So the second season of A&E’s The Two Coreys, assessing the cracked real-life friendship of frequent 1980s big screen costars Corey Feldman and Corey Haim (below left), is underway, and it’s somehow even more of a deliciously awful train wreck than the first go-round. I TiVoed a block of episodes this past weekend and powered through them over lunch one day, boiling out the snow and editing overlaps.
The result is a wince-inducing snapshot of how Hollywood excess puts fragile egos and relationships through the wringer. One of the more jaw-dropping moments comes early on, when a contrived, late-night, face-to-face meeting at a local deli, the first time the pair has seen each other in six months, turns into a game of laid-bare, accusatory/confessional one-upsmanship. Haim lets loose with the best rant, thusly: “You opening up to the world about me having a knife in my pocket, and the reason I wear this (indicating wristband) being to cover some scars I have because I used to cut into myself because it’s a way to feel — you just ripped the envelope, man. So I’ll go you one better. You let me get fucked around in my life, man, raped, so to speak, when I was about 14-and-a-half. And I’m saying this right now — by a guy you used to hang out with. What’d you do when you saw that shit going down and knew about it — besides being his best friend, what’d you do? What’d you do? Fuck all is what you did… lines of cocaine with me. God bless you!”
Rather naturally, one’s mind immediately leaps to Feldman’s very famous “best friend” at the time — singer Michael Jackson. Feldman, who turns 37 on Wednesday, July 16, says that it was his own personal assistant at the time who molested him, and that may well be true, but given sexual predators’ ability to hone in on people who have been previously victimized in their lives, all sorts of creepy questions linger.
The enmity and turbulence on display here is real, just as much as the depth of the original friendship, but of course some of the dressing is for purposes of self-serving pattycake, so Feldman and Haim agree to see a couples therapist together, to help them talk through some of their issues. Apart from learning that the married Feldman hosts poker nights with Matthew Nelson — half of the same-named, ’90s hair-metal-pop band — one also relatively easily gets the feeling that Feldman likes having someone in his life a couple stations beneath him. Perhaps subconsciously, perhaps not. It seems to serve as a measure of positive reinforcement for what he’s accomplished. The harsh truth is that one senses these guys could be sincere, lasting friends again, but never if Feldman were to somehow be “eclipsed” by Haim, either through the latter’s ascension or his own slippage.
Haim picks up on this, on a nonverbal, subconscious level, and it’s often the spark that sets off his powder keg of irrationality. The amount of pain and angsty energy coming off this guy is huuuge, and it warps his decision-making — or at least prevents him from seeing easily forecast possible consequences of his impulsive behavior, like buying an ad of self-touted comeback in Variety. The therapist prescribes Haim a bit of art therapy, and advises him to “paint the pain, not the anger,” the latter emotion of course being tied up in the career that he pissed away. Later episodes find Haim fumbling toward revelation and self-betterment (compiling a lengthy list of people to apologize to, he begins dictating to his assistant thusly: “Todd Bridges, Winona Ryder, Alyssa Milano, Nicole Eggert — just go ahead and put all my ex-girlfriends — Joel Schumacher… probably Richard Donner”), but there’s backsliding during the filming of a cameo in a sequel to Lost Boys, and it’s of the variety that doesn’t give one much immediate hope.
Self-medicating on prescribed anti-anxiety pills, Haim slurs his lines, screws up rehearsal and causes a scene on set. For a while he denies taking any drugs, then cops to having had an extra one the night before filming, to try to settle and center himself. It didn’t work, obviously. And so the shame spiral begins anew, sadly.