The Goonies

the gooniesReleased: 1985
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Sean Astin, Corey Felman, Josh Brolin

Still fun almost 30 years on…


One of the delights of being a proper grown-up (if I’ve actually made it that far) is that it’s ok to admit you like the things that you did as a child. There’s no need to put aside the childish things, we can instead revel in them. I was feeling a bit down one day and my lovely husband brought home one of my favourite films from childhood – The Goonies. I loved that film as a child but it was one of the childish things that I put away and I don’t think I’ve seen it in over 20 years. I was a bit nervous about finally ripping off the shrink wrap and reliving part of my childhood.

Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Richard Donner this children’s adventure combines the best of both film-makers – the sentimentality and imagination of Spielberg and the action chops of Donner combine to make a fabulously good fun film which children will absolutely love and adults will find an enjoyable piece of nostalgia.

A group of young actors including Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Martha Plimpton and Josh Brolin (who looked about 40 then and hasn’t aged terribly much) play The Goonies – a group of friends from smalltown Oregon, entering their last days as a gang before their neighbourhood is torn down by ruthless developers. The Goonies decide to hunt for the treasure of One Eyed Willie, a mythical pirate but stumble across the criminal Fratelli family.

The young stars all put in fine performances, particularly Sean Astin as the asthmatic Mikey who leads the group on their adventures. Corey Feldman is decent but I’m pretty sure he only ever played the same role – cocky, arrogant, brattish kid. Maybe he was never the cute, talented boy I was convinced he was. While researching this review I discovered that Jeff Cohen, the fat funny kid is now a very cute Hollywood lawyer. See what your life could have been Feldman!

The bad guys are good fun, particularly Anne Ramsay as the evil Mama Fratelli. She is both menacing and over the top in her scene-chewing campness. The whole Fratelli gang is scary for children – but good fun for the adults watching. Who hasn’t wanted to put an annoying kid’s hand in a blender? Just me then… I did squirm a little at the Sloth character – the horribly deformed third Fratelli brother. I understand the desire for a “scary monster” to scare children but as an adult it just seemed a little un-necessary to depict a disabled person in such a crass way.

Donner comes up trumps with the right amount of action. The film whips along at a cracking pace but is never too dangerous for the intended audience. The children are smart, resourceful and funny and I know why I wanted to be a Goonie as a child. One of the boys though – the girls were a bit drippy and pointless. The ending is entirely satisfying with the Goonies emerging victorious over all the bad guys (not really a spoiler is it?)

I’m fairly sure I won’t be regressing to my 9 year old self and watching this on a weekly basis but it remains an enjoyable watch whether you’re nearly ten or approaching 40.

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  1. Glad you’re still enjoying The Goonies, Louise. It still reminds me of my favourite childhood movie viewing experiences.

  2. An all time favorite of mine. Not many people who don’t love the truffle shuffle!

    • This is going to mark me out as such a shallow girly, but the guy who played Chunk could no way do the truffle shuffle now. Very cute…as I might have mentioned.

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