In 1985 Steven Spielberg created this fun little film about a group of kids having a wild adventure. It was campy and lots of fun. When I was eleven. Now I look back, and I find all kinds of things wrong with it. Some things that bothered me even when I first saw the film and others which are more new. This is just for fun and will not contain a detailed plot or character analysis but will contain spoilers.

The film’s premise is that a band of pre-teens who live in the “Goon Docks” neighborhood of Astoria, Oregon try to save their homes from demolition. On their last day together they discover an old Spanish map that leads them on an adventure to unearth the long-lost fortune of One-Eyed Willie, a legendary 17th-century pirate. Sounds like fun, right? Well it is for the most part, but some things in this film bother me enough to nudge it into my “movies I just don’t like” list. This is my opinion of course, feel free to disagree.

 

#5. Coming down with asthma

Ok, this is a small one but a small one that always bugged me. There is a line early in the movie where we establish that our main character, Mickey played by Sean Astin, has Asthma. We learn this because his mother cautions him from going outside “if he’s coming down with asthma I don’t want him out in the rain”. Asthma is not a cold; you don’t “come down” with it! And by the way, he must have been diagnosed with it because he is using an inhaler through the movie (it’s actually a clever device to illustrate the rising tension). Yes, this is nitpicking but that line always bugged me.
#4. To many crass jokes

I realize this movie was aimed at kids, but seeing a guy get hit in the crotch is only funny so many times. If I recall correctly, this happens more than a couple. Maybe it’s just me and my sense of humor, but it would have been nice to see more than the same joke over and over. We get it, The Fratelli brothers are dim wits. I mean, there is a scene where one brother slips on a log and lands on his, well, you know. Then a second later they repeat the same joke with the other brother. Yeah, it was just so funny the first time. Also, there is a scene where the kids cause the plumbing in a country club to go crazy which is also just juvenile humor which I didn’t find funny then and still don’t today (although I find it amusing the guy on the toilet had his underwear on, what was he trying to do? Oh right, kids film). And before anyone says it, I realize that the country club is the reason for the neighborhood being demolished and it may have been considered some kind of justice, it’s still dumb and the whole scene is one huge Big Lipped Alligator Moment (do I have to pay the Nostalgia Chick a royalty now?). There is other stuff which just didn’t work but I would have to see the movie to remember them. The jokes were just too crass. Even Chunk talking about how much he threw up got to be a little too much.

 

#3. Deleted scenes

At the end of the film Data relates their experiences to some reporters, and mentions a giant octopus. What giant octopus? Well, the one that was in the deleted scene of course! I have no problem deleting a scene if the movie is running long or the scene serves no practical purpose, but wouldn’t it have made sense to remove that line of dialogue? True, it may not have been as easy to do that back then but still. While I can see why they deleted that scene (it is silly), another one they deleted in a store makes no sense to me since it establishes how the Goonies figure out what the pirate map says. I always kind of wondered how they knew where they were going. We also meet the bully and the girls earlier which would have helped the later moment be more effective (and yes there is a bully it is an 80’s movie after all).

 

#2.Sloth

Ok, here is where I am going to lose everyone. I can feel it. I just didn’t like this guy. I remember when I first saw this movie and I couldn’t decide if I liked him or not. Sure, he is charming in some moments (this movie a great ad for Baby Ruth candy). Even I smile when he shouts “Hey you guys!” (By the way, that came from The Electric Company that is what is he watching when we first see him). Here is why I don’t like him, because he becomes the hero. I wanted this movie to be about the kids and their adventure, and for a majority of it that is what I got. It’s really cool adventure and you really care about what happens to the kids. Then Sloth comes in to save the day. It just spoiled the movie for me. It was almost as if someone said “we have to have an adult in here somewhere!” No, you really didn’t. And the scene where he rips his shirt off like Superman revealing the logo? Please! We get that moment where he confronts his mother and realizes all the abuse she inflicted on him. Great moment, for a different movie. This movie wasn’t supposed to be about him. I won’t go far as to say he stole the movie, but he spoiled it a little for me.

 

#1.That corny ending

Ok, as I said the thing that drives this plot is the fact that the neighborhood is going to be bulldozed. So, how does this get resolved? Back on the pirate ship the kids stole all kinds of jewels and coins, some of which made it to the end of the movie in Mickey’s marble bag. The jewels are more than enough value to save everyone’s homes. Wait, what? Wouldn’t that be like me paying of a debt by robbing a bank and using that cash to cover the bill? I know, believe me, that would never work. If the debtor found that stolen funds were used the payment would be null and void and the people you stole the money from would be pissed! Now, before people say I am getting carried away I realize there is no way the dead pirates are going to be mad (unless they come back like they did in Garfield Halloween Adventure) but still! The jewels would have to be turned over to the proper authorities, it’s not there’s! I don’t blame the kids at all for not knowing this but the father sure as heck should. And you can’t say they can lie because there are reporters covering this! And by the way, ripping up a contract doesn’t do anything to cancel it. Also we never even met the people who were buying the neighborhood so it was real hard to hate them, and what is stopping these families from moving to another neighborhood all together? This was actually done better, believe it or not, in that lame Brady Bunch Movie! The ending is just too contrived, I would have preferred the old “it’s an historic site so you can’t touch it” cliché over this one. Although the visual of the kids watching the pirate ship float away is pretty damn cool.

 

Ok,I am done nitpicking. Now to be fair, I did love things in this movie. The treasure hunt/adventure is really fun and the scene on the pirate ship is very well done. Some of the action is great, the music is good (who doesn’t like Cyndi Lauper?), and the cast is really amazing from Corey Feldman all the way to Anne Ramsay. The characters were pretty well done including Data and Chunk who was really funny.

Is this a bad movie? No, but it was a bit of a disappointment for me anyway.

By richb

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