There are those movies you grew up with and then there are those movies that made you grow. “The Goonies” came out in 1985 which means I did not see it until I was at least seven or eight years old in the early 90s. My earliest memory of the movie is it scaring the crap out of me. Thanks, Sloth, for the nightmares. As I got older, though, I found the movie to have a strong affect on me as a lover of storytelling.
If you are unawares of the plot of “The Goonies,” it follows a group of four friends (Mikey, Mouth, Chunk, and Data) in Astoria, Oregon searching for the pirate treasure of local legend, One-Eyed Willy, to stop the foreclosure of their homes. Adventure ensues once the Goonies come across a family of criminals who pursue the kids after they learn of the treasure hunt. Throw in hijinks (that’s a fun word to type) and the theme of friendship strengthened by conflict and you’ve got a quality film that is memorable and has become a cult classic from the 80s.
Mikey is the every man we can all relate to; Mouth is the sarcastic butthead who provides the laughs; Chunk is the chubby kid who is scared of everything but finds courage by the end; and Data is the techy of the group who has an affinity for gadgets that don’t always work but when they do, they prove useful to the group. None of these characters feel trapped in a box but have depth that is brought out in their actions and dialogue throughout the film. It’s this friendship that I admire.
Getting our first looks at Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee!) and Josh Brolin (Thanos!), I always feel like we get introduced to the foundation of things to come for “nerd” culture in cinema. “The Goonies” is one of the influences for “Stranger Things” and if you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know how much I love that show. There’s also a Spielberg touch to the film even though it was directed by Richard Donner. You can’t help but wonder how much Indiana Jones was an influence. Iconic continues to be a word I come back to.
My appreciation for this film came much later in life especially after I realized it isn’t as scary as first experienced. Getting past that, I found the humor within the dialogue to be there and quite memorable. There are physical humorous moments as well (slick shoes!) and these play more to younger audiences (like myself when I first saw the movie). It’s in the dialogue that I think the film holds up beyond the “children’s appeal”. It’s a dark film that I think I would hesitate to show my son until I deem him old enough and able to handle the content. I would not hesitate however to watch it with him and get his thoughts on everything from the sense of mystery/adventure, the scarier elements, and the friendships of the Goonies themselves. I look forward to this day, in fact. He may never appreciate it as much as I do, but I can hope, hahaha!
Call to Action: Seriously, I don’t know how you could not enjoy this film if you grew up in the 80s. But if you hear the word “goonies” and you wretch, I hope you’ll clean up and check it out again with some friends. You never know, your tastes may have changed.