80s heartthrob Corey Haim first tackled the role of supremely dorky outcast Lucas Blyde before THE LOST BOYS and LICENSE TO DRIVE.
Many people are unaware of this, which is understandable. In 1985's sleeper hit, LUCAS, he is minute and scrawny. He doesn't sport the messy bleached and chopped style he did when swooning teen girls tacked his photos on their bedroom walls, courtesy of TIGER BEAT magazine.
During Corey Haim's 15 minutes of fame, I was a tot waddling in diapers. And when Lucas hit theatres, I wasn't even alive yet. But I did see bits and pieces of this movie on the Disney channel when I was about 7 or 8 years old. Only later did I rent the DVD. Is this another teen movie? I think not.
Lucas is super-cheery and super-smart, intellectually above his peers. In fact, he skipped not one, but TWO grades. So he's a 14 year-old sophomore in a typical suburban high school.
The end of the summer, he meets a new girl named Maggie (Kerry Green). If it weren't for his perseverence, he never would have won her friendship. After gawking at her on the tennis court, and after she implies a good 2 or 3 times she'd prefer to be alone, she finally succumbs to his charms. They spend the last two weeks of vacation attending classical music concerts, looking at different types of insects, and cruising the neighborhood in Maggie's car. Maggie finds a friend in Lucas. She even confides in him about her divorced dad and his 19 year-old girlfriend.
When high school officially starts, things change. Lucas is blinded by his infatuation with Maggie. Maggie sees him as a very good friend and nothing more. She's deeply hurt when she sees how some of the jock crowd treats him, humiliating him to no end. One of the exceptions, however, is Cappie, played by Charlie Sheen. "I used to treat him like everyone else does," he laments in the school basement. Cappie changed his ways after Lucus brought him his homework while he was away from school sick. Since then, they've been on friendly terms.
But Maggie isn't attracted to Lucus, who is 1 1/2 years younger than she is. She wants Cappie, but he's got a girlfriend, Alise, played by Ally McBeal's Courtney Thorne Smith. When Cappie and Alise break up (which I saw coming), Cappie turns to Maggie for support and a shoulder to cry on. And a new relationship, much to Lucas's dismay.
Lucas had previously vowed to stay away from the world of jocks and cheerleaders. In fact, jocks and cheerleaders are everything Lucas is not. Before, he deemed their world "superficial." Now, to impress Maggie, he is willing to do whatever it takes.
He wants to be a footballer.
Can he do it? Or will is experience out on the field knock sense into him (figuratively speaking, of course)? Will he win Maggie's love or are they destined for friendship and nothing more?
Watch and see.
I'm surprised that LUCAS received so little recognition. I'm also surprised that Corey Haim tackled the role with such ease, considering that the same boy in LUCAS also starred in a plethora of unmemorable 80s cheese. Charlie Sheen was sexy, subtle, and wonderful. Kerri Green was also fantastic - this movie made me contemplate why she is no longer a Hollywood starlet, being this, along with THE GOONIES, are her only two films worth mentioning. Audiences may expect this comedy to be cheesy and lacking the heart of some 80s classics, yet I'd rank it high on my list. It's got poignant heart and soul and the entire cast gives praise-worthy performances.