If there were to be an underdog in the filing cabinet of my favorite movies, Lucas is it. In 1986, David Seltzer wrote and directed the ageless teenage fairy tale that, in my opinion, is iconic of the high school movie genre and all those that followed in its path to this day. But do not be confused, there is nothing buttered and cheesy here. A simple and yet complicated story is told and this very raw, delicate feeling resonates in you.
Seltzer based the film off his own experiences, and my own father can attest to this, since he went to school with him back in the day. My dad describes Seltzer as incredibly creative, always performing in plays. And also mentions that when he was manager of their high school’s football team, Seltzer would come out and help my dad. “We were too little to be football players, but we all wanted to be a part of it somehow,” my dad says. How much of this can lend its hand to the plot for Lucas, that I’m unsure of, but it makes for a good story.
I’m a big fan of the quiet moments a movie sneaks up on you with, more pertinant than the one-liners and the final scenes: the slow pacing motion of Maggie hitting tennis balls against the court wall as Lucas nonchalantly scores his moment of voyeurism with the sounds of Waltz of Flowers by Tchaikovsky from the tape player in his backpack. In this moment, you know Lucas. You know he’s introspective, attentive, mindful, more knowledgeable than his peers. He’s sort of different, but he doesn’t lack attention, and he knows how to assail being bullied . Oh, Corey Haim. Sigh.
If the movie were real, Charlie Sheen would dump Magpie before the prom, she’d mope around about it for a while, reflecting on how much the politics of high school had changed her. The Sheenster would get back together with Alise (Courtney Thorne-Smith), and there Lucas would be, standing in the wings. Now, maybe by this time Lucas would be contained and broken, less affectionate for breaking out his tape player and serenading his own blissful fantasies. Maggie would really have to work for it, but a part of me really hopes he’d still be there in the end, before the locust come back in 17 years.