The Goonies – Much Worse Than You Remember

By Ezra Stead

The Goonies, USA, 1985

Directed by Richard Donner

The Goonies might be the most overrated film of the 1980s.

You know what I love about the ’80s? Public Enemy, NWA, Prince, Guns N’ Roses, and the fact that The Toxic Avenger (1984), an unrated film that shows a kid’s head getting smashed by a car in graphic, bloody close-up within the first thirty minutes, was inexplicably made into a children’s cartoon on broadcast television.

You know what I hate about the ’80s? Reaganomics, Reagan, Bush, and now that I’ve pretty much got you all on my side, let me do a 180 and say that I hate The Goonies (1985).

Okay, so you’re probably yelling at your computer screen now, but I defy any of you, to give me any kind of logical argument for why anyone over the age of ten, with an IQ over 100, should like this film, let alone consider it “the greatest adolescent adventure film of all time,” as at least one critic has dubbed it.

Now, I’ll admit that I am lacking the one and only prerequisite for liking The Goonies: I never saw it as a kid. I know dozens of people who profess to love the film because they grew up with it. Most of them haven’t seen it since they were kids, but I guess that’s beside the point. The point is, I also never saw Labyrinth (1986) or The Princess Bride (1987) or The Neverending Story (1984) as a kid either, but I still love those movies now, after having seen them as an adult. Why? Because they’re actually good films.

The Goonies, on the other hand, has one good thing going for it: Chunk (Jeff Cohen). Perhaps the only worthwhile scene in the whole godforsaken film is Chunk’s tearful confession of causing a massive puke-fest, which would have been funnier if it were shown rather than merely described, a la Stand By Me (1986), an infinitely superior “adolescent adventure film.” Chunk’s other shining moment is, of course, the infamous “truffle shuffle,” a cheap joke at the expense of a fat kid that I would still rather watch for three hours than sit through the rest of the movie.

The rest of the characters I couldn’t give less of a crap about if I was constipated.

But let’s not forget the slight undercurrent of racism to be seen in the character of Data (Ke Huy Quan), the uber-smart Asian kid who’s really good at math and science. For some reason, in the ’80s, this was the most popular stereotype; remember Sixteen Candles (1984) and “Long Duk Dong” (Gedde Watanabe)? Someone should get their ass kicked by the ghost of Bruce Lee for that one. Or how about A Christmas Story (1983)? A sweet, nostalgic family film that I love through and through, until the end, when it suddenly becomes a bad ethnic joke: “Deck the hars wif boughs of horry!” Isn’t it funny? We’re better than them.

But, I digress. It’s not that The Goonies is a terrible movie; it’s just that, like Rocky (1976), TRON (1982), E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Spaceballs (1987), or any number of other so-called “classics” of that approximate era, it is over-rated, and doesn’t deserve the cult status it has, which, more than anything, just baffles me. There are adults all over the country who remember this overblown spectacle of mediocrity with fondness, and who have probably never even seen Time Bandits (1981), for example.

And I know this is getting a bit long-winded, and The Goonies really isn’t worth 600 words, so let me just conclude by saying that a friend of mine once belittled The Lost Boys (1987), one of my childhood favorites, as nothing more than The Goonies with vampires, and maybe he was right; but in my eyes, that alone makes it a hundred times cooler, and I for one will sleep better tonight dreaming of David (Kiefer Sutherland), Marko (Alex Winter) and Dwayne (Billy Wirth) feasting on every last one of those stupid kids, and preventing them from ever completing their lame adolescent adventure.

Ezra Stead is the Head Editor for MoviesIDidn’tGet.com. Ezra is also a screenwriter, actor, filmmaker, rapper and poet who has been previously published in print and online, as well as writing, directing and acting in numerous short films and two features. A Minneapolis native, Ezra currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

For more information, please contact EzraStead@MoviesIDidntGet.com.


