The Goonies turned 30 years old over the weekend, so be prepared to hear an influx of shouts of “Hey you guys!” during your water cooler conversations this week. This energetic, sentimental film has only increased the size of its following over the last three decades, thanks to a timeless message that’s just as relevant to viewers of all ages now as it was in 1985. I wasn’t born until two years after The Goonies was released, but I was introduced to it along with other 80s classics like E.T. and The Breakfast Club, which sit squarely alongside The Goonies as films that tell an important story about friendship and equality that needs to be continued to be told to every child and reminded to every adult today, tomorrow, and every day after that. This treasured adventure film teaches lessons we all need to learn, so today let’s take a look at the most essential ones The Goonies has to offer.
Goonies Always Make Mistakes
Even though the term Goonie is used by the bullies and the cool kids as a connotation for the weirdos or outcasts, our favorite group of misfits doesn’t see this word as an insult. They wear their Goonie badge proudly, living by a code that defines and identifies who they are and how they spend their time together. When Andy is tasked with playing a series of notes on an organ riddled with human remains, she cuts pretty close to the wire, hitting almost one too many false notes that could lead the gang to an untimely death. But instead of criticizing or putting pressure on her, Mikey reminds Andy that “Goonies Always Make Mistakes”. This group of kids proves time and time again that they’re more than just a bunch of kids who don’t fit in, recognizing that nobody is perfect, and that the best encouragement we can give one another is support. Goonies aren’t the outcasts, they just care enough to accept everyone for exactly who they are.
Parents Want the Best Stuff for Us
We’ve all been unhappy about a decision our parents have made. Many of us have had to move away from our friends at one time or another, most of us have been grounded or had privileges revoked, and all of us have thought at some point in our lives that we know better than they do about what’s best for us. Although the entire reason these kids have embarked on this treasure hunt is to find a way to keep their homes so they don’t have to leave each other and start over, Mikey displays his most astounding moment of wisdom when he gives his speech about their adventure being “their time”. He exclaims to his friends that “…they got to do what’s right for them. Because it’s their time.” He recognizes and teaches us that parents have to make tough choices, and although sometimes we may not understand them, we always have to trust they’re doing what’s best for us.
You’re Never too Old to be a Goonie
Andy, Stef, and Brand are late arrivals into the Goonies, evolving from reluctant recruit to enthusiastic member by the end of the film. Andy, who remains on the fence until finally facing the facts that popularity doesn’t mean everything, is a reminder that it’s ultimately up to us to choose who we surround ourselves with. There’s no age limit to being a Goonie. Chunk shows what being a Goonie is all about when he embraces Sloth, even offering to bring him into his family, because Goonies never say die, and they never leave anyone behind. Being a Goonie means friendship, love, and acceptance, and I’m proud to say I wanted to be a Goonie the first time I watched this film, I’m a Goonie now, and I can only hope I’m still one in another thirty years.