I just finished watching Lifetime’s first “big” film of the year, A Tale of Two Coreys, and I am probably just as shocked as anyone to say, “It wasn’t bad.”
In fact, I would even say that it was pretty good.
Shocking, I know.
A Tale of Two Coreys, of course, is a film about the tumultuous friendship between actors Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. They were stars in the 80s and outcasts by the 90s. They were infamous for their struggles with drugs and all the other demons that come with being famous at a young age. Eventually, Feldman ended up in the direct-to-video dungeon while Haim found himself essentially unemployable. Somewhat inevitably, they eventually found themselves reunited via reality television. Corey Haim died in 2010, at the age of 38. After his death, Feldman announced that, at the height of their stardom, both he and Haim were victimized by Hollywood pedophiles.
Over the past few years, Lifetime has aired several celebrity biopics and a few “unauthorized” movies about the behind-the-scenes drama on TV shows like Saved By The Bell, Full House, and Beverly Hills 90210. With the exception of the 90210 movie, none of them have been particularly memorable. Too often, they promised the “true story,” just to deliver a watered down version of what everyone already knew. Combine that with some questionable casting choices and you’ll understand why veteran Lifetime watches often roll their eyes when Lifetime announces another celebrity biopic.
Somehow, A Tale of Two Coreys manages to escape the Lifetime biopic curse.
Now, just to make clear, A Tale Of Two Coreys does not name names. There’s a scene in which a Hollywood executive leads Corey Haim (played, as a teenager, by Justin Ellings) into a trailer but the man is never identified by name and the scene is shot in such a way that we don’t even get a clear look at his face. Later, both Feldman (played, as a teen, by Elijah Marcano) and Haim discuss some of the new “friends” that they’ve acquired since becoming stars. Again, no names are dropped but it’s not hard to read between the lines. It’s not until they’re adults and reality show co-stars that Feldman (now played by Scott Bosely) and Haim (Casey Leach) discuss what happened to them when they were younger.
Of course, famous people do pop up throughout the film. Brandon Howard plays Michael Jackson in two scenes. Jennifer Peo plays Carrie Fisher, who is seen telling Feldman to get off the drugs. If you watch carefully, an actor playing Tom Hanks shows up in the background of one scene. He doesn’t get any lines but he certainly does get annoyed with Feldman.
The film continually returns to the theme that both Feldman and Haim were, essentially, dropped into the middle of Hollywood without any supervision. Feldman’s parents (Ashley Scott and Patrick Muldoon) are portrayed as being leeches, more concerned with the money that Feldman could bring than Feldman’s mental or emotional health. On the other hand, Haim’s parents (Paula Lindberg and Brian Huskey) are portrayed as being loving but hopelessly naive about the world that their son has entered. The end result is that neither set of parents were there to provide any sort of guidance to their children.
It’s a deeply melancholy portrait of fame with Haim and Feldman quickly going from being innocent children to jaded, coke-snorting adolescents to eventually becoming adults who still haven’t come to terms with past. Admittedly, their stardom was a little before my time so I can’t really attest as to whether the film is a hundred percent accurate but director Steven Huffacker kept the story moving at a steady and tragically inevitable pace and all four of the actors who played Feldman and Haim did a good job of bringing their characters to life.
All in all, it was a surprisingly good film.