Experiencing the 1980s as an elementary-age child, I was not alone in wanting to be a Goonie. Many of us did. The first time I saw the film, I was 9 and a friend had just got the movie on VHS which was cool then. It was a rainy day and – because there just wasn’t anything else to do – we watched. And I was mesmerized.
The Goonies is a thrill and a half. A group of children find a forgotten map and some clues, and set out on a treasure hunt in hopes of finding riches – the means to save their small seaside neighbourhood – from land developers.
There are attics and artifacts. There’s Lawrence “Chunk” Cohen and his Truffle Shuffle. There are BMX bikes and ocean side hikes. There are hideouts and bad guys, bats and blenders. There’s the odd but gentle giant in the basement. There’s a dead guy in the freezer .. But that’s another story. There’s booby traps and caves, chases and skeletons, pitfalls of death and wild water slides. There’s a secret grotto and a giant octopus. There are pirates and – (as I’ve read) a true-to-life size pirate ship – built to scale by the movie’s set makers just for the film. There are rubies and emeralds and diamonds. And a happy ending.
The film, I would argue better than many others, captured the1980s perfectly. It also captured the essence of what childhood, friendships, imagination and adventure was all about. And it had a superb score and soundtrack – who doesn’t love “(Goonies Are) Good Enough”??
It was a few years ago that I got married, and got to thinking of the way I’d like to mark this (final) passage into adulthood: I chose to live out a dream and finally undertake my own Goonies adventure for my honeymoon.
Thankfully, I have a spouse who subscribed to the view this was a good idea.
Off to Oregon we went. It is a phenomenal state, particularly for outdoor enthusiasts. Majestic coastline and inspiring views. I visited Astoria, Oregon and the Walsh’s house and Data’s blue house still right next door. The current owners of both recognizing the significance of where it is they call home, have placed a sign at the bottom of their mutual driveway boasting all Goonies welcome. I visited the Docks. I saw the museum where Mikey’s dad worked. I visited the jail too – interestingly, now Oregon state’s film museum – housing many original film props from the Goonies movie itself. Hitting Cannon Beach a few hours south, I saw the “Rocks,” the lighthouse and where the Fratellis made their hideout cliff side. I walked the entire Ecola Creek Park entranceway, where the Goonies’ adventure began on bikes. I stood in the spot where Brand flew on his into the valley below.
The nay sayers will nay say. The detractors will detract. But the Goonies has achieved nearly 30 years under its belt as a testament to great kids’ films. To me, the Goonies is more than just good enough (thank you Ms. Lauper for that lovely little ditty).. it’s a time piece, a little piece of my childhood. It envokes memories – both past ones and some recent ones too – in equal measure.
This is less a movie review than a reflection on what my favourite childhood film means to me. But if asked, I think the movie poster sums it up best:
They call themselves “The Goonies”
The secret caves.
The old lighthouse.
The lost map.
The treacherous traps.
The hidden treasure.
Join the adventure.
I’m so very glad I did.