Snort! Huh…wha? Did I miss something?
Oh right, it was Oscar weekend. Usually I look forward to the Oscars like Christmas, but this year the ceremony was so boring I fell into a coma sometime in the back half. Probably during one of the segments where a bunch of non-nominated actors get up and directly address the nominees and tell them how much they complete them and shit. My synapses back fired and my brain shut down, throwing me into a merciful stupor I’ve only recently awakened from. Which is a good thing because, as I understand it, they’re now handing out Oscars to people for playing a sassy southern belle who gives people whut-fer. I remember, the last ten thousand times I saw that role in a movie, thinking they should totally dispense Oscars for it. That way, every woman in Hollywood could get one. And even some of the men.
I guess the real fallout from Sunday is that everyone still has their tits in a knot over the exclusion of Farrah Fawcett from the Oscar obituary death knell. Each year they always seem to skip two or three people, claiming time constraints. Right. Because there was no way to trim that virtually endless show by three seconds so they could slip Farrah into the montage. They already had to shave three indispensable seconds off of one of the interpretive dance numbers so they could include Michael Jackson. I’ll buy their argument that Farrah was more of a TV actress rather than a movie person, but then where the fuck was Dan O’Bannon, you Academy weasels? You include a publicist and a writer for Variety, but you skip the guy who wrote Alien and gave the world Return of the Living Dead, the first ever zombie comedy? Just remember, there would be no Alien franchise, no Zombieland, no Shaun of the Dead without the work of the master.
Queuing up to be the next dead celebrity snubbed at the Academy Awards is Corey Haim. They say it was drugs but I suspect that, like me, he watched the Oscars and then failed to come out of his resulting boredom-induced coma. Hmm, yeah. That’s a distinct possibility. Maybe we should look into… Nah, fuck it, it was drugs.
Never before, in the history of dead celebrities, have I heard such a collective shrug of “Meh, figures,” from the general public. Chris Farley’s overdose came as more of a shock. This is the part, during any sort of pseudo obituary, where you’re supposed to say nice things about the dead person. Okay, let me dig deep here. Um, there were early indications that he had real charm and charisma and acting ability. And then he pissed it all away. I tried. That’s all I could muster. Because I met him a couple of times, and I saw the train wreck for myself.
It was ten years ago, and he was back in Montreal living with his mom and trying to get his shit together. He was shooting Universal Groove with some friends of mine — a movie that ended up in post production longer than Night of the Ghouls (Cue Triumph the Insult Comic Dog voice, “I keed! I keed!”). I was an extra in the café scene, but I probably don’t even appear in any of the footage. For the record, I was the extra talking to my buddy Dave, who was a CREDITED extra.
One of my closest friends had been drafted to be the Corey-wrangler. It was his job to drive him around town, help him shop for the necessities of life, and generally keep him out of trouble. Prior to meeting him for myself, I’d been treated to a litany of descriptive terms for The Corey, many of them colourful. I remember a number of nouns along the lines of “loser” and “dumbass” often coupled with adjectives like “fucking.”
I was formally introduced to Corey at a nightclub in my neighbourhood. The place was a bit of a dive. More recently, it’s been heavily renovated to resolve its perpetual rat infestation. Corey would hang out there because they gave him free food. The staff and owners of the club resented every complimentary mouthful Corey ate, but places like that consider freebies to celebrities a necessary evil in order to generate some buzz about their establishment. The buzz usually goes something like this:
Squealing excitable girl: “Ooo! I saw Corey Haim at Club Generika last night. He was eating french fries.”
Less excitable girl: “Corey who?”
“You know, one of the Coreys!”
“Which one? There’s so many.”
“The Canadian one, silly!”
“Um yeah, I think so. Wait, no, the other one. The Lost Boys one who used to hang out with the other Corey before the court order.”
“I think my sister rented one of his videos once. At Blockbuster. From the dollar shelf. I was gonna watch it, but then I had to take it back because I didn’t want a late fee. Was he cute and stuff?”
“…No. Not really. He looked kinda old and tired.”
Yeah, I met him. And no, as a matter of fact, he wasn’t dreamy. He looked about ten years older than he was (I’m being generous here because he’s dead now — in fact, it was more like twenty years older) and he was dressed in a stylish fashion that suggested he was actually shooting for a Mickey Rourke look — from before the Mickey Rourke career resurgence.
I shook his hand. I remember he had a thumb ring and I thought something along the lines of, “Oh fer chrissake, he has a thumb ring.” And then…
Oops. It appears my “I met Corey Haim” anecdote has come to an abrupt and expected end. Because that’s all I remember about meeting him. There was a conversation. I think one of my movie scripts that was bouncing around town at the time came up. I don’t even remember which one. I just knew I didn’t want Corey Haim attached to it and promptly ignored the suggestion that I should slip him a copy. Cruel, I know, but at this point his career was more in the toilet than it was even during his recent reality-show stint playing himself as a drug-addled loser. I went home about twenty minutes later. Then I probably watched some television and went to bed.
Brush with greatness.