FRC’s Fallen Icon #7 – Corey Feldman
This week Tom takes us through the career of one of the 80s favourite child stars, Corey Feldman
For new readers and those who may have missed these posts from prior weeks here is a brief run down of what it is about..
Remember when you would always be waiting for a new film from [insert fallen icon’s name here]. They were always on the top of the list when the casting calls went out. demanding top dollar for their appearance. But then they got old, fat, or just unfashionable and got lost in TV or even the world of PORN.
Well I am going to take a few weeks to pay tribute to these guys. They deserve a comeback. I mean Robert Downey Jr got one. John Travolta got one (Ok he kinda fell again) so these guys deserve it too!!
This week I have decided to take a look at everyone’s favourite childhood actor from the 80′s, none other than Corey Feldman! He succumbed to the perils of fame at a young age by becoming heavily involved in drugs and this would eventually lead to his downfall…
Here is a brief Biography of the Icon:
Born back in 1971, Corey began his acting career at the tender age of three when he starred in a McDonald’s advert and went on to appear in hundreds of commercials and TV shows throughout the seventies and early eighties. He regularly appeared in guest-starring roles for shows such as Mork & Mindy before landing a permanent slot in the fondly remembered American comedy The Bad News Bears which followed the exploits of a little league baseball team.
He hit the big time in the mid eighties, starring in a number of films that were universally adored by fans and critics alike, going from strength to strength in iconic roles that cemented his position as a reputable star. With hits such as The Goonies and Stand by me still finding their way into the hearts of young audience’s today, his legacy is unlikely to fade anytime soon.
His career took a nose dive in the nineties as he went off the rails and despite numerous attempts to recreate his former successes, he has failed to appear in any notable films or TV shows ever since, unless you count his role in The Two Corey’s, the hit show that blended reality with fiction as both Feldman and Haim played characters that represented their personas. This was certainly a far cry from Feldman’s glory years as a teen icon back in the eighties and indicated that his successful acting career was forever destined to be a distant memory despite his firm belief that he is far more than an actor:
I’m more than an actor. I’m an icon, an industry.
What went wrong?
Feldman always claimed that his parents beat him, and this could add gravitas to his mesmering performance in Stand By Me, as he would have had a genuine connection to the troubled character he portrays so perfectly. It was also on this shoot that he first encountered alcohol and began to smoke pot aged just fourteen. This early introduction to drugs was never going to end well and his drug use soon soon spiralled out of control, Corey was aged just 19 when he was arrested for the possession of cocaine and heroine and two years later he checked into rehab for a ten month stint to confront his escalating reliance on substances.
There was a number of sad and traumatic incidents in Feldman’s childhood that would understandably lead to difficulties in his later life but parts of his upbringing are shrouded in mystery and it is unclear which events have been exaggerated for effect. His appearance in the reality show The Two Corey’s led to the revelation that both Haim and Feldman were molested as young teens and this caused a shocking breakdown in their friendship that was never to be rekindled until Haim’s untimely death. However we look at it, there were a number of factors that contributed to Feldman’s eventual downfall and it is such a shame that his promising career was cut short so suddenly but we should be thankful that he is still alive and well today.
Throughout the nineties he took acting jobs in forgettable B-movies and tv shows and tried to focus his energy into a music career which is surprisingly still going strong. He has recently appeared in two abysmal direct to dvd sequels of The Lost Boys and as much as I would love it, I see no chance of him ever surpassing, or even coming close to, his glory days back in the eighties.
Following on from his role in the Friday 13th: The Final Chapter, Corey landed a part in Joe Dante’s finest creature feature, Gremlins, as Billy’s young charismatic neighbour who joins in the attempts to thwart the Gremlins with a vigour that highlighted the upcoming star’s acting ability. Although no-one could upstage Stripe and his gang of vicious Gremlins, Feldman brings a lot to the film, with the scene where he defends his bedroom window with a catapult being a favourite of mine. This role set the standard for much of Corey’s career as his characters often had a comedic edge, although we did occasionally see a more serious side, especially in his standout performance in Stand by Me
Stand By Me
This poignant coming of age tale now has added resonance due to the untimely death of River Phoenix, and although it will forever be remembered as one of his finest hours, it would be unfair to overlook Feldman’s performance as the unhinged Teddy Duchamp. His portrayal of Duchamp’s inner turmoil is fascinating to watch as the bursts of uncontrollable rage he elicits have a tender edge that is brought to the forefront when his past is mentioned. I can’t imagine any other child actor of the time fitting into that role so well, and it is amazing to think that none of the leads knew each other before coming together to make the film, with each of them providing note perfect performances. Easily Feldman’s best film.
Everyone’s favourite childhood movie still never fails to entertain me, I have even listened to the entire film in the early hours of the morning when I was too intoxicated to work a TV set during the aftermath of a house party and was forced to watch a blank screen. It was still damn good though, thanks in part to Feldman’s witty dialogue as he plays Mouth, one of the key members of a gang of youngsters who unwittingly cross paths with a group of gangsters as they search for lost treasure through a nearby system of caves. The Goonies is a magical film and it helped to cement Feldman’s reputation as a brilliant young actor, and does make you wonder what he could have moved on to if he had stayed on the straight and narrow.
The Lost Boys
This cult classic was where his friendship with Corey Haim began and it is easy to see why the pairing was so well renowned as they had a certain dynamic that worked perfectly on screen. Feldman did not play the main role, but his part as an inexperienced but enthusiastic vampire hunter is highly memorable, bringing some humour to what is at times quite a dark film. It is sad that he has returned to the franchise recently in what could be seen as an attempt to revive his waning acting career but the original will forever be hailed as one of the finest teen vampire movies. Long live the Frog Brothers!
Are you a fan of Corey? Does he deserve a comeback? Comment below…