Never has an adventure quite been so exciting for Mikey ( the enthusiast), Data (the Asian inspector gadget), Mouth ( the cheeky one) and Chunk ( the chubby one who’s always hungry) that make up the Goonie gang.
Facing foreclosure of their homes ” shut up my dad will fix it, it won’t happen”, where a country club is going to be made, is enough to dampen any ones mood. For the kids ( around 12-13) it’s plain boring as they attempt to reunite for one last weekend of fun.
When they hear Mikeys dad has a collection of antiques to send to the museum, they stumble across a map that presumably leads to the fortune of a pirate named one- eyed Willie. They are sceptical at first since no one has ever retrieved such treasure but “what if this map could lead us to one- eyed willies treasure. What if ? “
On their bikes they ride with the map and a 1632 doubloon (type of coin) to guide them, eventually reaching an offshore restaurant where they run into the Fratellis who ‘welcome’ them harshly into their run down diner which likes to stand out for its charcoal burnt effect ( very chic(!) and has a very limited menu of tongue as the crook of a woman grabs hold of a boy and edges her knife ” you boys like tongue ? “ which would give anyone the creeps.
Evading the criminals they find the restaurant has a hidden tunnel and find the remains of a previous explorer, knowing that what lies ahead of them can only take them on a dangerous journey to try and make it out alive and in one piece. Children really shouldn’t play with dead things.
What’s remarkable about this movie is that Spielberg had taken a different approach to the innocent kids that we would usually find adorable in his movies. These kids talk like they mean buisness and like to play by an unusual kind of rule in comparison to the ‘shy’ kids who once went exploring with an E.T.
These kids are certainly charming but they aren’t so gullible to fall for some sweet treats in exchange for behaving themselves. These are hard-core boys living life to their best and with different traits that make up the team, it’s refreshing to watch a movie that’s more than just kids play.
It’s enjoyable for its witty dialogue and memorable for that reason. When Mikeys mum ( Mrs. Walsh) brings home a Spanish helper who doesn’t understand English, Mouth certainly wants to brush up on those foreign skills and do his part to help out as he has expertly learnt and translates purposely for her: (Mrs Walsh): “pants and shirts..oh just throw everything into cardboard boxes, can you translate all that? “
“For sure Mrs. Walsh”.
(In Spanish Mouth translates) ” The Marijuana goes in the top drawer. The cocaine and speed go in the second drawer. And the heroine goes in the bottom. Always separate the drugs”.
In another moment Chunk, who is very clumsy with anything he touches, accidentally breaks off the penis of a statue in Mikeys house. Mikey rushes over to examine the damage yelling ” that was my mom’s favourite piece”, to which Mouth remarks “you wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t”. Such charming kids wouldn’t you say (!)
It is these iconic scenes that are some of the reasons the dialogue makes such a huge difference than watching another ‘cute’ movie that only has room for the kids. It brings out so much character to make you want to live the adventure for yourself.
The adventure itself reminded me of Indiana Jones for obvious reasons as they embark in a cave full of booby traps and meet more dead people than they ever should, whilst an old woman and her sons are after them for the treasure too. “ Trust your mother boys..throw her in a four -wheel drive and hold onto your hats!”. It also has the essence of the swashbuckling adventures of Tom Sawyer and the vibrancy of Peter Pan.
I admire that the kids have not been put into the shoes of another ‘Disney kid’ who is too afraid to know about the ‘bees and the birds’ and is expected to be shut off from the gritty nitty aspects of the real world where kids are far less underestimated. Of course that isn’t to say let’s get all the kids to act like the embodiment of a foul mouth adult, but as a personal taste, movies that are aimed at both us and the kids seem more pleasing to watch. It’s why I can watch Home Alone on repeat.
Here, the Goonie kids are acknowledged for their distasteful use of language that is light heartedly used without being too offensive or vulgar which i respect and liked. It’s those silly moments that make realistic parents gasp “don’t say that word”!
For its time kids weren’t seen as bold, as daring with their speech so this really became a big step forward In creating a movie, where children were both seen and heard loud and clear that capture the heart of the kids as well the minds of an adult.
Meanwhile the movie still allows the kids to be kids having an adventure whilst taking on the roles of semi adulthood because saying ‘oh shit’ and knowing sexual innuendos is perfectly ‘normal’ for a pre -teen.(I think).
It’s what makes it more authentic, more real and a lot more fun. At the same time, they aren’t afraid to let loose as kids often misbehave as such, whilst understanding and maintaining a strong bond of friendship between each other.
They realise their parents have money issues and they know far more than adults can often be blind to. ” our parents, they want the best of stuff for us. But right now they got to do what’s right for them. Down here, it’s our time”.
Watching this movie also made me miss my own adventures as a young child of around five when I would venture with my cousins calling ourselves ‘the famous five’ where we would pretend to explore hidden paths on our casual visits to the Aquarium, zoo, park and anywhere else. Me being the tiniest trying to always catch up behind the rest and getting rather lost at times.
The high energised performance that all the actors give to this movie is thrilling to watch and everything about the movie is to be loved for. It has the likeability you can’t resist watching time after time. Make way Mr.Jones! the Goonies are here to stay and their good enough!
Credits : Movie poster artwork by David Peacock
Directed by Richard Donner
Written by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Sean Austin, Corey Feldman, Jeff Cohen, Jonathan Ke Huy Quan, Josh Brolin and others
Music by : Dave Grusin
Other honourable mentions from 1985 that I love:
Back to the Future – Directed by Robert Zemeckis.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome – Directed by George Miller and George Ogilvie.