Whilst enduring a 41+ degree day and not too much cooler night I indulged in one of my favorite movies ever – Goonies. I adore this film for so many reasons – aesthetically, thematically, the performances, the cheesy Spielberg touch and perhaps most importantly because of Sloth!
aesthetics of goonies
The north west cost of the US, those divine triangular rocks like rubble teeth in the ocean, the forest, the rain – all these things make me happy. Far beyond the more recent twilight saga set in Oregon, Goonies aesthetically reveals the class divide in a picturesque town pitting working class against upper middle class, history against progress, cruelty of the Fratelli family against the collective belonging of the goonies. One of my favorite scenes is the clever opening sequence – Spielberg introduces us to the world linking each shot with the next, introducing the characters and the individual quirks.
themes that I like
There are so many themes that you can delve into with this film – kids taking on adult problems, treasure adventure, teenage ideas of love and lust. i guess for me its the wise street smart knowledge of kids – the way they rely on each other to work out each problem they encounter. Each character has a gift that helps the group move to the next stage of the bobby-trapped labyrinth designed by the elusive ‘One Eyed Willie’ and his Spanish Amanda ship. Even the open ranting of Chunk telling every little deviation he has made paves the way for his character to move forward into a more courageous space. As the group of ‘goonies’ transition or grow up as they experience ‘there time down there’ in the labyrinth searching for some way to beat the odds.
I know many critics have poo pooed the film and performances but I reckon for child actors they all displayed a fairly extensive depth to these characters that are for the most part cartoon like in their ‘collective’ group roles – the jock, the smart one, the technical genius, the mouth, the klutz, the pretty girl, the best friend. The story rocks along but there are moments for each actor to make the characters life full. My favorite performance has to be Sean Austin’s Mikey – the ‘awe’ in which he encounters the grueling and scary task is very naive and endearing.
cheesy Spielberg touch
I’m a fan of Spielberg. I remember in the eighties I was set on growing up to be the next Spielberg – I dreamed of making a movie and having an adventure like the goonies. The total escapism of it all. I think Spielberg’s choice of music, those early cgi bits in the later part of the film and the touching relationships between children and parents are features of his film making that I enjoy. It is happily ever after, and the bad guys were never too close to cause violent bloody harm to our endearing goonies, but they add a spice of tension and another time imperative to clip along the story and the troupe of characters through their cathartic story arc.
When Sloth says to his mother ‘you’ve been naughty’ I am so moved by his courage to confront the bullying duplicitous narcissistic mother. Sloth is the hero of this film. Son of a criminal family, scorned, chained and treated like an animal. Yet he is strong, and kind in some ways to his selfish brothers and self centered mother when he has the upper hand. I love the relationship between Sloth and Chunk- come on who doesn’t! The kindness of a stranger sharing a Babe Ruth bar beings a life long friendship. Chunk is that little child within Sloth that he can physically protect and save – its very moving.
I love Goonies
Mikey: Don’t you realize? The next time you see sky, it’ll be over another town. The next time you take a test, it’ll be in some other school. Our parents, they want the best of stuff for us. But right now, they got to do what’s right for them. Because it’s their time. Their time! Up there! Down here, it’s our time. It’s our time down here. That’s all over the second we ride up Troy’s bucket.