The Goonies (1985)
"A group of kids embark on a wild adventure after finding a pirate treasure map."
"Hey you guys!" A line that is possibly the most recognizable and quoted movie line ever heard, The Goonies is all about adventure and excitement in a family friendly romp. A natural classic that bewilders the minds of those who love it, and hardly ever not liked (although there are some out there who don't seem to like it as much, but to each their own). It is a tale that stands up to time, even if at times it's age shines through the camera.
The movie starts off with something not only relevant to the plot later on, but also that serves to introduce all the main characters at a quick glance, almost as though a montage wanted to be an actual scene instead of a series of cuts. The Fratellis break out their missing member from jail, and a high speed pursuit rages across the city (where we catch the aforementioned glimpses of characters) until they finally escape by blending in at an off-road race on the beach. We then move on to the actual Goonies themselves, where the main plot is officially given to us by the characters.
You see, not all is well for the kids and their families - jerk snooty family seems to be buying out all the houses for prices that the other families just can't compete against, forcing everyone to leave the next day. While messing around in the attic, a treasure map is found to the 'rich stuff' of a pirate, namely One-Eyed Willy. As I'm sure you can guess, what ensues is an adventure as the kids set out to find the treasure so that they and their families won't be forced to move away. Along the way, the Goonies cross path with the Fratellis, at which point the movie becomes not only an adventure for treasure, but also an escape from the crooks now chasing after them!
I could go into more detail about the plot, but this is in effect all you really need to know about the main plot itself, and it has the bonus of being said to this extent not ruining any of the great flow of the movie - from booby traps and skeletons, to comedic "pranks" and interesting inventions. Many little sub-plots arise, such as little romances (and we are talking family type romances here, similar to other family-based movies of the time) between some of the characters, new friendships being formed, and all manner of other little tidbits that could be read into to generate an incredible depth for those looking for more than just a good time. Just to throw it out there for some, there's even a blatant moral leaning heavily on the "Little boy who cried wolf" at one point.
The characters here are great, and nearly all of them are full of personality, particularly the younger crew. Whereas Brand (Josh Brolin), Andy (Kerri Green), and Stef (Martha Plimpton) all do a fine job of playing their characters, the older bunch seem much more like generic teens - Brand (a fitness minded guy) and Andy (a cheerleader) flirting with each other to typical teen shenanigans for example - even though they are still enjoyable to see on screen. The younger crew, particularly Data (Jonathan Ke Quan) who has all manner of inventive little 007-themed gadgets, come off oozing charisma in comparison, with Mikey (Sean Astin) being the asthmatic leader who keeps everyone moving forward, Mouth (Corey Feldman) being the witty sarcastic kid, and Chunk (Jeff Cohen) being the "tale telling" chubby kid who introduced the world to the Truffle Shuffle.
The families and some side characters do a pleasant job of playing their parts down to the sheriff's disbelief of Chunks story (citing past instances, one of which happens to be the plot to Gremlins ). The Fratellis themselves come off as crooks that one wouldn't want to run into, although of the bunch its the hidden son Sloth (John Matuszak) that steals the show (and delivers the first line in this review). This isn't in any way due to the other Fratellis doing a poor job, it's just that they are in comparison to Sloth nothing more than generic mobster crooks, and Sloth (much like the younger cast) is just brimming with imagination and charm - a fact that even the characters in the film catch on to after realizing he is more than just a disfigured monster (thanks to in major part to Chunk's interactions with him).
The settings here are almost as interesting as the cast. A movie set in modern times often can struggle to make the scenery more than just the typical ho-hum of everyday living, and it's wonderful to note that thanks to the adventuring aspect this isn't the case. Everything from the point where the gang enters the old run-down looking restaurant onward gives more of a vibe of Indiana Jones than an ordinary set, and brings a sense of authenticity to the search for the pirates treasure. Most of the comedy is then set by the interactions between the kids, and occasionally this is further brought out by interactions with the sets, mainly through booby traps or "scary" moments (upon a bunch of bats flying at them, one worries about their hair while another screams rabies!) that help keep the mood upbeat.
Audio here is delivered well, with the kids putting some pretty good acting behind their lines, even if at times the lines themselves leave a bit to be desired ("Up there, it's there time. It's there time up there! But down here it's our time. It's our time down here!"). Sound effects come through in sensible manners, sometimes with comic-esque overtones (particularly when dealing with Data's inventions), and don't tend to over-shadow the lines being delivered by the actors. Likewise, the musical selection does a wonderful job of fitting the mood and on screen events, picking up excitingly during booby trap reveals or hectic chases, but also not over-doing itself during the more emotional or slow scenes. As far as ear worms go, I'm happy to note that one of the first songs we hear at the start of the movie is actually Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and if that doesn't get stuck in your head you were probably born in the wrong generation. Likewise, even some of the supporting themes are a bit catchy, particularly the theme that opens the movie and reoccurs a few other times throughout the flick.
Overall, it's a wonderfully enjoyable romp that's great for the whole family, albeit some parts may be too frightening for very young kids (by no means is this movie a "scary" movie, but suddenly discovering skeletons seems to have varying levels of fright inducement based on sample sizes). It's a lighthearted feel good flick that has some catchy tunes and is just a blast to watch, but could really be read into in multiple locations for someone who wants more than to just kick back and enjoy the ride. Really, if you watch the trailer and it doesn't look like something you want to watch, I guess it is possible that maybe it isn't for you, but I would recommend at least borrowing it from a friend to take a viewing at least once as in my books, this movie is a solid piece of classic cinema.