Retro Review: The Goonies

I review a lot of family movies for a number of sites (including this one), and they are always films that are either new to theatrical or DVD/Blu-ray release — but what about the classics? Shouldn’t kids watch those too? I think so.

We all have movies from our youth that we want to share with our kids, but time isn’t always kind to film or memory, and a lot of what we remember fondly isn’t exactly so. On the other hand, some of it has aged quite well. I’m here to sort it out for you.

The inaugural (and depending on reader and editorial response, perhaps the only) Retro Review features The Goonies, because Goonies never say die, and that is awesome.

The Goonies came out in 1985, which is the same year many of you were born. I, however, was entering my freshman year in high school and The Goonies was an instant classic back before people said things like “instant classic.”

Directed by Richard Donner (Superman, Lethal Weapon), written by Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Night at the Museum), and produced by Steven Spielberg (Used Cars, Balto), the movie has a much fancier pedigree than many other family films, and the cast is no slouch either: Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Special Agent Oso), Josh Brolin (True Grit, Men in Black 3), Corey Feldman (Stand by Me, The Lost Boys), and Martha Plimpton (Beautiful Girls, Raising Hope) were all kids when they starred in The Goonies.

At this point you may be asking yourself, what is a Goonie? Goonies is the name used by a group of self-described misfit kids with an affinity for Inspector Gadget and Rube Goldberg, who live in Astoria, Oregon (home to the most intimidating bridge I have ever been on), and together they go on adventures and make penis jokes. You know, kid stuff.

The kids all live in an area nicknamed the “Goon Docks” and their parents are facing immediate foreclosure on their homes so that some rich guy can expand the local Country Club. As luck would have it the Goonies find themselves knee-deep in intrigue and excitement thanks to a treasure map and a family of hardened criminals known as the Fratellis (which inspired the name of my favorite Scottish rock band). Also, booby traps.

Adventure. Jokes. Bad 80s hair. Friendship. Redemption. Good vs. Evil. It’s all there, and seeing as my wife and I both loved the movie we decided to show it to our two boys (9 and 6).

It turns out that it is a bit scarier and somewhat edgier than we remembered. It was kind of like walking through the respective rides of Pirates of the Caribbean and puberty at the same time. And I cannot stress this enough, the 80s have not aged well. However, everything that we loved about the movie holds up and it is still good family fun. The boys thought it was fantastic.


What Parents Should Know

There is liberal use of the word “shit” and a couple of other things that kids probably hear in real life all the time but still freaks us out when it shows up in a family film. There is some drug-related talk, the aforementioned penis humor, high school conversations about “making it” and looking down blouses, plus gun violence, death, and skeletons. However, there is also a strong commitment to family, friendship, and doing the right thing, which in my book trumps “shit” every time. See what I did there?

The Goonies is a classic worth watching with the family once kids are able to handle the subject matter listed above (actual kids may vary). I give it four out of five bow ties because a) I’m too lazy to make half a bow tie, and b) bow ties are cool (yes, that’s a Doctor Who reference).

If you have a classic family film that you would like reviewed (or a favorite memory from The Goonies) please leave it in the comments below.

Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).


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