Well, it’s officially here, the 25th anniversary of the Goonies. I feel kind of lucky that I was more or less at the perfect age for a flick like this (I was seven, just about to turn eight) where I could both identify perfectly with the gang. Not only was I close in age to Data, Mikey, Chunk and Mouth, but I’d also just moved for the first time when I was old enough to be aware and to have hated the feeling of leaving behind friends and a comfortable neighborhood. It was also the first in a string of similar movies with a group of adventuring kids that helped define my sensibilities at the time (including the Monster Squad, SpaceCamp, the Explorers, and Stand By Me.)
One of the things I’d like to point to before I get into the this last celebration post is a fan-made documentary that was created in conjunction with the 25th anniversary event that was held in Astoria, OR this past weekend. Called The Making of a Cult Classic, this short film looks like it’s going to be an essential addition to any Goonies-centric collection. You can watch the trailer and order a copy of the flick here.
One of the coolest aspects of the internet when it comes to nostalgia is the wealth of obscure information that gets floated around. I can’t thank Sara Turner (of Cricket Press) enough for pointing me to a set of Drew Struzan’s Goonies poster variations…
I really dig these for a number of reasons, the main one is getting a chance to sneak a peek into Struzan’s process when it comes to illustration. Sara mentioned this in her e-mail, that it’s really interesting to see Struzan changing up the line-up of the kids hanging off the stalactite, and it begs the question of how he approached it from a storytelling perspective. On the one hand, he had to decide which of the kids should be front and center, not just as a main character from the movie, but in terms of the crazy situation he’s decided to draw them in. Realistically it makes sense to have Brand as the leader in the chain because he’s the oldest, strongest and for all intents and purposes the most capable of the bunch.
But what I find kind of fascinating is how to continue the chain from there. Would it make more sense to have Mikey next seeing as they’re brothers and Mikey is the defacto leader of the Goonies? Nope, instead he chose a theme of burgeoning relationships within the group and he added Andy next. He also managed to keep the rest connected in a similar manner with Data and Chunk together (they’re probably the most independent in the group and would make a great duo), Mikey and Mouth connected (sort of the 1st and 2nd in command personality-wise) while also keeping Mouth and Stef together since they sort of have a “thing” in the flick. Overall, it also makes a bit of sense to have Stef being up the rear as she’s the least connected to the overall group (since she’s Andy’s friend who is only hanging out with the group to be near Brand.)
So it’s kind of neat to get a glimpse into the rest of the possible variations (at least the variations of a character at the top of the chain.) Struzan, overall, decided to keep the theme of inter-character relationships when rearranging the various chains. With Mikey on top, Mouth comes next, followed by Stef, Brand, Andy, Data and Chunk. Personally, I think I would have switched out Brand and Andy, showing that Andy is connected to both Brand and Stef, but that’s just me…
Even though having Mikey on top is probably the most sensible alternative to Brand in terms of story, I think the poster with Mouth on top makes a lot of sense from a business perspective. Corey Feldman was probably the most accomplished of the Goonies when the flick came out and would probably have had the most face recognition (even though Josh Brolin did have the Brolin dynasty thing going on since his father was in the limelight with shows like Hotel and a string of popular flicks.) It’s weird that again, Struzan kept the basic chain in order with Brand coming after Stef and before Andy.
Keeping this chain in mind, the Data variation is kind of interesting from a story stand point. This is the one version that keeps all the core Goonies together. I also like that Struzan played around with the rubble a bit and threw in Data’s spy peepers and possibly his compass as well…
Even though the Brand variation of the poster became the main theatrical version, all of the other made their way into print in the various newspaper announcements in the theater section. Im not sure if these variations were handed out to the same papers so that they could choose or so that they could change it up each week of the flick’s theatrical run, but it’s neat that they all eventually made it into the public.
Well, that’s it for the Branded in the 80s week-long Goonies celebration. There are only two more years until the 25th anniversary of the Monster Squad rolls around, so I’d better start putting something together for that!