Friday, July 2, 2010

Goonies never die!

At least not judging by the absolutely massive queue to pick up tickets for The Screen’s showing of The Goonies (on two screens!) last night. The audience demographics were funny – everyone there was firmly in the 26-36 age bracket (in other words, prime Goonie-viewing age from the 80s). Plus about three quarters of the crowd were dressed as pirates/wearing eye-patches/rocking pirate hats.

I have to say, it says a lot for the movies of 2010 that I enjoyed this more than any other film I’ve seen this year. It’s a stone-cold classic and the 25-years-older audience lapped it up, booing the bad guys, laughing every time Chunk appeared and generally acting like The Screen was an enormous living room. I’d never seen The Goonies on the big screen and I’m so glad I have now – it’s a film that’s really meant to be watched in a cinema.

Watching it as an adult and as a writer, I couldn’t help noticing what a brilliant intro it has, with all the main characters set up and their quirks and characteristics established in the first ten minutes. Chunk was and still is my favourite character, although little Mikey is the glue that holds the whole thing together. And the rest of them – Josh Brolin’s Brand and his fantastic array of 80’s exercise equipment. Stef, who I always sympathised with as a glasses-wearer. Mouth and his genius use of Spanish.

There were other things – the way Brand and Mikey’s dad is a historian, neatly leading on to Mikey’s interest in the pirate treasure. The front garden with the insane chain-of-events gate opener, that leads nicely on to the booby-trapped caves later on. The way the symbol of the developers, the local Country Club, gets continually wrecked and its members humiliated…

Something else I noticed - the baddies are surprisingly bad. I mean, would a bad guy be allowed to threaten to stick a kid’s arm in a blender these days? Would the kids be allowed to spout such satisfying and realistic profanities? Could there be a joke about a plaster statue’s dick? A scene where a kid is trapped in a walk-in freezer with a corpse? They’re all there, along with still fantastic-looking sets and a gang of kids I’d still love to join. For one night, last night, we could all imagine being Goonies…

If you want to check out the script (which is a great read btw), it’s available here.

2 comments:

Brett said...

GOONIES has always been an oddity for me.

Apparently I just barely missed being born into that magical age window wherein this movie is beloved -- I very clearly recall it hitting theaters when I was in HS, and recall a few of my (slightly dorkier) peers claiming to like it (but not love it -- interesting how time distills and intensifies some things), but I had no interest, and when I finally did see it i was left pretty unimpressed.

"INDIANA JONES except with goofy 'movie kids' of the sort never actually seen in reality."

I've since re-viewed it a few times, and invarioably there will be someone in our audience who claims to ADORE this movie, yet I've yet t see anyone NOT from that magic window claim to have become a fan. IOW, something was in the water for kids in 1985 or whever that allowed some portion of them to become entranced, and whatever it was seems clearly to have gone away.

It's well-done as a piece of movie-making, but it's a curiosity for me -- I totally get that others honestly love it, and I totally honestly do not share that love.

Eilis Mernagh said...

Brett, we were all put under a trance by Richard Donner. And some of us never came out of it!

I take your point though - it's just I drank the Koolaid and love the movie. It's one of my Eighties classics. Surely you have a film like that - that you love and some people can't see as anyway good?