Richard Donner’s The Goonies is the paradigm of ’80s movies that the generation of kids who grew up with it still love because it has the power to bring them back to their younger years. It’s easy to understand why, as the film tells a fun and exciting adventure story that delights children and grownups alike. It has suspense, mystery, and a group of misfit kids with a relatable goal: to protect the place where they grew up.
In many ways, The Goonies shares the same engaging qualities seen in the hit Netflix series Stranger Things. Like Hawkins, Indiana, in Stranger Things, the Goonies’ home of Astoria, Oregon, presents a mystery for its daring kid heroes to solve. And while Stranger Things may be different from The Goonies in tone, the parallels are strong enough that one can easily draw lines between the young characters from one and their analogues in the other.
Eleven – Sloth
Because Eleven and Sloth are different, they’re misunderstood, and it’s harder for them to navigate the world. Eleven’s being outcast comes from her telekinesis powers while Sloth’s is resulted from his looks. What makes these two even more similar is their kindness. When people get to know them, they show true empathy.
Much like Eleven initially feels a certain kinship with Dr. Brenner — after all, she does call him Papa — Sloth does with his brothers and mother too. It’s only in the end when he saves his new friends Stef and Mouth from being tossed from the ship and throws his mother overboard instead that he realizes his family is no good to him. Both Sloth and Eleven have haunted pasts, but because of newfound, solid friendships, they both have a brighter future ahead.
Mike – Mikey
Mike and Mikey relate in the sense that they coral the rest of the group together. When the audience first meets Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things, the party congregates at his house. In The Goonies, the audience meets each member of the group as they set off to Mikey Walsh’s house.
Mike is the driving force behind finding Will, even if it means they must recruit an outsider such as El. Mikey is the driving force behind solving the mystery behind One-Eyed-Willy and even continuing their journey to find the treasure when they come across an escape route via wishing well. The two share the same quality of delivering convincing speeches to bolster their friend groups.
Steve – Mouth
Steve and Mouth are both charismatic in their own ways. They can both be obnoxious at times and share a general loud arrogance yet their friends love them anyway. Steve and Mouth are the kind of characters who get away with it because underneath that sheen is a good heart. Fans love them because of, not in spite of, their exuberant confidence.
Another quality they share is their knack for sleuthing, their ability to follow maps and clues while using sarcasm along the way. Not to mention they both take pride in their hair. Steve gives Dustin discloses his secret tip of using Farah Fawcett hairspray while Mouth can never be found without a comb at the ready.
Jonathan – Brandon (Bran)
Like Jonathan Byers, Brandon Walsh is a protective older brother. He may pick on Mikey (but what older brother doesn’t) but the two share sweet moments of brotherly love throughout The Goonies.
While their personalities may differ — Jonathan spends his time in a photography dark room and Brandon spends his on exercising — they remind the audience that they when their younger brothers need them, they show up. In the end, it’s their reliability that matters the most.
Dustin – Data
When the audience first meets Data with his suction cup belt or his bully blinders, it’s hard not to compare him to Dustin proudly showing off cerebro in Stranger Things season 3. They both love gadgets and doodads and because they’re inventions of their own, the two are clearly very bright.
Both Data and Dustin can always be counted on when their groups are in a bind. Because Dustin is known to provide the audience with instances of comic relief, it’s also easy to see him in Data with his repeated mispronunciations of “booty traps.”
Max – Stef
Every main character needs a tough talking, tell it as it is best friend. In Stranger Things, fans see this kind of quality in Max for Eleven. In The Goonies, it’s Stef for Andy. Stef is the cynical friend to Andy who constantly serves as a voice of reason, questioning what they’re even doing down there in the first place.
It reminds fans a lot of Max in season 3 of Stranger Things when she takes Eleven shopping to remind her that there’s more to life than boys. Max and Stef share an almost feminist quality in their independence and belief of standing on your own two feet. Though the audience unfortunately didn’t get much of her, it’s also easy to see Barb from season 1 of Stranger Things in Stef’s strong exterior.
Dr. Brenner – The Fratellis
Dr. Brenner is a more sinister kind of villain in that he pretends to come from a good place. In his case, his poking and prodding of Eleven is for the greater good of science and technology. While the Fratellis are much more forthright in their villainous behavior — they’re simply thieves — they remind the audience of Dr. Brenner in their greed.
Whether it’s in the pursuit of power and money, both Dr. Brenner and the Fratellis are willing to sacrifice others for their own personal desires.
Tommy – Troy
Serving as a minor antagonist, Tommy and Troy like to pick on the underdog. Their status in high school takes priority over maintaining genuine connections and friendships with others.
While both are pretty harmless as far as bullies go, they both serve as obstacles that help other characters grow. In Stranger Things, Tommy helps Steve see there are other far more important things in life than popularity. In The Goonies, Troy is the catalyst for drawing Andy and Bran together.
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