The inaugural LexGo Totally Awesome ’80s Film Festival kicks off Wednesday with the classic adventure movie The Goonies. Here’s an overview of the movie, made nearly 30 years ago and beloved by many Gen-X’ers.
The Goonies takes us back to a great era when Steven Spielberg made wildly imaginative, captivating movies about kids.
In the 21st century, we are used to Spielberg as the weaver of epic tales, from his most recent about our 16th president (Lincoln) to past forays into World War II (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List).
The 1980s were the playground where Spielberg made the kid- centered classics E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and captured a generation of young imaginations.
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The Goonies, released in 1985, was not directed by Spielberg — that job went to Richard Donner of Superman and Lethal Weapon fame. But Spielberg came up with the Raiders-esque story about a group of young people searching for treasure in an effort to save their homes from mean adults who wanted to build a golf course.
The writing was done by Chris Columbus, who would go on to work on other films featuring kids including the Home Alone and Harry Potter movies. (I highly recommend his other 1985 film, Young Sherlock Holmes.)
But The Goonies is classic kid-focused Spielberg, featuring a pre-Lord of the Rings Sean Astin as the underdog teenager who leads a big adventure. Other names we were getting to know in this film include Josh Brolin as the big brother, Corey Feldman as the Eddie Haskell-esque Mouth and perennial sleazy bad guy Joe Pantoliano (whom we will see again in the LexGo Totally Awesome '80s Film Festival as Guido the Killer Pimp in Risky Business on March 20).
Not only does The Goonies take us back to an era when Spielberg made movies about kids, it is the era before everyone was walking around with a small supercomputer in their pockets, a time when a kid had to really work for his or her amusement.
It might not be the most prestigious film to open our festival (that honor goes to the March 6 entry, Coal Miner's Daughter). But it is perfect for the job: It puts us in that time when pop culture was becoming more pervasive, society was more permissive of what kids were allowed to do, and there still was a sense of ingenuity and adventure that might prompt a kid to invent a Rube Goldberg machine to open a gate — something we see these days only in music videos by the band OK Go.
LexGo Totally Awesome '80s Film Festival
When: 7:15 p.m. Wednesdays, Feb. 27-March 27
Where: Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main St. Free parking in Transit Center garage; enter on High St. across from the post office or Calvary Baptist Church.
Tickets: $6; available in advance at the Kentucky Theatre box office.
Learn more: (859) 231-7924
Feb. 27: The Goonies
March 6: Coal Miner's Daughter
March 13: Ferris Bueller's Day Off
March 20: Risky Business
March 27: The Breakfast Club
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Talk about The Goonies and the other movies in the LexGo Totally Awesome '80s Film Festival on Twitter with the hashtag #totallyawesome80s