Why A Goonies Sequel is a Terrible Idea
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It’s a somewhat edgy kids adventure movie that they probably couldn’t make the same way ever again because kids can’t play outside anymore...
To hell with decorative gourds, it’s Goonies-sequel Rumor-Season!
Like a rotating variety of seasonal local fruits, every few months or so, a cadre of pimply, over-eager bloggers stirs up some not-exactly-confirmed rumors about a Goonies sequel. Each morsel of information is usually based on some misinterpreted hopeful line from an unrelated interview with a cast member from the original. This week, it’s Sean Astin in Tulsa World.
Here’s what Astin told the largest paper in a city that boasts the second tallest building in a ten-state swath of grass, buffet-based eateries, and sketchy casinos:
“I have said and will always say, that it’s not a question of if, but rather when the sequel gets made...The precise makeup of it, I have no idea...Whether I will be in it, no idea. Whether they would even want the original cast in it, no idea. But it doesn’t matter. It’s bigger — it’s actually bigger than everybody. It’s bigger than even Steven [Spielberg], who created it. It’s bigger than Richard Donner, who breathed such strong life into it. It’s now a part of American cultural lore, and the studio has a lot to gain from promoting it, so you can take it to the bank that people will get to enjoy it more.”
But before anyone dared to confirm Astin’s words as merely hopeful but canned commentary to a news outlet in the country’s 35th densest state, the sluice of Internet word clamoring went bonkers for a brief, fleeting moment. Not recognizing the digital permanence of their stupidity, or perhaps not caring and acknowledging the goldfish memory of 80% of content consumers, they raced to “confirm” all sorts of things. Hell, if you read off-brand, meant-to-be-easily-shared content mills, you probably believe that science found a way to revive both Anne Ramsay (RIP) and John Matuszak (RIP) from the dead and that Richard Donner just needs to find the original octopus and it’s all-systems-go.
It’s like the robot army of content aggregators has slipped a silicon brain disc, unleashing a trickle of bad puns and even worse references, “OOOH GOONIES SEQUEL! THE FUCKING TRUFFLE SHUFFLE! BLAH BLAH! CHUNK HEEEEEEEEEEY YOOOOOOOOU GUUUUUYS!" That trickle built to a torrent of “Goonies Stars Where Are They Now” to “The Goonies Sequel Is Going to Be A Musical?” to “How Hot is Chunk Now?” and that cascade washed out into the ocean of pointless nostalgia where its flotsam and jetsam will occasionally wash back ashore.
Astin, of course, backtracked from that tepid statement on his Facebook page with a more definitive tepid statement. ”I have always believed that there will be a Goonies Sequel, because Steven Spielberg told me in 1988 that he wanted to make one. Richard Donner has said that it is in the works. Warner Brothers is enjoying a very successful merchandising experience with the "title." If it gets made in my lifetime, I will root for it, whether I'm in it or not. If it gets made after I'm no longer here to be in it or to watch it, I still know in my heart, guts, wherever, that it will get made.” He then used the occasion as an opportunity to promote an event he’s doing for charity. Good for him.
There are a few facts: A possible Goonies sequel is currently in development. Richard Donner is listed as the producer. They are looking for a script as of June 30, 2015. It’s on IMDB Pro. That’s it. No one else has said anything of substance about it. No one has signed any publicly available papers that constitute legitimacy.
But in all honesty, do we actually really even need one?
For one, there is a growing movement of people who just plain hate the original Goonies. They seem to be from two distinct groups: rich heartless assholes under 35 and aspirant film critics trying to make their bones. The latter group does have some merit, of course. It’s not exactly a critically sound film. Why? I don’t have that kind of time, man, sorry. I will say that there are plot holes and junk. Some of the characters are kinda flat. Oh, and the person who was in charge of continuity should probably have been shot.
