The Goonies (1985)

the goonies movie poster

Editors Note: I apparently wrote a review of this movie, then immediately went back and wrote a second one.  Posted both of them.  My guess is that the second part was unintentional – that I wrote the first one, but didn’t like the draft yet accidentally posted it. Then the next day went to rewrite it, probably couldn’t find it in my drafts and wrote a new one from scratch.  Or something like that.  Yesterday I reposted the old one without realizing this one existed.  I guess I make bonehead moves over and over again.  I think it is fascinating to compare the two as I used some of the same language, but also changed quite a bit. 

Come back with me to a time of innocence and fun. Let’s all go back to my childhood when movies were watched for entertainment. When I didn’t have to dissect hidden meanings and write about the symbolism or depth of a film. When I wasn’t a critic, but an audience member. Jump into my DeLorean and set the date for the 1980s.

It is a time when you could count on jokes about getting kicked in the nads, plot lines weren’t important, and you could always count on a good action figure to play with after the end credits. There was always a musical montage, you knew not to feed the mysterious animals after midnight, and a red Ferrari was your ride when you cut class.

Simple tasks such as fixing breakfast, or opening a gate became immensely difficult by using everyday items as complex machinery. If you were good, you could incorporate a ball (preferably bowling). It was a time when a small boy named Jonathan Ke Quan ruled the world.

I suppose I must admit that there were some very serious films made in the 1980s, but I was a child then and I didn’t see any of those films until much later. For me, it was a time of action, adventure, and plenty of buttered popcorn.

One of my favorite movies from the time is The Goonies. It’s a perfect movie of the 80s, what with the high adventure, the pirate gold, a steaming heap full of Jonathan Ke Quan, and bloody mother f’ing Sloth. Nothing beats Sloth.

Watching it again I am amused by the fact that the Goonies aren’t explained in any way. There is no background to how the club was formed or what even a Goony (or is the singular Goonie?) is exactly. And they don’t have to. As a kid I didn’t need a back story, they were the Goonies and that’s all I needed to know. I wanted to be a Goony, and I had many a pretend adventure going after the rich stuff.

The plot – O’ the glories of the plot – concerns an entire neighborhood that is about to be turned into a golf course. It seems the golf course people have managed to evict every single person in the neighborhood at the same time due to a lack of funds. For if only one family could come up with the extra funds then they could tell the golfers to buzz off.

Never mind that the neighborhood seems to be made up of middle-class suburbanites or that none of them can manage to pay this mysterious amount of money (mortgage?). How a pile of jewels manages to take care of everything isn’t exactly explained either.

But that’s getting caught up in the plot, and that’s never the point with a good 80’s flick. The Goonies – a group of misfit teens (and I mean that in the totally 80’s kind of way, and not the post-Columbine psychotic meaning of the term) – find a treasure map leading to pirate booty. They have many an adventure finding the treasure and are followed by the Fratelli crime family. Of course, the Goonies find the treasure and save the neighborhood, but like so many things in life, it’s the journey that really counts.

Along the way, we are treated to glorious action, romance, comedy, and of course, a moral involving teamwork and acceptance – even acceptance of a grotesque-looking monster man dubbed Sloth.

Sloth – the greatest of all 80’s characters – is a deformed giant and a member of the Fratelli family. The chubby Goony – kindly named in 80s cinematic glory as Chunk – is captured and thrown in with Sloth. We are all petrified as to what this hideous creature is going to do, only to find a moral in the monster with a heart of gold.

Critics will scoff at the The Goonies plot holes, cheesy effects, and overall silliness. But if you’ll step back a moment in time with me you might find a wonderful slice of nostalgia, and a little bit of fun in a movie meant to do nothing more than entertain.

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