1985 in Film – The Goonies

Release Date: June 7th
Box Office: $61,389,680

So we sat down one day as a family to watch this with my son, for the first time I would assume.

Suffice to say as soon as the first ‘shit’ came out of the mouth of one of the Goonies my wife was less than impressed. More followed, as did the annoyed sideways glares. Here’s the thing: yeah, there’s swearing but this is in a film full of twelve year old boys so, to me, it feels true.

Thats probably the true success of this film, once you strip away all the pirate stuff and that. It’s film thats really about that gap between childhood and adulthood. Or even childhood and being a teenager. Spike Jonzes’ Where The Wild Things Are dealt with the same themes a bit more on it’s sleeve than here. But whatever you want to call that gap, thats what Goonies are which is why the swearing stands out.

Seriously, take the time to re-watch a lot of it’s contemporaries at the time at you’ll find most of them have a potty mouth; GhostbustersBack To The Future, all covered in shits and assholes if you will. Here there’s something almost innocent about the harsh language, maybe because they only really come out of the mouth of children. Children pretending to be more grown up than they really are.

The film is almost too much of a cult film these days, with its famous lines driven into the ground almost as much as “He’s a very naughty boy” which makes it hard to really look at the film. Do I like it because it’s a good film, or is it that nostalgia kicking in? The warm memories covered in the fuzz of a pirate VHS tape, whilst at the same time remembering that a band called themselves The Fratellis and wincing.

It’s undeniably fun, slotting in nicely in that eighties period of wish fulfilment family films. Which twelve year old kid doesn’t want to find a treasure map and go running off on an adventure with their friends and no adults? It’s a perfect plot with enough darkness to make it scary.

And I’m not talking about Sloth, I’m talking about Mama Fratelli; thin lipped, annoyed and quick to the knife, she’s a great monster to have lurking in the shadows. She makes the literal monster in the shadows seem sympathetic, the shot of her snarling as she strides down a dark passage truely nightmarish.

The rest of the film is a product of it’s time, from the hair to the crowbarred in pop music. The tales of the film are widely known along with the ultimate fates of the cast. What matters is the film before us is that good, it has been good enough to last thirty years and still retain enough magic to draw in new people, swearing or no swearing.

After all, a twelve year old that doesn’t say shit hasn’t lived.

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