Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Goonies

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 12:00 AM

The Goonies R good enough! At least that’s the mantra of the growing legions of twenty- and thirtysomething’s who’ve elevated this expensive 1985 action comedy from momentary trifle to beloved, immortal classic. At the time, it was greeted with critical ambivalence and pretty respectable box office numbers, but in the decades since it has achieved cult status, where other Reagan-era romps like, such as Explorers and Monster Squad, have been mostly forgotten. What gives Goonies its legs? Aside from the raw power of nostalgia, the flick has an uncanny ability to speak directly to the geeky, chubby, adventure-craving middle schooler deep inside us. The cast is a check list of ’80s teen movie essentials: Hawaiian-shirt-wearing fat kid, gadget-loving Asian nerd stereotype, hot redhead, chipper future Hobbit, buff jock, sarcastic brainy chick and gratuitous Corey Feldman. At its heart it’s a simple story of a scruffy band of kids — whose dumpy neighborhood, "the Goon docks," is about to be torn down — discovering a treasure map in an abandoned diner, leading to a subterranean escapade complete with booby traps, skeletons, pirate ships and the nefarious thugs of the Fratelli family. The film has enough acid-wash denim, headbands, Members Only jackets and Cyndi Lauper music to send you into an ’80s overdose, with a sneakily pro-teamwork "ain’t the suburbs great" moral floating underneath. Depending on your frame of reference, it’s either a spastic, stupid distraction or a giddily entertaining portal into a lost world of childhood wonder. What really helps set The Goonies apart from the pack is the major league talent behind it, directed by Richard Donner with a script by Chris Columbus and Steven Spielberg, which assured a bigger budget and production quality not always found in the tween ghetto. It’s kind of like a dusty old Our Gang or Bowery Boys chestnut, but with a lot more swearing and kicks to the nuts, and instead of a guy in a bad gorilla suit there’s steroid casualty Jon Matusak as a giant, sweetly retarded mutant with a taste for Baby Ruths. If you’re not already hip to the "the Truffle Shuffle" or can recite catch phrases like "Sloth loves chunk," the flick will be lost on you, the rest of the Gen X softies out there know that the Goonies will never die.

Midnight, Friday and Saturday, June 29 and 30, at the Main Art Theatre, 118 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-263-2111.

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