'Goonies' fans descend on Oregon town to celebrate movie's 25th anniversary
Monday, June 7, 2010
ASTORIA, ORE. -- There is a compulsion, a yearning, a force that causes people to drive to this remote village, up the rocky coastline and through the hilly streets in weather that is almost always damp. They park near the olde shoppes and the gingerbread Victorians, walk to the cream house with purple trim, and then, as if fulfilling a destiny that has shaped every moment of their lives, they raise their shirts, they shake their belly fat, and they do the Truffle Shuffle.
"Oh, sure," says Regina Willkie of Astoria's Chamber of Commerce. "They all want to make sure they go to Mikey's house, do the Shuffle. It's just something that clicks with people."
This is devotion in its purest form, built on so very little, just a 114-minute movie filmed here and released in June 1985. Since, there's been almost nothing to fan the flames of fandom -- no resuscitated spinoffs, a la "Star Wars" or "Star Trek." Years ago there was a board game (but who bought it?) and a Nintendo game (but who still owns the console?). There are always talks of a sequel that will never materialize. Still the fans come, this anniversary weekend especially, to celebrate their love of "The Goonies."
* * *
"The Goonies" turns 25 on Monday. Goonies never say die.
"The Goonies" are . . . how to explain them if you were not born in the '70s or '8os, the sweet spot of obsession? They were a club of seven misfits, including a fat kid (Chunk -- forced to perform the indignity of the Truffle Shuffle on command), a loudmouth and a gadget whiz. They all went on a treasure hunt below the earth to find a missing pirate ship and to escape the Fratelli brothers -- cons who kept their mutant sibling, Sloth, locked in the basement, when all he wanted was a Baby Ruth.
A few years ago, when Willkie realized that people were coming from as far away as Japan to see the sites of the movie, she planned a 25th anniversary celebration. During this four-day extravaganza, the town's usual population of 10,000 has swelled to she doesn't even know how high.
All of the hotel rooms are full. All of the bus tours are sold out. The autograph lines for the cast meet 'n' greets are five hours long. Hundreds of fans trip blissfully from costume contests to quiz nights. It's like a stoner-free "Big Lebowski" fest. They greet each other on the street with "Hey, you Guu-uuuys!" -- the official greeting of the Goonies.
Anyone who understands the meaning of the Goonies -- friendship, adventure, awesomeness -- is, by definition, also a Goonie.
"She's totally a Goonie," Michael Morris says of his wife, Carolina. How does he know? "All the other girls are like, 'I want a big wedding,' but she suggested we come here." They traveled from New Orleans to be married Friday night on the Goonies beach. That is a Goonie move.
Brothers Jesse and Jeremy Horst drove across the country from Buffalo in homemade Chunk and Sloth costumes. That is a Goonie move.
At one point or another, all fans end up at the house inhabited by Mikey, played by a pre-"Lord of the Rings" Sean Astin.