Third Culture Goonies

June 7th, 2010 marked the 25th anniversary of the classic adventure film of the 1980s, The Goonies.

For those of you who have not seen this wonderful film, shame on you. For those of us who remember fondly, it was one of those films that had everything in it that compelled us to rent the movie multiple times so that our own copy would never wear out from multiple viewings because it was just that great of a movie.

The movie is a wild adventure starring a group of misfits who are out on one last adventure because they are about to lose their homes to real estate developers ready to demolish the land. Upon a chance discovery of a pirate’s map, the gang decides one last adventure before parting ways, maybe even a chance to find some treasure and save their homes. Along the way, they must deal with the Fratellis, a family of mobsters pursuing them through the trap-filled caverns on the way to One-Eyed Willie’s treasure, which happens to unfortunately be underneath the Fratelli’s hideout.

Where exactly did that charm come from? Well, let’s start with the fact that it had memorable, lovable characters who had distinct personalities and unique talents that made everyone important throughout the story, whether it was Mouth’s international tongue of trouble-making to Data’s crazy inventions, and Mikey’s “never say never, never give up” attitude that initiates their last adventure and sees them through to the end whenever they consider giving up and going back. Let’s throw in pirates, gangsters, and a giant squid if you saw the deleted scenes on the DVD extras menu, or the special television broadcasts that had that featured.
Wait a minute. There’s something there. Let’s think about it for a second.
The Goonies gang are a ragtag bunch of misfits who are misunderstood by everyone else, but stick together because they have each other. They are the only ones who understand one another, and for that reason, they are drawn together. They don’t judge others, they just don’t fit in well with others, and they are fine with it because they know they are different and make use of their uniqueness, as well as appreciating each others’ quirks. Wait a minute, are we talking about The Goonies or are we talking about Third Culture Kids?
Watch the movie with the idea in mind that The Goonies are Third Culture Kids. Our experiences are what shape us, but it is what we do with what we learn from this that shapes the world. We may not be like everyone else and we may not have the privilege of all being together in Astoria, Oregon, but we are connected beyond neighborhoods, generations, social classes, and country borders by our shared values and our experiences as Third Culture Kids. Life itself is the adventure, and we all have something to contribute to this world. Every day, we encounter our own adversaries like the Fratellis and random giant squids as we search for One-Eyed Willie’s pirate treasure and a way to a better life, to paradise.
Beyond being Third Culture Kids, we all have it in us to go on our own adventures in search of our own pirate’s bounty, because we are all Goonies. What is a Goonie? A Goonie is anyone who is willing to stand by his or her values and friends to go into the world and never give up or stick by a comfort zone, which is why Goonies go on adventures. Whether it is because you can do the truffle shuffle like Chunk or you have a big heart like Sloth, who you are doesn’t matter where you come from, but where you are going. It is not what we used to be or the sum of places we’ve lived in, but what we can ultimately do with what we have taken with those experiences.
So as Cyndi Lauper says that the Goonies R Good Enough, we as Third Culture Kids and as global gladiators can be something greater. So join in on the adventure and remember: you have something to give to this world, even if it’s knowing how to say bad words in eleven languages (Mouth), just like getting into trouble (Mikey), or know how to play only a little piano, which is better than nothing (Andy). Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to find out whether I can do the truffle shuffle to help pay my bills or save the world.
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