Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Goonie Things

The Goonies (1985) is another movie that's taken us a long time to get around to. I'm glad we did - it's good background for Stranger Things.

It takes place in an idyllic west-coast town they call the Boon Docks. But a developer is buying everything up to build a golf course, and they are all going to have to move. The kids hate this idea, since they have a great bunch of kids, who call themselves the Goonies:
  • Mikey (Sean Astin): Sensitive and asthmatic, he's also the main instigator of their adventures
  • Mouth (Corey Feldman): All slick New Wave fashion and sarcastic remarks
  • Chunk (Jeff Cohen): Always eating
  • Data (Ke Huy Quan): Genius inventor Chinese kid
Mikey's older brother Brand (Josh Brolin), his girlfriend (Keri Green) and her friend (Martha Plimpton) are just old enough to out of the Goonies, but not so old they are in a different world. Plimpton, by the way, seems to be the inspiration for the ill-fated Barb in Stranger Things - at least as far as glasses and hairdo. She does not meet the same fate as Barb, and in fact, becomes a Goonie herself.

We first meet these kids at Mikey and Brand's place, where Rube Goldberg device is used to open the gate for Chunk. There isn't much payoff for this, except to show off producer Spielberg's love of complicated devices. Also, a lot of the movie is a complicated device.

The Goonies plan to save the Boon Docks is to find pirate One-Eyed Willy's buried treasure. So off they go on their bikes - and you immediately see where Stranger Things came up with the images of a gang of kids cranking around the neighborhood on their bikes.

So to get to the buried treasure, it turns out they have to get through a gang of bank robbers and their giant pinhead brother. This all involves underground caverns, including a waterslide that might be the first movie scene designed to be made into an amusement park ride. It all ends with an amazing set piece that makes me think director Richard Donner loves those complicated devices as well.

So now we know why this is such a significant movie for kids ("of all ages") of the Eighties. It was so Eighties that Cindi Lauper did the theme song, and parts of the music video are included. At that point I started wondering if this was a recent movie done as a parody of Eighties movies. But that's Stranger Things.

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