the_goonies.jpgThere are quite a few kid movies that came out in the 80s. Many of them were purely fantastical (1984’s Neverending Story) and felt as if they were never in the realm of possibility. One film, however, combined Indiana Jones style adventure and light-heartededness with the fantastical nature of other films of the decade.

The Goonies (1985) is about a group of kids living in the Goon Docks (and therefore are called “goonies”) who find out that developers are going to level the area and put in a Golf Course. When all hope is lost, Mikey (Sean Astin) finds a treasure map in his attic. Without further ado, he and his friends, Data (Jonathan Ke Quan), Mouth (Corey Feldman), and Chunk (Jeff Cohen) all leave to find the treasure of the pirate “One-Eyed” Willy. Mikey’s older brother, Brand (Josh Brolin), his girlfriend Andy (Kerri Green), and her friend Stef (Martha Pimpton) also join on the quest, wanting to save the Goon Docks and the Goonies.

The film has non-stop adventure. Chunk is captured at the beginning by the Fratellis, the developers who want to stop the kids from meddling. He is put in a chamber with the deformed Fratelli brother Sloth, but the two become friends and find a way to escape. There are booby traps as well as natural dangers galore in the subterranean caverns. Data constantly gets the group out of trouble with his gadgets, but he can’t stop the Fratellis, who are in hot pursuit of the gang. Then, when they all finally reach the pirate ship, something amazing happens – after nearly four centuries, the ship is still able to sail and the Goonies are able to claim all the treasure.

It is, without a doubt, an adolescent (boy) movie. It has all of the classic adventure movie schtick: damsel in distress, flirtatious romance, treasure beyond all wildest dreams, pirates, the befriended outcast who saves the day, people nearly falling off of ledges, trip-wire traps, and an impossible happy ending.

Even though most of the movie’s devices can be seen coming from a mile away, the audience might still wait with baited breath to see if Chunk gets caught, Mikey makes it across the ledge, Brand’s muscles hold out, Data’s contraptions work, the Fratellis actually catch up, and so on and so forth. The cliches are a dime-a-dozen, but that doesn’t stop the movie from doing them and it certainly doesn’t stop us from enjoying them.

It’s pretty obvious director Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon 1-4), screenwriter Chris Columbus (Gremlins, Little Nemo, director of Harry Potter, Night at the Museum), and principal writer Steven Spielberg had the audience in mind, or the film probably would have been a monstrous flop. As it was, it grossed $61 million for the year and was in the U.S. top 10 grossing pictures of 1985. It worked hard for its audience, pulling out all the tricks, and ended up being a cult classic. It is certainly all good fun, and is worth seeing at least once – so you can say you’ve seen everything.

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