and set Haim on the track to making slick, empty crap, and then just empty crap, and finally just crap. I saw it all, in my capacity as a home-video columnist, and let me just say this: if you vaguely remember License To Drive or Dream A Little Dream, and nothing else, that's probably best.
Haim disappeared from view once he was too old to convincingly play a teenager; either no one was willing to cast him in any other role, or he wasn't able to handle the challenge. It was probably a combination of the two, coupled with his well-documented substance abuse problems.
He spent most of the last decade trying to make a comeback. When I visited the Vancouver set of Lost Boys: The Tribe in the fall of 2007 - yes, I did that - Corey Feldman told me they'd offered Haim a part, but Haim wasn't able to participate. (This was after the pair had shot the first season of The Two Coreys, which meta-fictionally portrayed Feldman and his wife as long-suffering enablers of Haim the lovable fuckup.)
The production crew told different stories - that Haim had been acting erratically, that he'd gotten out of a car on the way to the set and wandered away, that there'd been "issues".
Haim ultimately did appear in the film - in an end-credits sequence shot well after the rest of the picture. It did nothing for his career, or for Feldman's, which is presumably why the surviving Corey is making the rounds now, talking about his doomed friend.
The whole thing is just terribly sad. Corey Haim is dead. His family is in terrible pain. His former fans will feel briefly sad about it, but they'll move on to the next celebrity tragedy. So will the media; hell, Larry King's probably forgotten about Haim already, assuming he ever knew who he was in the first place. That's just how this works.
If you really want to honour Haim's memory, watch Lucas again. And wonder how things might have turned out if he'd been given the chance to become an actor, rather than a teen idol.[rssbreak]