Before I begin, I think it’s only proper that you get a certain Cyndi Lauper beat going in your head. And as you do that, imagine a group of kids on bike, peddling down a windy Pacific Northwest mountain road. You can hear their bantering from high above the red ciders and spruce, their decided courage and fervent curiosity guiding them towards something far, far away from the solace of their seaside town. From a bird’s eye view, we begin to see an epic adventure springing to life, and for just a moment, you know what the wind on their faces feels like.
In 1985, directors Richard Donner and Steven Spielberg created a little film called The Goonies. It featured up and coming stars like Sean Astin, Corey Feldman and Kerri Green. As the film begins, we’re introduced to a handful of kids who find out that a country club has plans for expanding, putting their homes in jeopardy of foreclosure. Mikey (Astin) discovers a treasure map in his attic and shares it with his friends. Its origin dates back to a 17th century pirate known as “One-Eyed Willie.” Capriciously, the group decides to track down this alleged treasure, in hopes that the gold and jewels they find will save them from losing their homes.
When they arrive at an old restaurant on the coast, they realize they’re not alone. A couple of outlaws that look like the Jersey version of a Bonnie & Clyde show up with their inbred looking brother, Sloth. One of Mikey’s friends, Chunk gets apprehended by the crazies, and as his life flashes before his eyes, he confesses all of his life’s sins, including something about fake vomit and gluing a toupee to his face when he played Moses in his Hebrew school play. Ultimately, Chunk befriends the lazy eyed conehead with a soft heart. Sloth mostly wails and drools when it comes to communicating, but all is not lost when there is Baby Ruth to be savored.
Meanwhile, the Goonies have made their way down into a cave below the fireplace. Their skills have landed them onto a cavity anchored by rickety platforms, a musical organ made of bones at the hub. They also end up reaching the bottom of a well, where Mouth (Feldman) gives a touching monologue on his wishes not coming true. “This one right here, this was my dream!” He spits, as he picks up a penny and pockets it. Of all the pennies in the land, I really doubt that’s your penny, Mouth. Andy (Green) hears her jock boyfriend, Troy, up above and everyone suddenly considers bailing on “Expedition Treasure.” A brazen Mikey cajoles them with the best knee-slapping line in the film, “It’s their time. Their time! Up there! Down here, it’s our time. It’s our time down here!” Wait, what time is it?
Make no mistake, I adore this movie like I adore all things in life that make me want to go discover buried treasure. It’s Spielberg, for crying out loud! He gave birth to my favorite alien. So, I won’t spoil the ending. No matter how precisely I illustrate the surge of twisting and thrashing that transpired down cavernous water-slides fit for a water park; in light of the fact that even the actors themselves were not allowed to see the majestic grandeur of what sat afloat in the lagoon until the filming of the scene actually commenced, I will simply encourage you to watch, or rewatch this classic to see for yourself.
This film is about more than lost treasure though. It’s about secret societies. Eh…okay, maybe that’s a stretch…but there is some mystery to what constitutes a “Goonie.” From what I gather, Goonies venture to imagine, make mistakes, forgive, and most importantly, they never say “die.” If they do, I guess it’s like saying “Beetle Juice.” (And no one wants to deal with Michael Keaton)