The Goonies are us.
Since 1985, every kid in Oregon has always known this—and not just because the film was shot in Astoria.
Sure, The Goonies is one of the most loved kids' movies of all time, a tale of young
Chunk and Data and Mikey "Rudy" Walsh hunting for One-Eyed Willie's pirate treasure while being chased by the nefarious Fratelli gang.
As The Goonies turns 30 on Sunday, June 7—soon to be celebrated by thousands in tiny Astoria with bowling-alley parties with Chunk, and sailing trips with
Sloth—it still hovers among the top 25 DVDs sold around the world each week. And year-round, tourists from as far away as Niger and Saudia Arabia and Tibet visit Astoria to see the Goondocks house and the bowling alley where Chunk smeared a milkshake on the window.
But the movie belongs to Oregonians, because it is Oregon. When the film was being shot in Astoria and Cannon Beach in the '80s (see here for an oral history), Oregon was a state full of misfits who stopped at the ocean. Except back then, nobody in New York or L.A. really cared that we were weird. We were just that place from The Oregon Trail game where everybody had dysentery.
And heck, just look at the movie's plot: It's a pack of nerds who band together to stop their house from being sold by greedy developers–and to stop themselves
from being forced to move to Detroit—by riding their bikes to a dive bar and indulging their obsessions with pirates. In Portland today, you could almost film it as a documentary.
But for a generation, The Goonies made being an outsider something to be proud of. As long as you have a heart of gold and a Baby Ruth and the help a gargantuan child-man dressed like a comic-book character, you're good enough, just as Cyndi Lauper very reluctantly sang.
In the immortal words of Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez, "The Goonies are a close-knit group. They believe in themselves, even though there are doubters
throwing darts at them outside. I posted that catch phrase a couple times, 'Goonies never say die.'"
Never say die, Portland.