Monday, December 2, 2013

Good Girl Goes Bad

Full disclosure: I'm a Good Girl. Always have been. Always will be. I can't do bad if I try.

Well, I'm not even sure if that's true, because I've never actually tried to be bad. It's just not in my DNA.

Make no mistake, back in high school there were lots of temptations, some of which I've written about here on Honestly YA, like this choice episode. But in retrospect, even those uh, mishaps, weren't all that naughty. And most of the boys I ended up tangling with where pretty decent guys on the whole. Nice guys. Good guys. The kind of guys who stopped when you asked them to, even after they'd had a few beers themselves.

And now that I think about it, most of them were soccer players. Though I'm not sure whether that means anything.

But maybe it does. None of them were delinquents. They all had after school jobs or extracurricular activities that kept them out of trouble. And, despite the fact that I grew up on Long Island in the 80s, none of them drove a Trans Am.
And absolutely none of them looked like these guys:
Poison
Motley Crue
Because if I'd brought home one of these dudes, my mother would have thrown him out on the porch right after she'd held him down and shaved his head.

So I stuck to the Good Boys. Even in my entertainment choices. This guy?
I thought he was a total dirt bag. Sure he had a troubled past and an abusive family, and blah blah blah, but he smoked pot, looked like a slob, and ew, hadn't washed his hair in like, forever. And he was totally going to ruin Claire and her reputation.

And this guy?
Complete sociopath.

Even Danny Zucko was gross with all that Vitalis or whatever it was in his hair. And let's be honest, he wasn't exactly the brightest halogen in the lamp.
I'm not gonna lie, the occasional Bad Boy may have piqued my interest, especially if he was an Outsider.
But even "Do it For Johnny"gets a little old after awhile.

Until...

One Bad Boy captured my heart on film and then tragically, crushed it in real life.
Even as I write this, twenty years after his passing, my heart's squeezing a little. I first noticed him in Stand By Me. As Chris Chambers, he was tough and damaged but also caring and supportive of his friends. He made sure they all got back from seeing the dead guy safe and sound.
Then there was The Mosquito Coast, Running on Empty, and My Own Private Idaho. Plus a bunch more including an Indiana Jones movie. Heck, I even loved him in Sneakers.
No matter what role he played, no matter how damaged or alienated, there was depth in those soulful, Bad Boy eyes. A sensitivity that made you want to reach out and save him from whatever horrible demons were after him.

Sadly, when it mattered most, no one caught him before he fell. And there were so many movies he didn't make. Loves he never had. Which just makes me sad. For him and for all of us because of all the great performances we never got to experience.

Maybe if he'd been one of those Good Boys he'd still be among us. But I'm guessing he wouldn't have been nearly as appealing.

So, here's to the one Bad Boy who managed to thaw my uptight, Good Girl's heart. I hope they've got a movie studio in heaven and that your name's at the top of every marquee.

So what about you, readers? Who's your favorite cinematic Bad Boy? Did River do it for you, too, or is there another boy out there destined to break your heart?

~Lea

Lea Nolan is the author of Conjure and Allure the first two books in the Hoodoo Apprentice Series. The final installment, Illusion, will release in 2014. Chat her up on Twitter or on Facebook.

2 comments:

Kimberly said...

Oooooh, Lea, this post brought tears to my eyes. I wish River Phoenix could read it. :-) I completely understand! When I happen upon STAND BY ME, it always brings a tear to my eye. All those What Ifs.
I've only had a thing for bad boys in film or in books--never in real life. I saw firsthand how those bad boys grow up to be alcoholic and abusive men. Nope. Not for me.
As soon as I saw a guy pick up a cigarette, I would walk away. The cigarette pack in the rolled up white t-shirt--Rebel Without a Cause, Outsiders, Grease--never appealed to me.
It's still a damn shame about River after all these years. Truly....;-(
Great post!

Jo Ramsey said...

Great post, Lea. I was never a big River Phoenix fan, but his life definitely ended tragically too soon.

My 11th grade boyfriend was a total bad boy... to the point that he broke up with me to protect me from him! Seriously, he actually said, "I'm not good enough for you, you deserve better." 27 years later, we're still friends...

Cinematically, I have to say I loved John Bender. Even if he was going to ruin Claire's reputation. (I went to school with a ton of Claires... I thought she deserved it!) And the aforementioned 11th grade boyfriend signed my senior yearbook with "We'll miss you at the Breakfast Club; can I still be John Bender? Please???"