Welcome to the JOE-DOWN, a back-and-forth movie review blog by two snarky newspapermen named Joe from Minnesota, Joe Froemming and Joe Brown. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Brown picked “The Goonies.”
The Movie: “The Goonies”
Starring: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen
Director: Richard Donner
Plot Summary: (From IMDB) In order to save their home from foreclosure, a group of misfits set out to find a pirate’s ancient valuable treasure.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70 percent
Brown: Here at the JOE-DOWN, we love to (REDACTED) on your childhood. And people, they don’t like that sometimes.
After going through “Roadhouse” last week and managing to keep our throats intact, staying in the ‘80s and picking “The Goonies” seemed like a good enough time. It’s a movie I vaguely remember and actually probably have more memories of “The Goonies II” on the old 8-bit Nintendo, complete with an chiptune version of Cyndi Lauper’s “The Goonies ‘r’ Good Enough.” Fun fact: America never got “The Goonies I” video game.
Personally, I didn’t hear much about this pick. I wasn’t even born when this movie came out, after all. But apparently, Froemming encountered a lot of anger at the mere thought of us poking fun at a childhood favorite.
Nostalgia’s a hell of a drug that makes people irrationally angry. Nostalgia is bath salts.
So Froemming, before we start this origin story of Thanos The Mad (and probably sexually frustrated) Titan, tell me about the venom you got for this as well as your initial thoughts on “The Goonies.”
Froemming: Oh, I got private messages on Facebook saying we shouldn’t make people hate this movie, and we should stay away. I made a tongue-in-cheek post about us reviewing it, and people had some strong reactions to say the least.
Look, for my generation “The Goonies” is basically nostalgia porn. Going back to when I was 19, I remember friends buying shirts from the movie and crappy punk bands at the time naming songs off of lines from this movie. This movie was like “The Godfather” for these people, which is just ridiculous. “The Godfather” never made references to an octopus nobody sees in the film.
To prepare, because let’s face it I am not immune to the rosy tint of nostalgia, I bought (on Blu-Ray) all 10 “Halloween” films and binged them in a week to get my blood pressure up. So my rage at bad plot holes and acting is at a peak now. I am ready to tear into a movie that can be summed up as this: Young boy guilt trips his friends into a bunch of trouble, including crimes on their part.
Brown: So, you know what really sets the tone of a story of childhood whimsy? Opening your movie in a city jail where an inmate appears to have hanged himself!
But, turns out it’s a ruse for a jail break. The baddie, Jake Fratelli, had a pipe holding him up (which is not how I expected him to cause this ruse) and he’s able to knock out a copper and escape jail rather easily.
Froemming: Hint, hint Paul Manafort!
Brown: Also, Michael Cohen.
Outside, his brother Francis and Mama Fratelli are there for his getaway. And Francis is pouring gasoline everywhere. Like, a jailbreak isn’t enough? You have to add arson of a police station and attempted murder to your rap sheet?
With brief intros to all our heroes during this police chase, we get more of an intro to the main duo in brothers Mikey (Astin) and Brand (Brolin).
And man, Brand is pumping weights and working out constantly. You can tell he’s single because he is working some (REDACTED) out.
Froemming: Hey man, he failed his driver’s test. His next option in life is to get buff and steal all the Infinity Stones so one day he can operate a vehicle! I am sure bending space and time will give him just the advantage he needs!
We also meet our other Goonies here.
We meet Mouth (Corey Feldman), whose snark is so strong he might be an honorary Joe here.
Then there is Data, the kid next door who CRASHES into Mikey and Brand’s home because he makes really bad inventions that cause bodily and property damage. He is a camcorder away from inventing “Jackass.”
Brown: Data basically invented Bart Simpson’s tactical pants-retaining system. Some bully is going to steal it from him for raggin’ on their cord.
OK, so Mouth, knowing Corey Feldman’s lifelong problem with drug addiction, how (REDACTED) up was it hearing Mouth know drug terms in FLUENT Spanish? Yeah, I get it’s hindsight, but it does beg the question: Was Feldman acting?
Froemming: I chalked it up to an adlib and they kept it in the movie.
Now we meet Chunk, and yes he is the fat kid. Named “Chunk.” Not since Porkins in “A New Hope” has there been this lazy of a character’s name. He is, according to me, the script and Wikipedia, the klutz of the group.
