The Goonies


The ultimate in kid’s adventure movies!  Between this movie and Back to the Future, the summer of 1985 was one I have extremely fond memories of.  After seeing this movie, my brother and I immediately came home and started looking for...

The Goonies (1985)

Rated PG

Dir. Richard Donner, Warner Brothers

Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin, Ke Huy Quan, Josh Cohen, Martha Plimpton, Kerri Green 

A group of teens search for a pirate’s treasure to save their homes from being foreclosed on as they also try to outwit a trio of counterfeiting criminals.

Opening Thoughts

The ultimate in kid’s adventure movies!  Between this movie and Back to the Future, the summer of 1985 was one I have extremely fond memories of.  After seeing this movie, my brother and I immediately came home and started looking for buried treasure in the woods behind our house. We didn’t find any in our suburban backyard, but this movie is still a classic and a favorite years later. Our local cinema pub does showings of The Goonies every summer with gift card treasure hunts in the theater!  Classic!

This movie was directed by Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon, Ladyhawke, Superman: The Movie) and produced by Steven Spielberg, which makes for a really fun mix. It also features, by today’s standards, an all-star cast! Josh Brolin (Avengers: Endgame), Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings), Corey Feldman (Stand by Me), Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix), Anne Ramsey (Throw Momma From the Train), and Robert Davi (License to Kill).

Another super cool thing about The Goonies is that part of the movie takes place and was filmed at Cannon Beach in Oregon, which is also the setting for a favorite book of mine, Rooms, by a favorite author of mine, James L. Rubart! That has me doubling down on reasons to visit the area someday.

This week on the Men at the Movies podcast, we head out on an adventure to discuss The Goonies. What’s needed to live a great adventure? Fellowship of misfits who somehow all fit together. A sense of expectancy—“God, what do you have next for me?” Finally, a passion that refuses to take Troy’s bucket, realizing the adventure is the treasure. Goonies never say die—let’s discover God’s truth in this movie.

Check it Out Here!

Spoilers For The Goonies Below!

The Goonies are a group of misfit kids who live in the “Goon Docks” section of Astoria, and all of them are about to lose their homes to corporate takeover. Mikey, the unofficial leader of the group, on their last Saturday together, discovers an antique treasure map in his attic, and inspired by the pirate stories his father used to tell him, convinces his friends to go on “one last Goonie adventure” to try and find the “rich stuff” to save their homes.

The Goonies use the map to navigate all kinds of obstacles, such as falling boulders, pits of spikes, and an organ made of bones that they must play correctly to proceed. To make matters worse, they must keep ahead of a trio of counterfeiters, the Fratellis, who are also after the treasure.

The Goonies find the pirate ship loaded with treasure, but are captured by the Fratellis. They are saved by their friends Sloth and Chunk, but must leave the treasure behind to save their own lives. Reunited with their families on the beach outside the caves, they prepare to say goodbye for the last time, when an unexpected discovery brings just enough treasure to save their homes, and they don’t have to leave the Goon Docks or each other!

So What Did God Show Me?

-The Goonies are so cool. Seriously, what kid growing up didn’t want to be a Goonie? I love their camaraderie and loyalty to each other, and how each of them had their own special talent. I can understand how it must’ve been ripping them (especially Mikey) apart to separate and be forced to move away not just from their homes, but each other. So when they find the treasure map, it’s Mikey who immediately suggests they go and try to find the “rich stuff”. (BTW, who else is DYING to know what all their other “Goonie” adventures that Chunk references encompassed?) 

I can identify with Mikey (like many of the characters that Sean Astin plays!) because he, like me, is always up for an adventure. He’s got passion, and isn’t going to let anything stand in his way! He doesn’t let himself get bogged down with the details. It doesn’t bother him that they don’t even know where to begin. He doesn’t stop to pack a lot of supplies. He’s not even thinking about how dangerous it is. He’s just thinking about how he wants to take that unknown path and have one final epic adventure with his friends. 

