Thursday, July 9, 2009

"The Lost Boys" - So good, I'll keep it short(ish)

"Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never Die. It's fun to be a vampire." - poster tagline
Michael and his younger brother Sam are moving to Santa Carla (Santa Cruz by a different name). Their mother, Lucy, just got divorced and has decided they'll live in her dad's huge house for a while. The boys hate being uprooted, they're annoyed that they're moving to the sticks, and they're shocked that Grandpa doesn't have a TV. (That is totally bogus)

What they soon learn: in Santa Carla you won't die from boredom.You'll die from things that pluck you up into the sky and kill you as you run, or fight, or scream.

"Bummer, dudes," to say the least.

My love for "The Lost Boys" inspires brevity. I've seen it in a theater, and loved the whole ride; I always will. Hell, I want nothing more than to walk by those subway posters, then buy a ticket! My kingdom for an 80's time machine.

This is a fun and exciting horror film, an 80's popcorn classic that still holds up. Most folks enjoy this movie, and for good reason: the pic is divided between laughable childishness (the "tough gang" steals a comic book) and full-on horror (the screams, everyone is in danger). The shifts, along with the urgency of all the roles' feelings - it cements all the teen angst.

"The Lost Boys," with its 76% on RT," works so well because it taps into the ridiculous stuff that is such a big deal to its characters. The picture reaches its audience because they're either in that age group, or they're relating to it while the story carries them along. Curfew? An annoying little brother? Some jerk gets aggro cause a girl's flirting with you?

Oh, and the entire "becoming a vampire thing" is a pretty neat metaphor for teen angst. You wear shades, sleep in, and don't open up to anybody. Mike's mom thinks her eldest is just going through a tough time, between his age and the move; despite her wise and friendly assurances, she really can't understand what he's going through.

Jason Patric brings a solid intensity to Michael. He sells the film's intentional parallel between becoming a vampire and being a teen; both involve going through unwanted changes and scarcely knowing what's happening to you. Corey Haim's Sam is the perfect snarky-yet-loyal little brother. Dianne Wiest (Lucy) brings her usual weakness-and-strength to a role that still seems a surprising choice. Everyone here is just fine.

Most of the praise, however, has to fall on Kiefer Sutherland. With only a handful of films under his belt, Kiefer shines in the role of David, the lead antagonist. David is charismatic, menacing, and playful - and he does it with about 30 lines of dialogue, all brief (8 words or less). Since he was so young and is still the most memorable character in the film, this is quite an accomplishment.

Things to point out: the toughest gang on the boardwalk steals comic books! A singer looks like Glenn Danzig, but belts out sensitive lyrics and plays a sax. Sam keeps a poster in his bedroom of Rob Lowe in aerobics wear! Corey Haim and Corey Feldman meet, birthing a horrible/beautiful collaboration. And "Bill" - from "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" - is one of the vamps.

I wish there was a booth where 6 friends could take this pic.

Of course, these days, I can't help but briefly compare the film to "Twilight." I have contempt for latter, but I still notice that both movies can look like "teen romance novels." In the  case of "TLB," it's just guy-centric. The brooding, misunderstood cool guy rolls into a sucky new town with his family baggage (real people, not his problems).

Michael is challenged, and he goes for it. He fights off every challenge to his love with a dangerous but pretty girl - someone older and mysterious, with a dark and deadly past. Once everything he cares about is put on the line, he gets himself in gear and helps save the day. Yeah, that's a boy's "teen romance novel." I can see that.

The point is, this movie makes you feel like you're living a few weeks in the lives of some incredibly fun people who get up to all sorts of pulse-pounding, hysterical, impressive action. It all works, and you should revere this story.

If director Joel Schumacher were ever prosecuted for crimes against film (two painful "Batman" flicks, "8MM"), his defense should start with this great picture. He might get a pass for this alone.

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