The Goonies (1985)

The Goonies
Directed by Richard Donner
Writen by Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus
(number 386)

Corey Feldman’s autobiography made me want to watch this, all the stories about the filming of it, the fun he had on the sets and getting on with the other kids. It made watching it a bit more interesting, especially since Corey’s character Mouth is so incredibly great.

Tiny baby Sean Astin carries this movie as Mikey though, and he does a fantastic job at it.

The movie is frenetic, and not just because all the kids are pretty much yelling all their lines. The pace is intense, you barely have time to process what happened in one scene before they’re onto the next one. It’s also a genuinely silly movie, with Data’s odd gadgets, the big brother cycling on a tiny kid’s bike, and of course the incredible evilness of the villains.

I’ve avoided this movie (as with so many others) because I saw a tiny bit of it as a kid and it freaked me out. In this case it’s the baddies threatening Chunk with the blender. I still find it a very unsettling scene. It helped that Blair was laughing during it because of Chunk giving them his life story instead of what they wanted to know.

The movie sets are all great, so many caves and weird Rube Goldberg contraptions. This movie was intentionally designed to be the kid version of Indiana Jones, and I have to say it succeeds at that.

I have to say it kind of…maybe you need to have seen it as a kid first? Or.. I dunno. It felt a bit long and a bit… not obvious, exactly but not surprising. Maybe I had seen more of it than I thought I had. I didn’t love it. Maybe two flatmates wanting me to love it had the opposite effect? Maybe I’m a bit tired out from the work offsite to properly appreciate it? I just don’t know. It’s not one I’m excited to watch again.

I really enjoyed the start, the character intros and them messing around in the houses, but once they went underground I felt I liked it less. I suppose I wanted the story to be about the characters and not the traps, or maybe I just wanted something more like Stand By Me? Heh.

Does it make me love the people? Yeah it’s hard not to form an attachment to at least one of the Goonies. Mouth and Stef were probably my favourites.

Bechdel test: Yes! Andy and Stef talk a bunch, about how they should be leaving, how ridiculous it is that they’re underground, freaking out over dead bodies, etc. They also hug and touch each other a lot so I started accidentally shipping them.

Best line: Well, all of Mouth translating at the start for Rosalita was amazing.

Irene Walsh: I’m serious Brandon! That’s not funny. If he takes one step outside and you’ll be in the deepest, absolutely the deepest, shi, shi, shi…
Brandon Walsh: Shit ma!
Irene Walsh: I don’t like that language but that’s exactly what you’re going to be in.

and obviously…

Sloth: HEY YOU GUYS!

State of Mind: Not sure what everyone raves about, and feeling like a jerk for feeling that way.

Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins
Directed by Joe Dante
(Written by Chris Colombus and with a heavy producing hand from Steven Spielberg )
(number 318)

I pushed this one forward on the list because of Corey Feldman’s biography mentioned it and I don’t think I’d ever realised he was the young kid, Pete, who accidentally spills the first water on Gizmo and I was curious. Besides, it’s been a bit of a Corey Feldman week so y’know.

Gremlins is another one of these movies where I just have no idea how many times I’ve seen it. I do remember there was a huge gap though, between me watching it as a kid and a screening they did at the Embassy a few years back which I attended with some workmates and it was excellent fun. One of those whole audience involvement things and a couple of the Embassy staff dressed up for.

This movie was initially meant to be a pretty straight horror film, ruthlessly tearing apart the perfect suburban America that you’d see in movies like It’s a Wonderful Life . Stephen Spielberg reportedly put his oar in when the test screenings weren’t great, and insisted that the cute little Mogwai was a main character all through, and that more people survive. The result is an amazingly black comedy with hilarious action sequences. I suspect if it had remained a straight horror that it would have been relegated early on to the other schlocky beastie horrors of the 80s which everyone pretty much forgets about.

I love that the first fight scene with the gremlins is between the mom character, Mrs Harris and the gremlins in her kitchen. She kicks some serious ass, Ellen Ripley styles with the various kitchen gadgets. I’d say the microwaving of the gremlin is one of the more iconic moments from the film too, it’s certainly an image that stuck with me!

