Slate Reel: Lucas (1986)
Something light and feel-good for this month – Lucas is a film most would not consider as blockbuster, but it certainly has become sort of a minor cult classic for teen movies. Perhaps because of its small unique shifts of conventional teen movie stereotypes or how many of its characters became huge stars; but no matter what it is, the film deserves a call-out this month because of its simple premise and its bespectacled hero.
As in many young teen films go, Lucas centers on an exceptionally intelligent but socially inept 14-year old who is smitten by a girl called Maggie, who only sees him as a friend. This Maggie has her eye on the captain of the football team, Cappie, played by Charlie Sheen, who also becomes sort of Lucas’ protector. A girl best friend on the side is not one to be absent and in this film, she comes in the form of a young Winona Ryder named Rina. The film features a love square (or maybe even a love pentagon if you include Cappie’s ex Alise), with the backdrop of young love and high school insecurities.
However, what makes this 1986 film extra special is Lucas himself, not to mention the droll clever lines he spews out.
“If you’re so depressed, how come you’re eating pizza?”
” I guess everybody has their own idea of fun. Some people go to football games. Other people do less superficial things. “
Lucas is the stereotypical nerdy outcast in high school, but he’s not one to submit and complain about his status. Despite the insults and occasional bullying he receives from the football jock-bullies, he seems to like who he is, and does not mind being different. He does not keep his head down or lurk in the shadows or drown in insecurity as most conventional geeks do. Despite being tormented by bullies, or put in the eternal friend zone by the girl of his dreams, Lucas has enough courage and guts to talk back, fight back, and show everyone that he can do whatever they think he cannot. In the end, he proves exactly what he says in the movie: You can’t ever make me quit, EVER!
Watch the trailer of Lucas here.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to mention that this often overlooked film introduced many a notorious personalities such as Corey Haim, Charlie Sheen, Winona Ryder, Kerri Green, Courtney Thorne-Smith, and Jeremy Piven.