The Goonies (1985) is, hands down, one of my favorite movies of all time. I love it because of the sentimental factor — growing up in the ’80s, it played a huge part in my life — but also because it’s just a damn good movie. I’ve seen it hundreds of times now and it’s never tiresome, never a chore to finish watching. And unlike me, it never gets old.
As I’ve said before, I keep a mental list of movies I want to write about for this column but haven’t for one reason or another. Most of the time it’s because I haven’t yet been able to find all the songs on an out-of-print soundtrack album.
I decided to write about The Goonies this week not because its soundtrack is a rarity — at least not anymore, since Sony rereleased it last year (the score, on the other hand, is more difficult to find) — but because it’s a fun movie that I know a lot of you dig. It’s not an obscure ’80s film that only the most die-hard film geek — or kids whose parents stole cable, allowing them to watch all kinds of random movies on HBO and Skinemax when they should’ve been outside playing — would’ve seen back then. It’s a well-loved, iconic film that I’m pretty sure more people from my generation have seen than haven’t.
I swear I’m not being lazy. But self-indulgent? Okay, maybe a little.
It goes without saying that if you haven’t seen The Goonies you should stop reading this post right now and seek it out, with the understanding that if you’re an adult seeing it for the first time, you obviously aren’t going to have the same attachment to it as those of us who grew up with it. But if you don’t want to be bothered, here’s a synopsis: Mikey Walsh (Sean Astin) and his friends live in Astoria, Oregon, in what they call “the goondocks.” Due to the expansion of the local country club, their parents’ homes are facing foreclosure, forcing them all to leave the place they love.
On their last day together as “Goonies,” Mikey and his friends Mouth (Corey Feldman), Data (Jonathan Ke Quan, a.k.a. Ke Huy Quan), and Chunk (Jeff Cohen), along with Mikey’s brother, Brand (Josh Brolin), raid the Walsh attic looking for interesting items acquired by the brothers’ father, a museum curator. There they find an old newspaper clipping, a Spanish map, and an old doubloon relating to pirate treasure that’s rumored to be somewhere in the area. Mikey persuades his friends to search for the treasure, which once belonged to a legendary pirate named One-Eyed Willy. Their attempt at adventure is initially thwarted by Brand, but Mikey and his pals sneak past him and hit the road.
Their first stop is an abandoned coastal restaurant, which seems to match coordinates on the map and the doubloon. Unbeknownst to the Goonies, it’s the hideout of the Fratellis, a local crime family. Initially shooed away by Mama Fratelli (Anne Ramsey), the boys return when they think the coast is clear to investigate further.
Brand, accompanied by his crush, Andy (Kerri Green), and her friend Stef (Martha Plimpton), eventually finds the boys and demands that they return home. But they ignore him and take advantage of his being distracted by Andy to continue searching for clues. Their curiosity leads them to find not only a counterfeiting machine but also a dead body in the freezer. Before they can leave the restaurant the Fratellis return, forcing all but Chunk, who’s trapped in the freezer with the stiff, to escape into the tunnels below the restaurant’s fireplace.
As the Goonies and the three older kids make their way through the tunnels, trying to find a way out, they come across clue after clue that leads them to believe they’re on their way to finding One-Eyed Willy’s treasure. Meanwhile, Chunk tries to escape so he can alert the police of the Fratellis’ whereabouts, but he gets caught by Mama Fratelli’s sons (Robert Davi and Joe Pantoliano) instead. After they take Chunk back to the restaurant they force him to say where his friends are, but before they leave to chase after the rest of the Goonies, they lock him in a room with Sloth, Mama Fratelli’s third son, who’s deformed. Chunk and Sloth eventually bond, at which point they set off to save the Goonies from Sloth’s family.
The Goonies evade the bad guys long enough to find One-Eyed Willy’s pirate ship — and his treasure. But the Fratellis catch up with them and end up stealing all the treasure the Goonies had hoarded for themselves. While grabbing some of the riches, Mama Fratelli sets off one of Willy’s many booby traps, and with the help of Sloth, the Goonies manage to escape. They’re later met by the police, their families, and a gaggle of reporters, all of whom are happy to see them alive and the Fratellis finally captured.
One of the great things about The Goonies‘ soundtrack and score is that they’re both just as much fun as the movie itself. The soundtrack album’s big hit was Cyndi Lauper’s “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough,” which peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of ’85 and had an epic 12-minute music video directed by Richard Donner (Superman, the Lethal Weapon series), who also directed the movie. (Ye olde Wikipedia has a pirate-shipload of information about the video that I’m not going to rehash here. Go read it for yourself.) The album also features songs from the Bangles, Luther Vandross, REO Speedwagon, Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire, Joseph Williams of Toto, and Teena Marie. I’ve provided all the songs from the original album as well as a couple of remixes of “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” and a few snippets of dialogue from the movie, just for fun.
The score, composed by Dave Grusin (Tootsie, The Fabulous Baker Boys), perfectly captures the adventurous spirit of the film. It’s a lot harder to find than the soundtrack album — I could only find it on an expensive Japanese import — so I’ve provided it for you as well.
The Bangles – I Got Nothing
REO Speedwagon – Wherever You’re Goin’ (It’s Alright)
Goon Squad – Eight Arms to Hold You
Luther Vandross – She’s So Good to Me
“The Story of One-Eyed Willy”
Cyndi Lauper – The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough
Philip Bailey – Love Is Alive
Joseph Williams – Save the Night
“Goonies Never Say Die”
Cyndi Lauper – What a Thrill
Teena Marie – 14K
The music video for “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough”:
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And the Goonies score by Dave Grusin:
Mama’s Escape Plan
Incoming Data (007 Theme)
Ye Intruders Beware
The First Clue
Goonies in the Plumbing
The Wishing Well
Copper Bones and Booby Trap
The Pirate’s Organ
The Water Slide
The Pirate Ship
One-Eyed Willy’s Treasure
Caught With the Swag
Sloth and Chunk to the Rescue
Willy’s Final Gambit
End Credits (Film Version)
Goonies Theme (Alternate)
Jail Break (Original Recording)
Theme From The Goonies