And we see these are some bored kids, because they have the most elaborate way of opening the fence to their front yard: A series of “Mousetrap”-like doodads (technical term) that have a cause-and-effect style ting that causes sprinklers and bowling balls to get the damn gate open.
Either they are super bored, or Mouth has been on a coke binge.
Brown: This movie LOVES Rube Goldberg machines. Because of how many are in One-Eyed Willy’s cave, I completely forgot about the one that opened the gate to the house. Which, we should mention, takes WAYYYYY more time than it does to A. walk over and open the gate for Chunk, or B. Chunk opens the gate himself. From this movie to Pee-Wee Herman’s breakfast machine, the ‘80s is defined by neon colors, hedonism and Rube Goldberg machines.
Also, this is where I mentioned that many times in high school, I did the truffle shuffle. I even did it during a pep rally. I was kind of an attention whore.
So, these kids are all Goonies, which is short for being from the Goon Docks in their small Oregon town. And they’re all about to move because a country club is trying to buy up all the land for a new golf course. All the talk about country clubs made me wish I was watching “Caddyshack.”
That said, I really liked all these kids. I miss ‘80s kid adventure movies where the youngsters swear like it’s PG-13 “South Park.”
Froemming: Well, they sneak up into the attic, where they have been told not to go. Why? Because Mikey’s dad seemingly has been stealing priceless artifacts from the museum he works at.
Nobody ever brings up Mr. Walsh’s crime looking back on this. Not me, the guy has a treasure map up there for (REDACTED) sake. And all sorts of items that should not be sitting in some weirdo’s attic.
Well, the kids discover (via making Chunk smash the frame because he is as clumsy as the script) a treasure map pointing to
Curly’s Gold One-Eyed Willie’s Gold. A treasure that has been sought in this part of Oregon for decades.
A treasure that would have been found by the sewer workers of the town a long time ago, but I digress.
Brown: It’s also a map that is all in Spanish, which Mouth is able to decipher. I call BS on that. There is almost no chance a pre-teen is that fluent when he lives in small-town Oregon.
Brown: But whatever, there’s an adventure to be had. So the Goonies tie up Brand and take off for a treasure hunt. But, Brand gets tasked by his mom — and this may be the only ‘80s movie we’ve watched where the parents are actually around — to get Mikey back home or he’s grounded.
During this, Brand should be killed. In one of my favorite moments, Brand steals Data’s sister’s bike with training wheels to race after the Goonies. And while riding down the road, a douche named Troy, who is riding in a car with two girls, Andy and Stef, grabs Brand’s hand and floors it. He’s going 45 MPH and then lets Brand go to ride off in gnarly speeds into the woods where I presume his life ends like Sonny Bono.
But no, Brand survives. And eventually kills half the universe’s population with a snap of his fingers. You could have been an unsung hero, Troy.
Froemming: This must have been one of the millions of failed attempts at stopping the Mad Titan that Dr. Strange saw.
So we meet Andy and Stef, who seem pretty chill with the attempted murder of Brand by Troy. For reasons they end up with the Goonies.
Brown: Well, Troy was using his rear-view mirror to look at Andy’s breasts and underwear.
Froemming: Anyway, our heroes are following this map and find themselves at decrepit old restaurant, where the Fratellis are whacking and storing their enemies like they are in “The Sopranos” or something.
Wait, Francis was in “The Sopranos”
Seriously, seeing a dead body in the freezer, all we needed was the piano outro from “Layla” away from turning this movie into “Goodfellas.” Being my favorite movie, I would have 100 percent been for this.
My question is, why are the Fratellis doing this charade with the kids at the restaurant where they are trying to serve them something? Just say, “Hey, you can’t be here. We are making renovations!” Then you don’t need to do this bit with the water and letting the kids use the bathroom.
Froemming: Well, they were kinda taken by surprise, so this family tries to kill the Goonies by serving them water from Flint, Mich.
And while the kids are terrified by a gang of lunatic Italians that sing a lot, Mikey heads down to the basement, where he sees chained to a wall a creepy, slobbering
Eric Trump monster-looking man who is being tormented by his greaseball brother Donald Jr. Jake. Mikey is rightfully frightened and runs upstairs, where Brand (who survived the impossible, so Time Stone?) is and has to take them home.
