Tag: Richard Donner

December 16, 2014 / / Main Slate Archive


“I’m feeling really weird about tonight.”

Few Christmas films balance the magic of the holiday with being a good film. I watch certain Christmas films repeatedly because of nostalgia or to get swept away with the love of the season, but SCROOGED is different. SCROOGED is funny, touching, and satisfying.

The Goonies – 1985 – dir. Richard Donner

I’m a fairly serious film fan. Call me a cinephile, if you like, or go ahead and call me a film snob (I can take it.) I spout opinions and trivia like nobody’s business. I read heady, theory-based film criticism for fun. I get persnickety about aspect ratios. I can, on occasion, be a lot to take.

But before I was a cinephile, I was simply a movie lover, a kid who got high on the movies and gobbled them up voraciously, in whatever form I found them in. That often meant that they were formatted to fit my screen, and sometimes meant that they were unceremoniously censored; or interrupted by commercials; or jumpy and pixilated, subject to the dangers of broadcast television, the whims of the weather and the UHF signal. I was a child of the eighties and nineties, reared on videocassette tapes and the cinematic menus offered by local TV channels. (On WSBK 38 it was “The Movie Loft;” on WLVI 56 it was “Boston’s Big Screen.”) The effects of videocassettes and of TV broadcasts were similar: they lead to repetitive viewing patterns, and thus, fans who could quote their favorite films (and even some of their not-so-favorite films) at the drop of a hat. I grew up in a generation that didn’t just speak about movies; we actually spoke movie, exchanging remembered lines of dialogue in a kind of half-coded language. Movie lovers, like me, and like most everyone I remember growing up with, don’t just watch movies, or analyze movies, or judge them. They absorb them.

August 7, 2006 / / Film Notes

Written by Jessica Wilton

USA, 1985. 114 min. Amblin Entertainment/ Warners Bros. Pictures. Cast: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, Jonathan Ke Quan, Joe Pantoliano; Cinematography: Nick McLean; Editing: Michael Kahn, Steven Spielberg; Written by: Steven Spielberg, Chris Columbus; Directed by: Richard Donner

To truly appreciate The Goonies, you must imagine yourself transported back to 1985. Pediatric asthma was on the rise, shoulder pads were in, and pirhana-like business execs were poised to devour whatever survived of the sixties and seventies. The collective anxiety of Americans was overwhelming—we were afraid of terrorists, Russians, and stockbrokers. We were nervous about computers and robots. AIDS had just been identified, and Reagan reelected. It was a nerve-wracking time in a prosperous nation, a time when we needed Stephen Spielberg. He knew just what was needed to soothe our collective angst: pirate treasure, booby traps, ethnic jokes, and three stooges gags.