After Stand By Me came out, to which my sister and I sobbed uncontrollably at with every viewing during the epilogue, River Phoenix officially became my second beloved heart throb. The first being Corey Feldman, who even people who find his has been realty TV career and excruciating impersonations to be awful, have to admit he was pretty darn charming in, especially for a seven year old girl with a soft spot for smart asses.
But Phoenix was something different. More serious, more brooding, and he quickly overshadowed Feldman (who also stars in Stand By Me) with his kind and deep soul, a kindness and deepness, I have to admit was lost to me as a kid when he was pudgier in The Explorers, where I failed to begin my crush on him.
Of course as well all know Phoenix met his untimely death far too early, just as he was really beginning to shine as a talented actor. His best role, in my opinion was My Own Private Idaho, which hinted at the kind of unique choices he would have been likely to make later in his career.