If there is one movie that captures what it’s like to be a kid – the alienation, the desire to be taken seriously, the need for independence, the camaraderie between good friends – it’s The Goonies. Steven Spielberg, ever the wonder-child himself, managed to pull together the perfect cast, storyline and visual experience in one glorious package. So much so, in fact, nearly 30 years later, parents are still turning their kids onto the adventure of a lifetime.
Goonies fans are so devoted that they salivate at the thought of a cast reunion, and if a new movie was ever made, they’d surely find themselves let down. Nostalgia has a way of promising more than it can deliver. But we will always have the movie, and the wonderful world of those silly-ass children.
As goofy as those kids were, as fantastic as their adventure may have seemed, there was a lot of wisdom there, too. Here are five quotes that say more about childhood than the cast — or Spielberg — may have realized.
1. “That’s all over the second we ride up Troy’s bucket.”
At one of many challenging points along the route to One-Eyed Willie’s treasure, diminutive gang leader Mikey makes a stirring speech that peaks with the phrase, “Down here it’s our time. It’s our time down here.” At a juncture where Goonie morale is low and the chances of never finding the treasure seem high, Mikey makes a speech worthy of Vince Lombardi. In so doing, he drills to the core of what it means to be a kid. Childhood is short, and soon enough we are all commanded to join the rat race or be cast out. The Goonies, of course, have been outcasts all their lives, and they aren’t about to conform to the demands of the nasty bankers and lawyers poised to take away their homes. Says Mikey, “Goonies never say die.” To ride up Troy’s bucket would be to give up on everything they’ve worked for.
2. Chunk’s Confession
Consider Chunk’s entire confession one long quote about childhood guilt. If all of us only had a chance to spill our guts, to lay bare everything that we ever felt bad about doing, we’d see that none of it was that bad and all of it was forgivable. Too many of us carry childhood guilt into our adult lives, and continue to suppress our real feelings fearing we’ll be judged too harshly. Chunk, at the hands of the Fratellis, lets it all out. And he’s more powerful and more confident as a result.
3. “Goonies always make mistakes.”
As Andy prepares to strike the last chord in on the cryptic musical chart on the back of the map, one that could either send the Goonies on the way to One-Eyed Willie’s treasure or send them tumbling into the abyss, Mikey offers a bit of encouragement. Kids always make mistakes, and too often feel bad about making them. Newsflash parents: Adults make mistakes, too. A whole lot of them. Mikey says it best: “Andy, I believe in you. Goonies always make mistakes.” Of course, this is tempered by the cautionary line, “Just don’t make anymore.”
4. “Data’s getting flat tired of falling and getting tired of skeletons and you guys telling me I have stupid inventions.” (At 2:27 in this video compilation.)
What isn’t covered in this quote by inventor Data? Here he addresses failure (falling), childhood fears (skeletons) and ridicule (“stupid inventions”). He goes on to bemoan the fact that he works hard on his inventions, and though they may not always work right, he puts his heart and mind into every one. Of course, his own malfunctioning inventions help slow down and eventually defeat the bumbling Fratellis, who are themselves a collective metaphor for the specter of adulthood that pursues the Goonies throughout the film.
5. “I love you, Chunk”
In a grand gesture of kindness, Chunk invites deformed but loveable Sloth to live with him. Oddly touching, we immediately get it: The fat dumb kid and his special friend are really two genuine, caring people who use their intelligence and inner strength to save their Goonie pals. If parents don’t seize upon this moment to promote tolerance, acceptance and love to their children, they have missed out on, really, the whole damn point of the film.