Friday, June 18, 2010

Review: The Goonies (1985)

Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Jonathon Ke Quan

"OK! I'll talk! In third grade, I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max's toupee and I glued it on my face when I was Moses in my Hebrew School play. In fifth grade, I knocked my sister Edie down the stairs and I blamed it on the dog... When my mom sent me to the summer camp for fat kids and then they served lunch I got nuts and I pigged out and they kicked me out... But the worst thing I ever done - I mixed a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then, t-t-then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa - and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, this was horrible, all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life."

Childhood wonder and fascination permeate the entire essence of The Goonies. I don't know how I missed this one along with Ghostbusters growing up, but I am forever kicking myself for it. What a great piece of cinema. There's just nothing wrong with this. It is an adventure as idealistic, scrappy, fun and just straight up heartwarmingly great as can be. A group of young boys in an about-to-be-mowed-down neighborhood in the 80s go searching for a lost treasure to pay for their house so they don't have to move.

And thus...a great adventure is birthed.

I am at a loss for words at how to review this - what is there to criticize? I love everything about it. It is a relic to a time long past. A monument to a fleeting glimpse of childhood about to be destroyed - and thus, inspiring the most passion out of every single character. Truly, it is a spirited adventure on all counts. Watch as they trek through the smoky, faded looking "goonies" toward the underground caverns that await them. The bad guys try to catch them, but that turns on them when young Chunk frees the brutish Sloth, the mentally retarded and deformed superman who they were keeping in captivity away from the world.

Just go with it.

If I had to pick a favorite scene...well, I'm torn between the piano scene where they have to play the right notes to get out of the room (just wonderful, really), and all of the final scenes on the pirate ship. Young Mikey is hindered by his asthma, but has he found a kindred spirit in One Eyed Willy, long dead for centuries and eluding capture for even longer? The adventure comes to an explosive close.

Really, this has everything you could ever want - pirate ships, nail-biting chases, interesting puzzles, hilarious and relatable characters and that good old 80s spunk, so perfected here that it might as well be trademarked. It is a film that made me feel alive again after a long period of stagnation, and for that, it gets my highest recommendation...but you don't need that. You've probably already seen it.