This past Monday was the 25th anniversary of the release of one of my all-time favorite movies: The Goonies. In reflecting on the film, I began asking myself why I like the movie so much. Obviously there’s the adventure-centric plot and the memorable characters (Will you ever forget Data’s slick shoes or Chunk’s famous “Truffle Shuffle”?), but I realized there’s something less obvious about the film that also makes me like it.
Unlike many modern day family movies, the characters in The Goonies aren’t treated like kids. Not only do they cuss and fight and swear, but they also face some ridiculously dangerous situations. How many kids movies do you know where the lead characters are chased by a criminal gang, get shot at, nearly impaled, and almost drowned? You’re definitely not going to see anything like that in Hotel for Dogs…
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that The Goonies wasn’t the only kids movie with a high danger quotient. There are countless films from the 1980s where kids and teens routinely face imminent death – yet when we watch them today, nobody seems to bat an eye. How crazy is that?
So in honor of The Goonies 25th anniversary and my own personal desire to see more movies like the ones I know and love from my childhood, I’ve assembled a list of the Top Ten Craziest Kids Movies from the ’80s. An important note before I get started: I’ve only included films where the child characters would suffer real world deaths – fantasy world deaths (in a dream or imaginary world) don’t count. Obviously, there are spoilers below as well as some NSFW language based on the films being highlighted.
The Goonies (1985)
I already touched on some of the things that make The Goonies such a crazy movie above, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention perhaps the craziest thing of all: Sloth. Now, anyone who has watched The Goonies knows that Sloth is a good guy, but let’s take a minute to look at this objectively. Sloth is a monstrous man-child who has spent the majority of his life chained up in a basement. That’s not exactly the person you want spending time with a bunch of 13-year-olds. I’d hate to think what would have happened to Chunk if he didn’t have that Baby Ruth bar handy.
Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
Adventures in Babysitting is fun for a few reasons. One, it features a young and attractive Elisabeth Shue. Two, it features Vincent D’Onofrio 150 lbs lighter and surprisingly ripped. And three, it places two teenagers and an 8-year-old girl in countless ridiculously dangerous and life-threatening positions.
Over the film’s 102 minute running time, the characters are caught up in a shootout, hassled by a street gang, and chased by a group of murderous thieves. Of course, let’s not forget the film’s most famous scene where the 8-year-old hangs precariously from the roof of Chicago’s famous Smurfit-Stone Building. Realistically, the characters would have been killed or severely injured within the first 20 minutes. Come to think of it, one character actually is severely injured.