Hey you guys! That’s right, adventure seekers, it’s time for #80sMC and another delve into the most awesome decade of all time as Jane Roberts shares her love letter – literally – to a family favourite. From 1985, it’s The Goonies!
How you doing? Just a note to drop by my thanks. Admittedly, it’s thirty-five years late but that’s ok. If pirate maps can be hidden for nigh on four centuries, then what’s a few decades between friends?
Because we are friends. Oh, not in the physical sense. Just the literal. That same age, same problems, same curiosity, same lust for ice cream type of friends. What’s a celluloid ocean between us?
Way back in 1985, there were kids everywhere who watched bullies thump, parents panic and the rugs being pulled out from under their feet by life. Who dreamt of adventure, of pirates and ships, and lost treasure bringing an end to worry.
Who wanted to make all the bad stuff in the world walk the plank.
I was one of those kids. One who sat in the cinema, face stuffed with Maltesers, snorting at some of the rather fruity terminology, at the mousetrap style game traps, enjoying Spielberg’s speciality bugs in corpses routine, the bickering Goonie fellowship and some block-rocking toilets.
And long before Sean Astin became Samwise Gamgee, he was Mikey. A Goonie, with his brother and his buddies, fighting to keep their home and their namesake from demolition. Trying to stick it to the pricks. The stakes were increased, with gun-totting, opera warbling Fratellis on the loose, and the smooth-faced, callous hearted property developer Mr Perkins sneering over his contracts.
The world today appears to celebrate and elevate the Perkins of the world, with their snake brains and cold eyes. It casts them as reality show anti-heroes, puts them on a pedestal of aspiration, decorated with gold glitter and lies, built on steps formed from the dreams of others.
It was great to revisit Goon Docks, hop on a bike and freewheel into cheerful chaos with you guys again. To look at optimism and creativity as a way forward, rather than focus on concrete for profit. To look somewhere and see homes and communities, rather than income.
To roll in the dirt and fight with bats on strings. Dance in a wishing fountain, play the pirate tune. To wonder if the octopus was real, or some vivid E number induced childhood nightmare (I blame the Hubba Bubba and cola bottles in my 10p mixups).
To put aside fear, and enjoy the bonds of fraternity and friendship. To know that your brother may call you Limp Lungs, but he’s still got your back. Always. Where the pretty girl sees through the superficiality of bestowed wealth, and kisses (eventually) the right guy.
Where Data’s inventions become more than jokes and create actual peril. Science and ingenuity, as well as pluck, are valuable commodities. And humour bathes us all, a glue that binds people together, hiding deep emotions underneath the skit.
I confess, I thought the Chunk and Sloth partnership were in the movie together more, so great is my memory of them since that first viewing, thirty-five years ago. Where their story ends, on a beach, soggy and cold, is something pretty special. Goonies are allowed to make mistakes. They can come from anywhere. And anyone can be a Goonie, if they want to be. This is an inclusive fellowship.
So here I am, 4,731 miles away from Astoria, on a very different coastline. I still look out for caves, for those pirate ships. For treasure in the sand. For my own community of Goonies, scattered about the place – some on land, some online, others all at sea. Sometimes we bicker; sometimes we pick one another up when the waves take their knees out from under them. We share a knowledge that though we may be miles away, under the skin we will always be Goonies.
We will always be looking for adventure. To be the good guys without losing the fun. To chase the macabre, to play those bones in discordant harmony. To acknowledge our mistakes, and shout out for our communities when others threaten to harm them for nefarious reasons. To put our arms around our fellow stragglers in hard times.
Mikey, Data, Chunk, Mouth, Andy, Stef and Brand – we salute you. Your values have never been more needed. And we say today, as we first did so long ago, Goonies never say die.
From the future, with huge affection,
PPS: I know, I know. I was meant to do a straight review. And I rewatched the film and made sensible notes. With a framework and everything. But then wrote a love letter, because I adore this film so much it suspends my critical thinking facilities. Yours, a Goonie Forever.
Come back next week, chums, for the big one. Well, strictly speaking, they’ve all been big ones, what with this being the 50 Ultimate 80s Movies, but next time it’s THE big one. Often voted the greatest film of all time and containing magic, adventure, romance, comedy, family feuds, cliffhangers and the mother of all plot-twists.
Although separated by almost two decades, Paul Childs of Generation-X and Louis Thelier of the Millenials prove that some films transcend generations, as they share their thoughts and experience of seeing 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back for the first time.