MOTW: "The Goonies:" One of the Best Blasts from the Past

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Following a mysterious treasure map that leads into a spectacular underground realm of twisting passages, outrageous booby-traps and a long-lost pirate ship full of golden dubloons, the kids race to stay one step ahead of a family of bumbling bad guys... and a mild-mannered monster with a face only a mother could love. Richard Donner directs and co-produces a screenplay written by Chris Columbus from a story by Steven Spielberg.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
November 11th, 2013

MOTW: "The Goonies:" One of the Best Blasts from the Past

When "The Goonies" was released in 1985, it got mixed reviews from critics, who said it was a good movie for kids but not so good for adults. Despite some negative reviews, "The Goonies" went on to become one of the highest-grossing movies of the year. Over time, as the movie was played on cable television, "The Goonies" cemented its place in the hearts of those who saw it as children in the theater and found new fans who discovered it while watching along with friends and family. This crazy story of a group of friends on an adventure to save their neighborhood has become a cult classic, a favorite of children of the 1980s, and definitely one of the best movies of its time. "The Goonies" is a favorite among '80s movies for many reasons, and the following—in no particular order—are some of the most important.

It's notreallya kids' movie, just a movie about kids. One of the things about "The Goonies" that makes it so relatable to children of all ages and across decades is that the main characters are really just a group of regular kids. Sure, these kids are on an adventure that only Steven Spielberg could dream up, but they come across as normal and real. The group includes a fat kid and a nerd whose inventions almost never work, and none of the gang is really cool in any traditional way except the cheerleader. Mikey, the character who drives the story, is an asthmatic who never lives up to his big brother. We all know kids like this, or were kids like this, so it's easy and fun to watch them on their quest.

Another reason is the Truffle Shuffle. In this world of political correctness, many people appreciate being able to look back into the world of 1985, when it was okay to laugh at the fat kid. The Truffle Shuffle is one of the funniest moments on film. Chunk's belly-wiggling dance has gone on to become one of the most loved scenes in "The Goonies," has been recreated in Internet memes, and even won itself a reference on "Family Guy." It was that funny.

The fat kid and the disfigured guy are the heroes. Only in the universe that was 1985 would Sloth and Chunk be the heroes of the film who save the day. More importantly, if "The Goonies" was made today, there probably wouldn't even be a Sloth or Chunk. The idea of a physically and emotionally abused person who is also disfigured andmentally disabled would never make it to the silver screen today, but in the '80s, it totally worked. Chunk knew what it was like to be humiliated by his peers and knew the power of a pocketful of candy bars. If it weren't for Chunk having the presence of mind to try to overlook Sloth's appearance and strike up a conversation, the Goonies may have never made it out of that cave. While most fat kids in movies serve only as walking punch lines, Chunk is the man in "The Goonies." Sloth, the third Fratelli brother, breaks his chains to save the day and goes from abused castoff to hero in one day. Sloth is also the one who delivers the most memorable line in a movie full of memorable lines: "Hey you guys!"

"The Goonies" never had a sequel. Even without huge merchandizing tie-ins, spinoffs, or sequels, the Goonies has lived on in the hearts and minds—and on the basic cable channels—of the kids who fell in love with it along the way. Perhaps because "The Goonies" has escaped our society's need to run everything good into the ground, this cult classic remains the only movie that tells the story of the Goon Docks kids. Rumors of a sequel have circulated for several years now, and at least two cast reunions have been held (Chunk grew up to be a thin lawyer but will probably still do the Truffle Shuffle if you ask), but for now, the Goonies is a singular phenomenon. Whenever a movie is as successful as "The Goonies," people in Hollywood will always talk about a sequel, mostly to make more money from loyal fans. Making a sequel to "The Goonies" would only tarnish the fond memories so many have of this classic film. So much of it is unique to the '80s and could never be reproduced, and die-hard fans can continue to hope no one ever tries.