Allen Arnold, in his book “The Story of With” (which I highly recommend) talks about living in expectancy vs expectation. Living in expectation will invariably lead to disappointment, because when we are expecting certain things to happen and they don’t, we are disappointed in life and in God. But when we have the attitude of expectancy, waiting to see what God will do, and what will happen, it’s like everyday is Christmas morning! This is the attitude Mikey has, the “C’mon let’s go find treasure, we’ll save our homes and it’ll be awesome!” And somewhere along the way, the adventure that he gets to share with his friends becomes more important than finding the actual treasure. This is what it means to do life “with” God, that it’s not about the endgame, it’s about the journey.

-Sloth, originally introduced as threatening and intimidating, is revealed as joyful and fun-loving, and he and Chunk quickly bond.  How many times has God put someone or something on our path that looks huge and terrifying, but is later revealed to be one of the best things that ever happened to us?  Maybe an unexpected pregnancy, or a job loss?  While there are a lot of things in our epic life adventures that can be originally seen as negative, hindsight shows how God’s hand is always moving and blessing, many times in ways we’re not expecting.

-The “Troy’s Bucket” scene is probably one of the most pivotal points in the movie. The Goonies have been through a lot already, and several of them are ready to get out and go home. But I love how Mikey points out that they have come further than the “pro” (Chester Copperpot) and that they still have a chance to find the rich stuff. Andi, who’s been cringing in terror the whole time, makes the good point that she’s afraid and doesn’t want to die. Mikey responds with the awesome mantra that Goonies “Never say die!” But Mikey makes an excellent point here. How many times in our lives has fear held us back from moving forward? My friend Susan and I reference “Troy’s Bucket” a lot when we’re faced with situations that would let us take the easy way out. Sure, you can choose the “safe” thing, but what are you giving up when you do? And what are you missing out on that God might want to do in your life? And what will you regret later?

Back in May I had the opportunity to go to the Rubart Writing Academy, where we had to submit a short story to be read aloud. I had one picked out, but as I was prepping it, I felt God nudging me to submit a different one, one that would cause me to be very vulnerable, which I did NOT want to do. For two hours I wrestled with God before I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be getting so upset if I wasn’t supposed to be submitting the story, because the enemy wanted me to stay in my fear. I faced my fear, kicked “Troy’s Bucket” aside, and submitted it. And God blessed it in ways I had never imagined!

-It’s ok to make mistakes. Goonies always make mistakes. I am still learning this every day.

-I love how Mikey is a young man of honor. He recognized that even after everything they had come through, the treasure they had so desperately been seeking wasn’t theirs. Even though Willie and the rest of his crew are long dead, Mikey makes the decision to show respect for Willie, by telling his friends to leave a certain portion “for Willie”. He shows true gratitude for Willie’s treasure and what it will do for him and his friends to save their homes. The honor and respect he shows to Willie ends up saving their lives! (As the Fratellis find out later when they help themselves and set off a booby trap.)

-Mikey and his friends feel like failures at the end of the movie, because after everything they’ve been through, everything they’ve struggled to achieve, “they had their hands on the future, but they blew it to save their own lives.” Mikey’s father hastens to assure him that having him and his brother home safe makes them “the richest people in Astoria”. In the movie novelization, Mikey comes to the conclusion that even if they didn’t get any treasure, the adventure itself was worth it, because they’d talk about it for the rest of their lives, and it was something that would always keep them connected. And even though he’s sad to say goodbye to his friends, having had that one last epic adventure was enough for him.

But, sometimes, because God is a good father who gives good gifts to his children, we get the treasure anyway! Mikey and his friends weren’t looking to get rich, (that would have made them no better than the “jerks”) they just wanted to save their homes, and that’s what they get…a small bag of jewels, just enough to pay off their mortgages so that they don’t have to move. And that’s enough.

Closing Thoughts

I want to close off with a couple of quotes. The first is something Mikey says in The Goonies movie novelization:

“So what I wanted to say was, if you try to take stuff that belongs to someone else, you don’t get what you thought you were getting, you get what you ought to have got. But if you take what someone’s trying to give you while you’re asking for what you thought you wanted, you end up getting a lot more than you knew was there in the first place.”

To echo another famous quote by the Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”

The Bible encourages us in Matthew 6:33 to “Seek the kingdom of God above all else, live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” In other words, go on an adventure, WITH God, and don’t worry. Just enjoy the ride. He’ll take care of everything else. 

Be a Goonie!

Drop your favorite part of the movie or your craziest Goonie adventure in the comments!


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