So they leave. But, alas, breaking-and-entering is not on these kids’ moral compass.
Brown: They need to save their parents’ homes so they aren’t separated! They don’t want their homes demolished for a country club. The Goonies can’t let Ronald Reagan’s America win! So when they come across a tunnel under the fireplace, it’s time to go treasure hunting!
And, because this is written by Steven Spielberg, this movie now becomes “Indiana Jones and the Treasure of the Phallic-Named Pirate.”
We get a cave filled with booby traps, two teenagers in Brand and Andy who are moments away from dry-humping one another but get stopped either by little kids or by Stef, who is the Anti-Barb from “Stranger Things.”
The first trap involves being crushed by boulders, which everyone is able to escape.
Meanwhile, Chunk’s goal to call the police hits a snag.
Froemming: Underground caves. Booby Traps. Short Round? Is this Spielberg’s apology for “Temple of Doom?”
Brown: I will say that Data/Short Round is a lot more tolerable when he isn’t surrounded by Willie.
Froemming: Chunk calls the cops, but like the boy who cried wolf, Chunk is the boy who called Iranian terrorists to the local PD. The officer does not believe him on the phone when he calls, so he sneaks out a window and escapes!
Brown: Chunk grows up to be the kind of guy who would call the cops on black people having a barbeque at a park, isn’t he?
Froemming: I’m surprised he didn’t call the cops on Data’s family for having one already.
Chunk runs off into the woods, hits the highway and flags down a car for help. What are the chances that it would be Jake and the family? As Chunk is being stuffed into the car, Jake starts singing again.
Look, like Jerry Seinfeld, I am not a fan of this singing business.
So they threaten Chunk with a blender and some vegetables. I thought at first they were going to force him to drink a healthy smoothie to break him down. Turns out it was a visual display to show what his hands would look like in there.
The smoothie would have frightened him more.
And they get him to confess. And he confesses to every bad thing he ever did. And they just sit there listening to him babble on like a weirdo. What the hell was that all about?
Brown: I don’t know, man. Maybe they’re being good Catholics? Maybe one of the Fratellis was a former priest who through a traumatic experience led him/her to become a lowlife like Rickety Cricket in “Always Sunny?”
Eventually, they decide to lock Chunk up with the chained-up monster that Mikey saw earlier. Apparently this monster just sits in a chair and watches old black-and-white pirate movies? Whatever.
It turns out that the monster is Sloth, the deformed brother of Jake and Francis. I do imagine that he is fed fish heads like Hugo, Bart Simpson’s evil twin. But Chunk wins over Sloth by giving him a Baby Ruth and it turns out, although he looks monstrous, Sloth has a heart of gold.
Eric Trump Sloth got the love he wanted from President Trump anyone.
Froemming: The Goonies are underground and are following Mikey because he keeps saying this is their last adventure together, being an emotionally manipulative monster, much like the main character from “Rudy” who guilt trips Notre Dame into letting him play college football.
Boy, Sean Astin was typecast a lot in the roles he has played. I mean, even his character in “Stranger Things” is pretty much grownup Mikey.
So while underground, the Goonies find the corpse of a explorer who was looking for this treasure and I must say, these kids take it pretty well upon discovering a DEAD BODY. Not only that, they give it a wallet autopsy to find out who it was.
The Goonies are sociopaths.
Brown: Yeah, they are sociopaths. They were OK for a while with stealing peoples’ dreams. They survived falling rocks, they got through a swarm of bats. Data used a pair of fake teeth and a Slinky to survive a pit of spikes. They find themselves in what turns out to be a wishing well, thinking it was One-Eyed Willy’s treasure. Guys, I could see Lincoln’s face on the penny immediately.
Froemming: Fun fact: This movie inspired my buddy and I as children to take money from wishing well. We’d say “These are people’s wishes!” Then laugh and head to the store to buy candy.
I was a terrible child.
Brown: You were Junior from “Problem Child,” weren’t you?
Froemming: Like you were a saint growing up.
Anyway, while stealing wishes, they hear Troy and his gang of yuppies at the well above and yell for help. This is where Mikey once again emotionally manipulates his friends in hanging out with him on this ridiculous journey and instead of sending up Andy, they send up her jacket.
