Monday, June 7, 2010

The Goonies -- 25 Years Later

Picture it: June 7th, 1985. Ronald Reagan was just six months into his second term as president of the United States. New Coke had just come out and changed the way the world drank soda. The WWF had just had its first ever Wrestlemania. Mikhail Gorbachev was elected president of the Soviet Union. The entire planet was singing along to the massive hit "We Are the World." I was 8 years old. And The Goonies had its world premier in theaters.

The world would never be the same again.

Well, Ronald Reagan came and went. The Soviet Union dissolved. The WWF changed its name to the WWE. Coke quickly got rid of New Coke in favor of Coke Classic. And after breaking records with We Are the World, fan favorite recording artists Dan Akroyd, Yoko Ono, and Kenny Loggins went on to bigger and better things. But the world still needs the Goonies, perhaps now more than ever.

I don't remember if I saw the Goonies exactly on June 7th of that year, but I saw it, as did everybody else in America. And then I saw it again and again and again. This was one of a handful of movies that I rewatched in the theatres more times than I can even remember. And remember that this was a time where you could actually go into a movie with no knowledge of what it was all about. I don't remember having seen any commercials or trailers beforehand, which was pretty common back then because often you could only see trailers for movies while you were in the theater seeing a movie. There was no E! channel back then. There was no youtube. So when I saw the Goonies, it was because it was a birthday party and that was the movie my friend choose.

I still remember when it first started... and you saw the opening logo where that skull and crossbones zooms into the screen. I knew I was in for something special. And from there it just kept getting better and better. This was one of the first "kids" movies that I remember seeing that hit me on a truly emotional level simply because it didn't talk down to the audience. This was a kids movie that actually showed a bunch of kids who were just like me and my friends. They were funny, irreverent, often dirty, and got on each others' nerves. Who didn't want to be one of the Goonies?

The Goonies is the kind of movie that's so good, I can't pick a favorite scene. My favorite scene is every scene, from start to finish. From the moment Jake Frateli breaks out of jail by faking his own suicide (in a kids movie!) to the ending where One-eyed Willy's pirate ship sails off into the sunset, this was just the greatest adventure movie I've ever seen. The actors were wonderful, the script was hilarious, and the sets were amazing. I still think Warner Brothers should open up an underground amusement park where you can go through caverns, ride down water slides, and then enter a secret chamber with a giant Pirate ship. Who wouldn't want to visit that?

And now it's 25 years later, and I still love the Goonies. I still wish I was a pirate. I still value friendship and live to have my time, my time down here. I still believe that at the bottom of every wishing well, there is a gorgeous waterfall where your dreams float for all time. And somewhere at the bottom of that waterfall is my dream that I would someday become a Goonie.

Sure, there are some odd bits here and there that don't add up. How did Willy actually build all those crazy traps? Nobody every really noticed an elaborate system of tunnels, even though a bunch of them had water pipes going through them? What was the deal with Sloth anyway? And were Chunk's parents really ok with the idea of letting him movie in? And what was a pirate doing sailing off the coast of Oregon anyway? 

But whatever. Most of those questions add to this film's charm. It's a fantasy. It's an epic. It's a romance. It's a coming of age story, and not just for the characters, but for the audience and for the world as well. And now it's 25 years later, but it seems like only yesterday, or the blink of Willy's one good eye.

And remember: Goonies never say die.


tep said...

I totally agree. This movie is absolutely ageless. The only thing that makes it better is watching the commentary (all of the Goonies - all grown up).

Justin Garrett Blum said...

That was beautiful.

It's funny how it took Josh Brolin 20 years to make a comeback after this.

Capt naps said...

How come one eyed willy's missing eye was skull?? Like he was actually born with a major deformity that he covered with an eye patch? I figure all other one eyed pirates got thier eyes poked out with a sword or something.

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