Nostalgia Reality Check: Are the Goonies Still Good Enough?

Why do I remember Rowdy Roddy Piper as being more... dignified?
Publish date:
November 22, 2011
fashion, goth style, Halloween Costumes, bad nostalgia, goonies, the golden age of mtv

Lest I be inundated with irate comments, the headline for this post does not refer to the “Goonies” film itself; I think we can all agree that this story holds up brilliantly considering its origins as a goofy kid-driven romp in 1985. Remember when movies let 12-year-old actors indulge in really absurd sexual humor? Those were the days.

Also, did you know that Chunk is now an entertainment lawyer in his late 30? He’s all slender and handsome now, but back in the day, did I ever identify with Chunk and his put-upon, perpetual-outsider, oversharing ways.

What I really want to talk about is the video for Cyndi Lauper’s “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough,” the movie’s theme song, as it were, and a bit of pop culture history of which I have especially fond memories. The song itself was considered a rarity until 2003, as it was never included on any of Lauper’s albums or compilations. In the dusty years before filesharing and digital downloads, I had to special order an import CD in order to get a copy of it myself (someday, remind me to tell you of my hunt for a copy of “Goodbye Horses,” best known as the song playing in the background in the “I’d f*ck me” scene from “Silence of the Lambs” -- the lengths to which I would once go to get one freaking song, y’all).

Apparently the reason for this was that Cyndi Lauper hated the song, calling it "terrible" in an interview from the mid-90s, something I do not understand at all, as I have (obviously) loved this song near-obsessively for 20 years. That said, thanks to YouTube’s time-machine-like qualities I’ve recently revisited the video, and I have to admit: That hasn’t quite maintained the same sheen for me.

Technically, this song had two videos, the first premiering prior to the opening of the film, and the lesser-known second part showing up later. Both parts heavily feature many popular professional wrestlers, most of the cast from the actual film, and a plot that is pretty incoherent, not to mention some inexplicably frenetic editing choices. Why did I love these videos so much as a kid? Was it because they were completely deranged?

In part one, which has an extended introductory sequence before even getting to the song itself, Cyndi goes in search of buried treasure to save her parents’ gas station from foreclosure. Because it’s professional wrestlers, the acting here consists mostly of hoarse man-screaming and wild gesticulation. Also, check out the cameo by Steven Spielberg wearing smoked aviator glasses.

In the oft-forgotten part two of the video, Cyndi is captured, and then escapes with the treasure. With some help from Andre the Giant, she drives off the evil pro-wrestler creditors and takes back the gas station. If the band of female pirates in this part look unexpectedly awesome for a bunch of extras, it’s because they’re actually The Bangles.

Am I being unkind? I want to look back on these videos with forgiveness, keeping them in the context of their time, but really, I find them almost unwatchable now.

At least one thing hasn’t changed: I still want Cyndi Lauper’s mid-80s hair.