Updated: Jan 14
Written by Steven Spielberg with Chris Columbus and directed by Richard Donner, 1985's The Goonies chronicles a group of kids who embark on a journey to find a pirate's treasure, based on an old map found in an attic. Their entire neighborhood is scheduled for demolition to become a country club, and the kids' goal is to buy their houses back with the plunder, so they can remain a tightly-knit group. During their exploits, they must survive insidious traps laid out hundreds of years prior by infamous buccaneer One-Eyed Willy. They'll also have to outwit the Fratelli mobster family, who is hot on their trail to the riches.
The film works in no small part due to the believable youthful friendships: Constant bickering is at the forefront of the colorful characters, but it's obvious "The Goonies" would die for each other. The all-star '80s cast includes Corey Feldman, Sean Astin and Josh Brolin.
Last night, contributing writer Luke Worle and I attended a free showing of The Goonies at the Elmira Heights Theater. I'd been there before with my wife to see Psycho, Beetlejuice and other classics. The owner gave us a quick interview.
We arrived half an hour early, and there was already a decent crowd. The movie would end up playing before a packed house.
My best friend Luke used to live near Astoria, Oregon, where The Goonies was set and shot. While we were waiting for the film to start, I asked him to share a bit about his experiences there.
Three years ago, Luke gave me this promotional booklet from Astoria, commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of The Goonies.
As my wife says, "there's a difference between kids' movies and movies about kids." The Goonies blurs that line, with some macabre visuals, sequences of peril and coarse language throughout, while maintaining a good deal of humor and fantasy. The Goonies reminds us that childhood isn't always easy, and sometimes we're forced to grow up faster than we'd otherwise like. If you've never seen this masterpiece, don't wait any longer. It's a sentimental favorite among '80s kids, some of whom brought their children to experience the timeless adventure last night. It was great to watch The Goonies in a live audience; a woman behind us could be heard reciting some parts of the dialog verbatim. Plus, the price couldn't be beat!