Watch the best ’80s adventure movie before it leaves HBO Max this week


There are movies that are meant to be passed down from generation to generation, from mom and dad to their kids or even from grandpa and grandma to their grandkids. Up there with The Princess Bride, Mary Poppins, Elf, 16 Candles, Stand by Me, ET, The Sorority of the Travel Pantsand any number of animated classics is The Goonies. As a matter of fact, The Goonies is the joker in the peloton. It’s loud and a hodgepodge of genres, and so, so, so 1980s, not to mention a bit hammered. But, while that’s not quite the sum of its many interesting parts, it’s a super entertaining couple of hours to share with the family.

The Goonies is currently streaming on HBO Max, but it premieres February 28, here are five reasons why it’s still a total classic.

The story

Avid developers plan to develop the Goon Docks section of Astoria, Oregon into a country club. They therefore buy houses in the region and/or force foreclosures. A group of neighborhood kids, “outcasts” who call themselves the Goonies, decide to embark on one last adventure. The Goonies are made up of Mikey (Sean Astin), Chunk (Jeff Cohen), Mouth (Corey Feldman) and Data (Jonathan Ke Huy Quan). When they stumble upon a centuries-old map in an attic, the Goonies set off in pursuit of One-Eyed Willy’s pirate ship and the untold treasures on board that could keep the developers away. Only they are not the only ones looking for a better life. Enter the Fratellis (Anne Ramsey, Robert Davi, Joe Pantoliano), clumsy villains with a mean mom (Ramsey) and a deformed but kind brother, whom they treat horribly. That would be Sloth (John Matuszak). And there are the coolest kids, including Mikey’s brother, Brand (Josh Brolin); Andy (Kerri Green), a cheerleader attracted to Brand; and Stef (Martha Plimpton), Andy’s best friend. Here we go, kids bickering, bonding, maturing, experiencing romantic feelings, learning about themselves and each other, overcoming fears, and more.

Pure movie magic

The Goonies is the ultimate kitchen sink from a movie. Really, it’s got it all: car chases, a pirate ship, a prison break, laughs and scares, brave teenagers, a friendly monster, catchphrases (“Goonies never say die!”), moments of romance, spooky skeletons, catchy songs, glittering gold doubloons, a good score, and sights to see. Where to start ? The Fratellis are formidable villains. Led by the late, genial and gruff Anne Ramsey, they are funny and menacing. The Walshes’ house is an inhabited hoot, filled with books, and a stuffed attic, and a variety of Alone at homelower level traps. The pirate ship is a life-size set built for the film, and it adds invaluable realism to the extended finale. And Data delivers into the clutch with a variety of inventive devices that would make both MacGyver and James Bond’s Q proud.

The casting

Donner recruited a group of ridiculous actors to The Goonies, several of whom were already rising stars, others whom Donner helped put on the path to superstardom. Astin plays the leader of the Goonies and ably carries the movie… his very first! The Goonies also marked the debuts of Brolin and Green; he is now a massive star and she continued to break hearts Lucas. Quan had previously played Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Cohen quit his career as a child actor and is now a lawyer and author. Davi and Joey Pants are two of Hollywood’s most trusted actors. Plimpton is a versatile talent, always leapfrogging seamlessly from comedy (the long Bringing Hope) to the drama (the recent and burning Mass). Veteran actress Ramsey then co-starred in Throw mom off the trainearning an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and Scroogedand sadly passed away in 1988. Matuszak was a professional football star who enjoyed real success as an actor, including a seductive turn in Ringo Starr’s film, Cavemanbefore passing away at age 38 in 1989.

The Spielberg Factor

In 1985, when The Goonies open, Steven Spielberg was the first impresario of mainstream movie entertainment, primarily as a director (Jaws, Close Encounters, Raiders, ET). But he was just beginning to lend his name – and his brand, so to speak – to his friends and colleagues as a producer, passing them ideas for stories to develop or helping them realize dream projects. he had produced Fighting spirit for director Tobe Hooper, for example, but apparently did more than anyone realized at the time. He designed the story for The Goonieswhich Chris Columbus adapted into a screenplay, and Richard Donner directed after scoring major hits with the omen and Superman. Apparently, Goonies was so close to Spielberg’s heart that he was often on set and, at least according to Sean Astin, practically co-directed the film with Donner. Either way, the film is a masterful mayhem that benefits from the combined imprints of Spielberg, Donner, and Columbus.

The music

The soundtracks don’t get much more 80s than the ones produced for The Goonies. It starts with Cindy Lauper’s “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough,” which can not only be heard in the film, but also seen, as the kids watch her music video for the song. Lauper helped organize the other soundtrack choices and championed a young girl group, The Bangles, which would soon explode in popularity. Their contribution is “I have nothing”. Other major artists included here are Luther Vandross, REO Speedwagon, Toto lead singer Joseph Williams, Teena Marie, Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire and Dave Grusin (the composer of the film, whose “Theme of The Gooniesconcludes the file). Another group worth mentioning is The Goon Squad. Their song, “Eight Arms to Hold You”, was intended to accompany a scene – involving an octopus attack during the pirate ship sequence – which was cut from the film, but can be found among the DVD extras and on YouTube. Although only a snippet of the song made it into the film, the song itself reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. And the video for the song is a part-80s animated epic featuring… a big octopus. Oh, and back to Lauper’s video for “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough.” It’s a 12-minute extravaganza starring Lauper, Captain Lou Albano, Lauper’s mother, Catrine, most of the Goonies cast, Spielberg, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Classy Freddie Blassie, The Fabulous Moolah, Nikolai Volkoff and Andre the Giant, as well as The Bangles. Donner directed the video, filming huge chunks on the Goonies put on while the film was in production. Also in the video? Some footage of the octopus from the infamous deleted scene.

The Goonies airs on HBO Max through February 28.


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