Most generations have a group of movies they remember fondly as part of their childhood. For those who grew up in the ’70s, the movie was Grease.
But for people who were young in the ’80s, The Goonies was that movie. Anyone in his or her 20s or late teens revered The Goonies as though it was a hallowed piece of the past.
The Goonies was obviously made with younger kids in mind. It was a whimsical fairy tale/fantasy story, similar to another ’80s favorite, The Princess Bride. The title referred to a group of young kids: the leader Mikey (Sean Astin), overweight uncoordinated Chunk (Jeff Cohen), the appropriately named Mouth (Corey Feldman), and Data (Jonathan Ke Quan), who had all sorts of neat gadgets underneath his trenchcoat.
The Goonies were all best friends, and presumably had gone on lots of adventures together. This was all about to end when a greedy real estate developer was forcing Mikey’s parents to sell their house.
When the boys found a treasure map in Mikey’s attic, they set out on one last-ditch effort to find the treasure and save Mikey’s house. Also joining them for the ride were Mikey’s older brother Brand (Josh Brolin), and two female friends, Andy (Kerri Green) and Stef (Martha Plimpton). Along the line, the group managed to arouse the anger of a family of criminals (Anne Ramsey, Robert Davi and Joe Pantoliano).
They also befriended the horribly disfigured, but mild-mannered Sloth (John Matuszak). The majority of the film took place in a series of underground tunnels, where the group faced loads surprises on the way to the treasure.
The first question that arose was, did this movie deserve the insane amounts of praise it received? The answer was probably no. It was a perfectly good movie, and worthy of watching, but it was not fantastic. Considering the talent involved with it (Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus wrote it, Lethal Weapon’s Richard Donner directed), it probably should have been fantastic, but as it was, it fell short.
The main problem with the movie was it succumbed to something that was all too common in the ’80s: melodrama. There were parts that were entirely too overwrought and should have ratcheted the cheesy music score down a couple of notches. This was a minor quibble, however, considering the movie’s target audience.
Even today, a 10 year old seeing this film for the first time should be quite entertained, which was all The Goonies really aimed to do.
For child actors, these performances were definitely a step above average. Everyone was at least mediocre, and most of these actors have gone on to have eventful careers; namely Sean Astin and Josh Brolin.
The character of Data was a little stereotypical (he mispronounced every word in a heavy Asian accent), but Ke Quan did a good job making him likeable.
The Goonies was certainly a watchable movie. It is mostly recommended for younger kids or those looking to take a trip down memory lane. The movie as a whole had become a big part of pop culture and still has its place in many hearts. As one of the characters suggested, this movie “never says die.”
Chuck DelRoss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org