Worth A Look: 11.83%
Pretty Bad: 2.37%
Total Crap: 6.51%
5 reviews, 139 user ratings
by Scott Weinberg
It's a dangerous thing to re-visit movies that were childhood favorites. For every one that stands the test of time (such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), there are handfuls of other ones that make you a bit embarrassed at your misguided devotion. But I'm pleased to announce that THE GOONIES has easily passed the "Do I still dig it all these years later?" test despite some truly noticeable flaws that I was joyously able to ignore way back when.Released back in 1985 when Steven Spielberg was putting his "executive producer" rubber stamp all over every big-budget movie, The Goonies can best be described as Young Indiana Jones X 7. I doubt this was much of a coincidence, with the Indiana Jones craze in full swing. But if moviegoers liked the idea of a lone adventurer searching for gold, why not have seven heroes...and make them all kids?
"Some movies earn points just for nostalgia."
Spielberg hired much-respected director Richard Donner, who had previously directed Ladyhawke, Superman and The Omen, to oversee the affair. Spielberg supplied the basic story and went to Chris Columbus for the screenplay. (Columbus has since gone on to direct movies like Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone and the upcoming Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.) To play the youthful team of treasure hunters, Spielberg found some solid young talent.
Sean Astin (The Fellowship of the Ring, son of Patty Duke and John Astin) plays Mikey, the leader of The Goonies. Mikey is smart, sensitive, adventurous and asthmatic.
Josh Brolin (Hollow Man, son of James Brolin) is Mikey's big brother Brand, a tough-talking but good-natured lug.
Corey Feldman portrays Mouth exactly as his nickname would imply: loud, verbose and obnoxious. Oddly enough, Feldman pulls it off perfectly. (Now before we all trash Corey for his current career, let's remember this kid was in such mid-eighties classics like this one, The Lost Boys, Stand By Me...and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.)
Jonathan Ke Huy Quan plays the gadget-happy Data. Quan basically reprises his 'chattering mumbler' character from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but Data is good for a few laughs despite his many silly gizmos.
Kerri Green (of Lucas) plays Andy, the cute cheerleader who has a severe crush on Brand. Although she isn't given much to do, Andy adds a nice feminine touch to this rather masculine gang of hooligans.
Martha Plimpton (of Parenthood) plays Stef, Andy's best friend and all-around sarcastic gal. Stef's dry delivery and mocking tone works well and the character adds a small dose of common sense to the proceedings.
But the coolest Goonie by far has got to be Chunk, as played by Jeff Cohen. This was Jeff's only movie role and he has since gone on to become an entertainment lawyer, but man is this kid a hoot! While Chunk starts off as just the obligatory "fat kid", Cohen delivers some of the movie's biggest laughs.
It seems that the Goonies home town of Astoria, Oregon is undergoing a severe facelift. Greedy local contractors are buying up all the kid's homes in order to steamroll the town and build a massive golf course. It's during their last weekend together that the Goonies discover an ancient treasure map up in Mikey's attic and set off to find the "rich stuff".
But as is often the case in movies like this, our heroes have a nonstop barrage of obstacles to overcome including (but not limited to) an evil trio of bank robbers, a mysterious monster chained in the basement, flocks of angry bats and half-dozen of the coolest booty traps ever devised. (Booty traps? That's what I said! Booby traps!)
As the dimwitted yet dangerous Fratelli brothers, Robert Davi (Predator 2) and Joe Pantoliano (Memento) are a whole lot of fun. And the late, great character actor Anne Ramsay (Throw Momma from the Train) portrays their despicable Mama with equal parts malice and sarcasm. Playing the mysterious "Sloth" is late NFL star John Matuszak.
When I first saw this movie back in 1985 (at the age of 14), I was of course immediately in love with it. This was long before I studied all about motion pictures and the components contained in a quality one. That's a good thing, because I think if The Goonies were released this year, I doubt I'd really enjoy it all that much.
Despite the fact that I love this movie and would easily recommend it to just about anyone, there are a few cracks in the armor that I never noticed before. A lot of the kids' line readings are all off. The pacing of the third act drags noticeably and a lot of the special effects show their age. Much of the dialogue is simplistic and trite, while there are easily a handful of entirely unnecessary sequences. (The whole "water pipes exploding at the country club" scene, for example.)
But why mess with fond memories? None of these shortcomings come close to making The Goonies a bad film, and the overwhelmingly "fun" tone of the movie goes a really long way. While it was only a modest hit upon its theatrical release in '85, The Goonies became a massive hit on video and is one of the most fondly remembered "little" movies from the entire decade.
I bought this DVD the day it came out and was putting off watching it. "What if it's realllly cheesy and I don't like it anymore?" was my fear. Well, I'm pleased to say that Scott the Adult approves of Scott the Child's choice this time around. It hasn't aged perfectly well and it's definitely a movie that's rough around the edges, but overall - The Goonies is a raucous and fast-paced adventure movie, one that's perfect for Family Movie Night, or Generation-X Movie Nostalgia Night.
Warner Brothers has done a fantastic job bringing this cult favorite to DVD. The film is presented in its Original Aspect Ratio...which means "Black Bars" to lots of you. Deal with it. It's the way the movie was meant to be seen. A few deleted scenes are here, including the infamous "Octopus Sequence" and you can also watch the 2 Cyndi Lauper "Goonies R Good Enough" videos...but I wouldn't recommend it. You can also access the original theatrical trailer and the 1985 "making of" documentary. But the crown jewel addition to this DVD is the full-length audio/video commentary featuring Richard Donner and all 7 Goonies...all growed up! The director and actors sit back and reminisce about the production of the film, and occasionally the movie will fade out and we can see the Goonies sitting at the table chatting! Wow, Kerri Green got CUTE! Hey, Chunk got thin!A fondly remembered and entertaining adventure movie. A damn solid DVD package. And talks of a GOONIES 2! Cool!
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=942&reviewer=128
originally posted: 10/10/01 12:16:14