We’ve spent some time celebrating The Goonies this month as part of our GUARDIANS theme, and all that reminiscing got us to thinking… and then, what did they do next? Where was the next adventure? The next awkwardly dated hairstyle?!
Some of The Goonies’ leads are active today in genre films, of course – Sean Astin went from The Shire to about-to-costar in the next season of Stranger Things, while bigscreen bro Josh Brolin is now both Thanos AND Cable, so, DANG. For the sake of nostalgia, let’s take a look at some of the 80’s (and early 90’s) highlights after they saved the Goondocks from the grubby mitts of capitalism…
Goonie Featured: Sean Astin; also starring: Wil Wheaton, Lou Gossett Jr., Keith Coogan, Jerry Orbach
There’s something to be said for a film that manages to merge the sensibilities of School Ties with Delta Force, and if that’s your bag then boy, Toy Soldiers is calling your name. How are a group of terrorists going to corner America’s elite exactly where they want them? By holding their prep school progeny hostage, of course! They didn’t bank on said kids being a bunch of delinquents, though, and these rich-boy hooligans are ready for action. All you otherwise need to know is that the artist formerly known as Mikey Walsh has an impressive six pack, and bad boy Wheaton’s like “Gordie WHO?! Wesley WHAT?!” Shhhyeah! (NOTE: Not to be confused with that Martika song, or Small Soldiers which is an entirely different film, yo.)
Goonie Featured: Kerri Green; also starring: Corey Haim, Charlie Sheen, Winona Ryder
In light of the untimely death of Haim in 2010, Lucas has become “That one Corey Haim movie that is incredibly hard to watch now.” He was so young, and so incredibly effective as a brilliant but awkward geek who wethers intense bullying to woo his cheerleading dreamgirl. She’s played by ex-Goonie Green, perfectly cast as the crush who isn’t a shallow mean girl and does truly care about him, just not that way. Oh, and Sheen (and presumably his tiger’s blood) is there too, and so is an adorably wee Winona in her screen debut as the shy girl who pines for Lucas while he’s off trying to be the hero that their high school deserves. An underrated classic.
Goonie Featured: Martha Plimpton; also starring: River Phoenix, Judd Hirsch, Christine Lahti
To be fair, there really isn’t much about this melodrama by the great Sidney Lumet that dates it at all… except for the key plot thread that involves the Vietnam War. Phoenix – who earned his first and only Oscar nomination for this, and well deserved – is mesmerizing as a smart, promising teen yearning to escape from a chaotic home life, his parents (Hirsch and Lahti) having been on the run from the law for an anti-war protest gone wrong since he was in diapers. Plimpton, who was Phoenix’s real-life girlfriend at the time, is great as the girl whose companionship underscores a future that is just beyond his reach. No jokes here, guys, it’s just a really good movie worth re-discovering! (TRIVIA: The screenplay was written by Naomi Foner, who is Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s mom.)
Goonie Featured: Josh Brolin; also starring: Robert Rustler, Pamela Gidley, Sherilyn Fenn
Here’s the thing: Thrashin’ isn’t a great movie. It’s not even the best SoCal-based-skateboarding-movie-featuring-rad-grinds-courtesy-of-legends-like-Tony-Hawk. (That honor goes to Gleaming the Cube, starring Christian Slater… who sadly isn’t in The Goonies, so that’s another blog for another day.) What Thrashin’ is, is infinitely watchable as a primo slice of 80’s nostalgia, complete with a vintage Red Hot Chili Peppers performance as the centerpiece of an excellent soundtrack. (TRIVIA: Johnny Depp was originally cast in Thrashin’ by the director, but the producers rejected him. Meanwhile, Brolin turned down the lead in 21 Jump Street which went to… Johnny Depp. Things happen for a reason, folks.)
Goonie Featured: Corey Feldman; also starring: Meredith Salenger, Corey Haim, Jason Robards, Piper Laurie
Obviously, the next things Feldman did after Goonies (Stand By Me, The Lost Boys) were pretty big in their own right. The teen magazine-shifting juggernaut that was The Two Coreys was well underway in the late 80’s too; Dream A Little Dream was their third film together, after Lost Boys and License to Drive. Yet this strange nugget of 80’s teen angst – in which Feldman woos popular girl Salinger with the magical powers of his Michael Jackson impression, while Haim provides comic relief and then somehow, simultaneously, there’s a also body-swapping Freaky Friday plot involving kindly seniors Robards and Laurie (?!!) – is worth revisiting just to marvel at how it ever got made in the first place.