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Lucas (the movie) - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Lucas (the movie)
So I found a copy of Lucas, starring Corey Haim in a bag of videotapes my mom sent. I haven't actually sat down to watch it for a while, and I'd forgotten how good it is. You know when there's a movie or book you always liked as a kid that you think will lose something? Not this one.

First, I'll grant that Corey Haim later got really weird, but he deserved his accolades for this one. He manages to be painfully nerdish, embarrassed, and uncomfortable to watch--the way it's uncomfortable to watch someone being embarrassed in the real world.

For those who haven't seen it (unlike the mediocre Brat Pack movies, this 80s movie doesn't seem to be shown on cable every month or so), the story is about a geeky bio-class nerd who loves bugs. He's accelerated and in high school a little early. A new girl comes to town, pretty and the sort of person anyone acquainted with high schoolers knows will be popular once she starts, and Lucas is the first person to meet her. They spend the summer together having a lot of fun, and Lucas--not unfairly, imho--starts to think something could happen between them. Of course, as soon as they actually start school, it becomes obvious that they're moving in different worlds. She becomes a cheerleader and falls for the captain of the football team (Charlie Sheen, in a shockingly sympathetic role), and Lucas gets hurt. Meanwhile, a skinny and very geeky Winona Ryder has the hots for Lucas, and he's doing the same thing to her. Ultimately, he decides that he should go out for football to prove that he's man enough, but of course he gets laughed off the team, until a very important game comes along, and he realizes that he can save it and...


Really doesn't.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but he gets the stuffing beat out of him.

Through the whole thing, all of the main characters are decent people, everyone doing their best and trying to be good to everyone else, which rings true of most teenagers I know, despite their reputation. They don't always succeed at this, but most of them at least sort of think of themselves as nice people. Even Cappy's previous girlfriend, Elise (played by a pre-Melrose Place Courtney Thorne-Smith), though a bit nasty, is understandably hurt and sympathetic in that way. You're not, like, rooting for her to get her heart broken. It hits a wrong note when a genuine bully comes around at the end and brings the whole school with him, but no movie is perfect, and hey, maybe this guy had a real conversion experience or something.

There are just a lot of neat interpersonal scenes in this movie, a lot more believeable than, say, scenes in The Breakfast Club with its warring factions. Lucas and Rina (the Winona character) have a talk about dragonfly larvae, that moves on to Romeo and Juliet and ends up with Lucas making a potentially nasty decision. Lucas and Maggie listen to classical music, and after she starts dating Cappy, they have another talk under a bridge. And Cappy and Maggie have a couple of very cute romance scenes.

It's well-directed, well-performed, and well-written. And I like it. So I thought I'd make a post.

Also, whoever messed up Corey Haim's hair for it really ought to have been hired on the HP movies. That's a person who knows how to make hair actually look messy.
3 comments or Leave a comment
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: November 18th, 2005 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, that sounds interesting, with a good understanding of what kids are like. I'll have to find it somewhere--I've liked all the 80's movies that you've recommended that I've managed to get my hands on.
prplhez8 From: prplhez8 Date: November 18th, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)


I swear one of these days (if you didn't live a trillion states away) we would have to have a movie night. You bring up all of these movies that meant so much to me growing up. Like Stand By Me and now Lucas (don't forget the Goonies).

I'm still a sucker for a happy ending...I love when he gets the lettermen's jacket in his locker.


hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: November 18th, 2005 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

Heee! I quote that all the time.
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