I like the evident fun they had with the scenes of the inventions conference, where the time machine from The Time Machine appears in the background (and vanishes in a subsequent shot) and Robby the Robot from Lost in Space is walked past. Also spot the ET doll in the department store sequence.

Does it make me love the people? Yeah the first part of the movie is dedicated to setting up the good people and the bad people, and the things that happen are generally by accident. The gremlins are definitely the real bad guys and they are literal monsters. Anarchy in the USA or whatever. You’re definitely rooting for Billy and Kate to win against the Gremlins.

Bechdel test: Yep, Ruby Deagle and Mrs Harris talk about needing more time to be able to pay the rent. Mrs Harris is a name, and it’s better than just being called ‘mom’ so I definitely am counting this as a win. Ruby is the mean old cranky cat lady who gets her come uppance on her chair lift thingie.

Best line: Well, it is tempting to put in the whole thing about how Kate hates Christmas, but it’s pretty bleak and depressing. This one’s pretty good though:

Kate: What’re they doing?
Billy Peltzer: They’re watching Snow White. And they love it.

and the subtle message of the film….

Grandfather: You do with mogwai what your society… has done with all of nature’s gifts. You do not understand.
[entire Peltzer family is speechless with guilt]
Grandfather: You are not ready.

State of Mind: Bright light! Bright light!!!

The Lost Boys (1987)

The Lost Boys
Directed by Joel Schumacher
(number 438)

Rachel and Lizzy came over to watch this with me. We all got very excited about the clothing.

I first saw this movie as a teenager, when my big brother Michael was in a phase of mostly coming out at night, wearing black and sunglasses if he had to be out during the day. We knew, we KNEW he wasn’t actually a vampire, but the similarities were a bit close for comfort.

Our lead character, Sam (Corey Haim) has to prove he’s not a fake geek boy to the Frog brothers, which is kinda funny. Imagine if they’d cast a girl to be Sam … and if one of the Frog Brothers was a Frog sister… oh my goodness. I think I’ll go and write a fic or something.

*clears throat* You can see the film is dated not just from the fantastic clothes but also from the lighting and the sound quality. It’s all terribly goth, with the vampire teens wearing awesome jackets and hanging out in an abandoned hotels with lots of candles and the girl is all gypsy.

Star is an interesting character, in the sense of…. she’s an amazing perfect interesting girl who is beautiful and interested in Michael, she’s shown as a mother figure (always protecting the youngest lots boy) and yeah she’s not interesting at all. She’s a totally predictable ‘girl’ character. Sigh.

Does it make me love the people? Yep. I love this whole entire movie. The baby Coreys, Kiefer, Mr Gilmore… and yeah. Lots of good memories associated with this film.

Plus we have some good theories about how the vampires get their shoes back on as they fly out, that Sam and his mother Lucy swap clothes. Lizzy is keen to know where the Frog parents are, and the back stories of all the vampires.

Lizzy: The plumbing in this house sucks!
Me: It’s vampire plumbing.
Lizzy: Why is the lighting in this room all red?
Me: Vampire lighting!
Lizzy: Vampire interior decoration sucks.

In terms of vampire lore the rules are a bit fuzzy – garlic doesn’t work, holy water does slow them down but only kills in tubs full. Stake through the heart is good but slow, and impaling with deer antlers in a homoerotic display of power works too. They can fly and they have some sort of mind control thing (making Michael see maggots and worms instead of Chinese food), but mostly they just look really cool and they make you want to be cool and join them by drinking out of their elaborately decorated ‘wine’ bottle.

This movie is cheese. It’s late 8os Goth cheese and it’s great fun to watch, especially with a few friends who you can crack wise about it with.

Bechdel test: Sadly, no. Star and Lucy are really the only females with names and they’re never in the same scene.

Best lines:

Sam: Don’t kill me, Mike! I’m basically a good kid!

Frog brother: Kill your brother, you’ll feel better.

Grandpa: One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires.

State of Mind: Hell yeaaaahhhhhhh!!!! I should also point out that after Stand By Me the other day I bought Corey Feldman’s autobiography and it’s really good.