Suffice to say, it’s a somewhat edgy kids adventure movie that they probably couldn’t make the same way ever again because kids can’t play outside anymore. If you have warm memories of the original or playing outside sans parental supervision, you, much like me, will overlook its flaws and enjoy it for what it was. Moreover, you’re probably a happier person than most. Way to go. I’m with you.
Which brings us to the second question: Seriously?
Can you name a non-Batman-based revival sequel that actually worked? Like, really, legitimately captured the spirit, tone, and magic of the original? That gave you some of those nice feely-weely goosebumps that good cinema is supposed to? Be honest...
The answer is no. A really hard no.
Yeah yeah, we can make sci-fi and superhero movies with infinitely better technology now and there’s some really good stuff being done with all those fancy gadgets and doo-dahs with the computers and whatnot. But, bringing back people and characters for a typical Hollywood three-ring corpse-parade usually has nothing to do with the scope or limitations of the original body of work. Typing out the worst offenders of that ilk makes me cringe in ways I never thought possible: Blues Brothers 2000, Terminator Genisys, Indiana Jones 4 (a full title I won’t even dignify by spelling-out), and so many others.
The names roll out like an unraveling thread from the very fabric of American cinematic culture and remind everyone that we’re almost out of original ideas.
Those arguing for and excited by the idea of a Goonies sequel fail to realize is that nostalgia has a purpose...but only to a point. Going further than that point of, “Hey, those were fun times back then, weren’t they?” risks stranding people there. It risks feeding a whole culture of self-infantilization where the only forms of expression are self-reference. We may have gone too far already.
And, besides spending too much time babying ourselves and feeding our morbidly obese inner-children, nostalgic revival crowds out genuine risk and creativity -- and forces a race to revive things with money that could be used to make cool new shit. The $28,000,000 spent on Blues Brothers 2000 could have gone to fund any one of the amazing books or comic series that have yet to see screen time. The purported $128,000,000 spent on Indiana Jones 4 could have funded a new adventure serial with fresh ideas. Don’t get me started on what Ghostbusters cash could be doing right now other than furnishing second vacation homes.
Sadly, like the aforementioned revivals, Goonies 2 will probably get made. And the following scene will play out all across America:
INT. CAR. DUSK.
Moviegoing Person and Spouse are sitting in a clean white non-descript car with a spotless interior. They are clad in non-descript clothing. They have non-descript faces. Everything even, um, smells non-descript.
What shall we see at the local cinema this evening, spouse?
Oh, I don’t give a squat, non-gendered-and-non-belittling-nickname.
Yeah, I just want to stare at a glowing screen and comfort myself with a constant series of references that will attempt to reassemble the broken shards of my pre-adolescent innocence.
Indeed, I would like to suckle at the digital teat, also. So....Goonies 2: The Whatever Give Us Your Money?
As long as they scream “Heeeey yoooooou guuuuuuys” just once, I’ll probably be good.
Moviegoing Person and Spouse embrace.
In a way, what a sequel won’t likely capture in the spirit of the original is the exact problem with contemporary big screen cinema. Moving pictures used to be the palliative of bored working-class kids throwing caution to the wind and going on a picaresque enchanting adventure -- or just imagining they are.
A newfangled sequel, instead, will be some aspiring upper class fantasy where everyone has some new co-branded gadget and the casting decisions pander to another different United Colors of Benetton ad fantasy of good-looking moneyed harmony. In other words -- a sanitized unnecessarily PC hunk of cowflap. The kids won’t swear, sneak cigarettes or booze, or take a single risk, while the adults will be some milquetoast yuppie-nouveau d-bags who have all of their bills paid and are perfectly prepared for retirement. But hey -- Chunk’s kids are kind of chubby!
And then, when it does happen, of course, it will be an open invitation to the garden-variety "they raped my childhood" set. No one wants that.
So, if you’re lobbying for this thing to get made, take a long hard look at yourself. Really look. And then, like your childhood, let it go. Even better, give this generation a new story. They’ve put up with so much cash-grabbing nostalgic fake-tours-de-force. They deserve better.