12 Comments

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    class="comment byuser comment-author-nicole-p even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-10537">

    Follow more discussion of this article here: http://moviesididntget.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=791

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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    class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-13158">
    Eric S

    No, no, no this is definitely NOT and “overblown spectacle of mediocrity”, this movie is extraordinarily, unbelievably bad. You would swear the script was written by Mrs Johnson’s 5th grade class. The pacing is outright bizarre, it stumbles from one barely connected bit of dialog or action to another rabidly and with no sense of direction, people spouting their banal lines over each other constantly.

    It’s really like a story told by a 10 year old boy, a not very bright one at that. I really mean that, that wasn’t just a colorful put-down, it literally resembles that more than anything else. Maybe it’s intentional and there is some element of genius to it for catering to its audience, but for an adult watching it for the first time, it is painful.

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    class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-13542">
    Hamish

    Let’s not forget the part where Mikey’s mother angrily tells data to “use the back door from now on.” as seen here: http://youtu.be/CXzglCYkqVI?t=2m50s

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    class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-19402">
    Mac

    I grew up in the 1980’s and I still think that The Goonies is overrated… all the characters were annoying and unfunny. The ending is really bad, that scene with the actor playing the father shows just how horrible his acting is. Thank god that Warner Bros didn’t want to do a sequel.

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    class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-25249">
    whatever

    stopped reading at reaganomics. Goonies is overrated though

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    class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-25258">
    john

    Thanks. For so long, I thought I was the only one who felt this way.

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    class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-52999">
    Ronaldus Magnus

    Ronald Regan, Michael Jackson, and Star wars were the best things about the 80’s.
    The Goonies was pretty terrible.

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    class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-63494">
    Kage

    Oh god yes. I’m not the only one who hated this film.
    Honestly, I’ve seen much better movies from the same time, so why is The Goonies being hailed as a cult classic? It frankly sucked.
    The reason I personally hated it was the general overused feeling it gave me. Everything in that film had pretty much been done before, and that which wasn’t felt hastily inserted and unexplained. What was Sloth even supposed to be, and what did he add to the plot? Nothing, aside from badly handled comic relief. The other characters just seemed like your stock kids gang from every kids adventure film ever, and the idiot villains ploy is really getting old.
    This could be because my family somehow finagled me into wasting my time on this when I was 12.

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    class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-84247">
    Mark

    You’re an idiot. Not because of your opinions of The Goonies, but because your self righteous, arrogant, all knowing self is in show business, and somehow forgot the phrase “MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, CANNOT BE WRONG”. In this case – it would be BILLIONS OF PEOPLE CANNOT BE WRONG.

    But that does not stop you from your own narcissistic “puke-fest” of an opinion. Let me say – I never grew up a Goonie fan either (I too did not see it as a child), but I still like the movie and just spent the weekend with about 25 thousand people in Astoria that were there to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie.

    Since you like “Time Bandits” so much. I’ll follow your lead just for varieties sake and search out the mega anniversary celebration for that movie.

    I’m done tearing you apart. *steps off soapbox*.
    -DieNoobStabStab, Esq.

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    class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-86472">
    Collin

    The Christmas Story isn’t racist, they’re Asian people that talk like that, they show the white people ignorant to Asian culture and are scared of the duck with it’s head on. An accent alone isn’t enough to call a movie racist. Goonies is racist though, not arguing there.

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    class="comment byuser comment-author-ezra-stead bypostauthor even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-86859">
    Ezra Stead

    I certainly think A Christmas Story is at least less racist than The Goonies or Sixteen Candles. Perhaps not coincidentally, it’s easily the best movie of the bunch. That last scene just always kind of bugged me. It’s not as bad as Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or anything, but still. Oh, and to the comment above yours: haha, you mad.

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    class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-88144">
    sskk

    Thanks for saying “E.T.” was over-rated. I watched it when it first came out, in a theater, and kind of looked around like, um…. why is this so popular? And that was as a kid. Conversely, I count “Close Encounters…” as one of my top 5 movies.

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