A Brief History of Movies in Astoria

Astoria ain’t just The Goonies. The little coastal town has a bizarrely huge footprint in popcorn moviedom; There are more big-name films shot in Astoria than in Portland. “The town burned down in 1922,” says McAndrew Burns, director of the Clatsop County Historical Society. “So we look like this perfectly preserved 1920s town. We can do river, we can do ocean. We can look like anything. Plus we’re willing to inconvenience ourselves to get movies shot here.”

Astoria Film Highlights

Short Circuit (1986)

Plot: A military robot gets all sentient and ends up in Astoria with Ally Sheedy, who loves animals and sentient robots.

Astoria on film: Sheedy's house is at 197 Hume Ave. The windmill is gone.

Characteristic exclamations: "Number five…is alive!" "No disassemble!"

Benji the Hunted (1987)

Plot: Benji gets lost at sea, and then scuba dives, and then adopts four cougar babies and tries to get them to a cougar mommy. Benji is a dog.

Astoria on film: Mostly it's the woods around Astoria, which inexplicably are full of grizzlies and wolves.

Characteristic exclamations: "Ruff ruff!" "Arf!"

Kindergarten Cop (1990)

Plot: Arnold Schwarzenegger goes to Bumfuck, Nowhere, to find a kid in witness protection, who is just so cute, and then save him from his grandmother.

Astoria on film: The school is John Jacob Astor Elementary, which is where the neighbors would prefer you park if you're walking up to the Goonies house.

Characteristic exclamations: "It's not a tumor!" "Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina!"

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)

Plot: Turtles. Are ninjas. OMG.

Astoria on film: The city acts as a stand-in for ancient Japan. Don't ask questions, it will only confuse you.

Characteristic exclamations: "Help! I'm a turtle and I can't get up!" "Schwing!"

Free Willy (1993)

Plot: Willy the orca—a vicious sea predator with a cute face—needs to get free. A little boy agrees.

Astoria on film: They played a West Coast sunset backward to get a fake East Coast sunrise. The bastards. Also, the spot where Willy goes free is the Hammond Boat Basin in Warrenton, across the harbor from Astoria.

Characteristic exclamations: "God, I hate that whale!" "Please, he's gonna die!"

The Ring Two (2005)

The plot: Naomi Watts moves somewhere creepy that turns out to be Astoria, and then a girl from a TV screen possesses her son and tries to kill her.

Astoria on film: Watts works at The Daily Astorian, which is an actual newspaper. But the part of The Daily Astorian is played by Pacific Coast Medical Supply.

Characteristic exclamations: "Mommy!" "I'm not your fucking mommy!"

Goonies Tour of Astoria | Oral History of the Goonies | Goonie Stars Then and Now |Goonie 30th Anniversary Events | Why's Cyndi Lauper Hate "Good Enough"? |Astoria Fish n Chips | Astoria Beer | Oregon's Biggest Films | Astoria Film History

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