The Goonies
1985
A group of misfit children discovers a pirate-treasure map and embarks on a journey to find the riches in this beloved 1980s classic. Along the way, they battle curmudgeonly crooks and squabble with one another in their quest for fortune.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

For a 30-year-old guy who loves movies so much as an adult, I sure missed a lot of them when I was a kid, especially the classics of my generation. No Star Wars. No Tron. No E.T., at least that I remember. The list goes on and on. I caught up to most of these over the years, but one of the biggest titles always eluded me. For a while, it was fun to get the universal reaction from people, "You've never seen the Goonies?!" But recently the time came to fill in that hole from my childhood.

It's good, of course, but what's the point of saying so? Everyone my age has seen it countless times, and everyone else either bothered to catch up with it at some point, or didn't. What it feels like to finally see The Goonies after all these years is what it must feel like to lose one's virginity later in life: You feel normal now, and while of course the experience itself was anticlimactic after years of doing without, it still makes your heart race and you see why everybody likes it so much.

Man, I would have loved this movie when I was 7. Pirates and crooks and treasure and traps! This is about as much fun as kid movies get, by a filmmaker who had a string of really good ones up until Hook. It doesn't have the power and thematic depth of E.T. or even Poltergeist, but for a movie that aspires only to be great entertainment, it's a big success, like a giddy, wide-eyed trip on a roller coaster with your friends. This is pure fun.

And it couldn't be made today, at least not the same way. Spielberg's clout let him put in the swear words that reflect the way kids really talk to each other, but no studio today would risk the diminished returns of a PG-13 by including that kind of language. The fat kid wouldn't get picked on as much, and the Asian kid wouldn't be allowed to stumble over his pronunciation of English, for fear of protests by sensitivity groups. These days, brainy Martha Plimpton would be the coveted girl instead of pretty Kerri Green. The explosions would be bigger CGI effects, and Sloth would be much more twisted and gritty. That's not to say that a Goonies made today couldn't be plenty good in its own right, just that this film is a relic of a different age.

I'm glad to have finally made its acquaintance. This feels like reaching back through the years and shaking hands with my seven-year-old self. I'm wise enough to know that this isn't about me wanting to be him again. This has always been about him wanting to grow up and be me. Like The Goonies, becoming who I am has been worth the wait.

− January 18, 2009 • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

Aaron Shurtleff: FINALLY! Now all my "HEY YOU GUYS!!!!" and "Rocky..road?" references won't go over your head! :) − January 29, 2009 • more by Aaron

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