Written by / 4/10/2016 / No comments / , , , , , ,

CHRIS COLLET FIRSTBORN, PETER WELLER MOVING IN

Peter Weller doesn't trust no one and holds all the cards in FIRSTBORN
One of the best performances by an actor, soon be known as a metallic-robotic cop for the rest of his career after traveling the 8TH DIMENSION, Peter Weller downright nails it as Sam, who is MOVING IN, the original title or some kind of alternate for FIRSTBORN, with a family that has a mother, a youngest son and of course, the oldest, which the real title explains right up front: In the part of Jake, Christopher Collet seems, in a way, sort of related to his "poor me" mom's new nefarious yet at first just sneaky, "bullshit-artist" boyfriend in that both have facial expressions that don't take much dialogue to get across what becomes a similar (and perhaps overused) standoff scenario screaming "I don't like you and you don't like me!" This line, never spoken, could go either way. Both Collet and Weller are facially-intense, bubbling juicy pride and determination from the pours of their skin, with expressions that mount like ticking time bombs, again and again. And never in a film has there been so many people just kind of, standing around. Wherein, surprisingly enough, that's where much of the "action" occurs.

Collet sees through Weller in this lobby card with... the original title?
The house is not any one's ground, really, except the middle-person throughout: Teri Garr's Wendy is a hardworking, heartbroken (from her divorce) single mother who's decided this man will be her boyfriend, and no matter how bad he seems, he loves her, and most importantly, needs her. Collet learns just how much this impulsive Need takes center stage as eventually, Weller's character goes from irritated dreamer into a heavy that, during the third act, has iron-palpable stares made up for by slowburn vehicle chases, and he'll kill if need be i.e. if pushed too far, and Jake doesn't mind pushing. What makes FIRSTBORN better than most teen films of the 1980's is how it looks more brownish-antique to the usually colorful aesthetic the decade is known for, especially since the antagonist has his desperate heart back in the sparse early-70's (hippies or ex-hippies are rarely shown as being negative human beings) as Collet wields a throwback Scott Jacoby quality, and the location is rural and not too busy-suburban, giving the entire film a Western HIGH NOON underbelly.

Autographed by Dr. Robocop 4/09/16
While Garr is vulnerable and effective, as usual, Corey Haim does a great job as the youngest son, an important yet thankless role, speaking what no one has the guts (or is young enough) to say, getting into his own trouble on his own off-screen time, and you can see how talented the later-maligned Haim was, right out of the box, and FIRSTBORN must have given an impression since he played the same type of kid in what would make him famous: THE LOST BOYS, with an older brother bullied around by the spooky plot-line, and a single mom with a new man and...

While Weller's Sam is no vampire, he's quite similar as he comes alive at night after suffering daylong hangovers. Like, for instance, when his shimmering blue eyes are shocked-wide because of... well when Collet's Jake asks if he, Sam, got enough sleep, Sam nods, smiles askew, and does a brilliant fake yawn while nodding "Yes," telling us plenty and making his future "ways of possibly acquiring loads of money" not very shocking as British director Michael Apted, known for woodsy locales, puts everyone within a pot-boiling frying pan where intensity creeps around each and every corner, mostly occurring within a very limited structure and, although we traipse through a shopping mall, all around a high school and the great outdoors, FIRSTBORN needs just those four walls to accomplish its overall riveting, edgy goal.

Robert Downey Jr
RATING: ****
TRIVIA: Robert Downey Jr. plays one of Collet's buddies, a bunch of kids hanging out and goofing off like in ET: THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL, all tossing juvenile one-liners around like a hacky-sack, and he's the same kinda goof who was pals with Keith Gordon in the college satire classic BACK TO SCHOOL starring Rodney Dangerfield: a punk rock mess who makes no sense and isn't very funny, and really has no shape to his face... Downey is one of the rare instances of an actor who not only grew more talented, but better looking as the years went by, despite all the damage done by drugs: unlike Weller's fictional Sam, Downey seemed to benefit from all his past mistakes, somehow... And playing a banal teen friend but with less dialogue is future ALIVE star Josh Hamilton while another soon-to-be famous 80's staple, who would dominate the 90's cable scene, is SQUARE PEGS alumni future SEX AND THE CITY star Sarah Jessica Parker, doing a good job despite her character being, while lovely and genuine, a tad too good a thing for a hero (Collet) who needed more odds stacked to develop • And Collet and the late Corey Haim would turn up in a few years in the cult film dud that is very fun to make fun of and almost impossible to find, exploiting the rollerblade craze and having to do with a made-up drug, taking place (if memory serves) in the future, PRAYER FOR THE ROLLERBOYS, wherein Christopher is the bad guy, Haim the hero • And any Cult Film Freak fans getting a sense of Deja reading this Review, we took a previous glimpse at FIRSTBORN on a LIST of DESERT ISLAND PICKS aka movies to watch if stuck on a desert island aka movies you can see on a loop.
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