So she was dating Troy? I thought she was going to go on a date with Brand?
You know what? I don’t care, let’s move this along.
Brown: There is two more obstacle the Goonies get through. First, they cross a log over a stream, which is slick enough. Data, who is apparently bullied so much that he turns himself into Inspector Gadget, puts oil on the log to make it essentially a death trap. Then, they have to play an organ made of skeletons (?!) and hit the right musical note or else they’ll fall into a pit of spikes.
Look, Spielberg, if you wanted to make another Indiana Jones, you could have called up George Lucas and done it.
Froemming: *remembers “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull* No, no, do not ever do that, Steve.
Also the skeleton organ thing, that seems like something Glenn Danzig would have in his house, along with sprinklers spraying blood.
Good for the Goonies that Andy sort of knows how to play piano, which makes her the chump here to tickle the keys made of human bone. She gives it the old college try, which almost kills them all. But she figures it out. Meanwhile, Data had a boxing glove pop out of his jacket, temporarily knocking out out antagonists.
So the Goonies enter an underground cavern that is (REDACTED) huge, big enough to keep a pirate ship in. How the city maintenance workers never found this is puzzling. We saw the wishing well and all these traps, so when a water pipe breaks, plumbers have to risk their lives to fix them down there?
It makes zero sense.
Brown: I’m also baffled that after all these treacherous traps and Rube Goldberg machines, One-Eyed Willy decided that “You know what? If you got this far in my hellish caves, you deserve a fun break. Here, take a water slide to my pirate ship!”
One-Eyed Willy had to have been a seventh grader.
So the Goonies scale the pirate ship and come upon a room of gold doubloons, jewels and jewelry where One-Eyed Willy’s skeleton rests. They make sure to leave some for Willy, but they all have their pockets lined with treasure… Until the Fratellis show up and hold up the Goonies.
… Why not just shoot them? It would go unsolved. They were the only ones to ever reach the treasure? If I’m to believe movies, the ‘80s was filled with absentee parents. No one would have noticed.
Froemming: They decide to drown the kids by forcing them to walk the plank, which is (REDACTED) psychotic
Brown: Also, really dumb because all the kids seem to know how to swim.
Froemming: Well, most of their arms are tied, which makes swimming difficult. They do not tie up the oldest and most likely to fight them off with Brand. He jumps in to save Andy and then Sloth and Chunk show up, mimicking the pirate movie they watched as they shard that Baby Ruth a while back.
We joke that Sloth is like Eric Trump. That’s not true, people like Sloth.
Sloth throws his family into the water and our heroes find a way to escape with dynamite. Data has been carrying old, volatile sticks of explosives this whole time. Which if “Lost” taught me anything, they would have been ten times dead by now.
Brown: The dynamite, combined with a final trap from One-Eyed Willy, rocks the cave. All of the Goonies manage to escape and are found by a pair of cops combing the beach (or something).
The parents are relieved to see their kids, but the rich country club folks are also there to make Mikey and Brand’s Stephen King-looking dad to sign the deed over. But, some luck! The Fratellis didn’t steal a marble bag full of doubloons. They have the money to tell these rich guys to make like an egg and beat it!
Froemming: What did this adventure cost the country club?
And as everyone reunites and celebrates the children being found/a ticked off country club, Chunk just ups and tells Sloth that he is going to live with him.
Chunk, I am 100 percent sure your parents are not going to let a full grown man with obviously physical and mental issues to sleep on the couch. Sloth has years of therapy to deal with his family not only dropping him on his head multiple times as a baby, but keeping him chained in a basement and serving him moldy food.
Oh, and Data says they fought off an octopus to the media. Unless you were watching the Disney Channel TV edited version of this movie, there was no (REDACTED) octopus in this movie. Data is turning this sleepy small town into a den of LIES!
Brown: Hopefully those reporters question his #FAKENEWS.
Let’s go to recommendations before Mikey guilt trips us into finding certain death.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Brown: This movie was a lot of fun. This was one of those movies where I didn’t take many notes because I was sucked in. I wish more movies were like this.
Froemming: Yeah, it is a fun adventure movie. There are little references and easter eggs to other Spielberg films and I still enjoy it.