Jan. 9, 2011

filmsgraded.com:
Lucas (1986)
Grade: 55/100

Director: David Seltzer
Stars: Corey Haim, Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen

What it's about. Pretty and adorable redhead Kerri Green is the new girl at the suburban high school. Fellow student and younger nerd Corey Haim falls for her, but although they become friends, she instead has eyes for Charlie Sheen, a star on the football team. Sheen is dating shallow beauty Courtney Thorne-Smith, whom he soon dumps for the sweet-as-sugar Green.

Haim is upset at losing his would-be girlfriend. He doesn't care that Winona Ryder, making her film debut, has a crush on him. Haim, in a pathetic attempt to impress Green, tries out for the football team, where he is humiliated by bully players Tom Hodges and Jeremy Piven.

How others will see it. Lucas was a box office disappointment, despite generally favorable reviews. The movie retains a minor following, though, due to its young cast, which was stocked with future minor to major stars. Haim's eventual death before the age of 30, no doubt induced by years of chronic drug abuse, also adds macabre interest.

The user reviews are steady at 6.6/10, although the under 18 crowd, its target audience, gives it an 8.2/10.

How I felt about it. For a nerd, Haim has a respectable group of people who care strongly about him. There's Ryder, Green, Sheen, that obnoxious nerd with a video camera, and the school counselor. At the high school I went you, if someone was seriously injured at a game, no one would visit him at the hospital unless they were compelled to do so. It's the first lesson in life: you simply aren't that important. Particularly when you are the smallest boy in the class.

I understand why Green prefers Sheen to Haim. I understand why Haim wants Green. I don't understand why Ryder pursues Haim, or why Haim pays little attention to her. He's a teenaged guy. He would take advantage of a forward girl, even if she's just coming out of a unisex phase.

There is no chance that a high school coach would let Haim suit up. He could be water or towel boy, and that is that. No coach who wants to keep his job would sent Haim into a game. And no guy would willingly break up with Courtney Thorne-Smith. He'd put up with her until the end of time, as long as there was even a remote chance of continuing the relationship.

Writer/director David Seltzer has the best of intentions. And we understand the message here: Haim needs to accept himself for what he is, a promising nerd. He is not going to date the pretty cheerleader. He won't be a gridiron hero, either.

But there are actually only two fully credible characters here, the high school counselor who knows that Corey Haim is bluffing when he threatens legal action, and Courtney Thorne-Smith, who wants her jock boyfriend and despises Green for making inroads on him. We won't count party animal/jock Jeremy Piven, since he hardly has any lines.

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