Monday, June 28, 2010

Back Blu-Ray Future! (OK, it's a stretch)

Universal Announces Back to the Future Trilogy Blu-Ray (from /Film):
"After many years of waiting (and one convincing headfake back in January), Universal has finally confirmed in a press release that the Back to the Future Trilogy will be released on Blu-Ray on October 26, 2010. It will be sold as the “25th Anniversary Trilogy” and will also be available on DVD. Details about the box set after the break."
Man, I was really hoping I wouldn't have to buy a Blu-Ray player any time soon.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hey! You! Guys!! - Goonies 25th Anniversary Road Trip (Part I)

WARNING: If you have no interest in The Goonies, dear God, don't read this post. Seriously. It'll take, like, a week to wash the smell of geek off of you.
It was the most amazing thing I ever saw!

Last weekend marked the 25th anniversary of the release of The Goonies, a Richard Donner film about a group of kids in Astoria who find a treasure map in an attic and then embark on an adventure to go find "the rich stuff" so they can prevent their neighborhood from being turned into a golf course.

I was 11 when this movie came out and, I'll be honest, I wasn't sure I wanted to go see it.  It actually looked pretty scary.

They only person I knew who had seen it was my aunt.  One day I overheard her discussing it with my mom.

"I didn't like it," she told her, "It was too violent and there were too many skeletons and violence. And the mouths on those kids! So much cussing!"

Well, now I HAD to see it.

So I did.  And I loved it.  It wasn't scary at all.  The kids in the movie were only a few years older than me and it was so rare to see kids acting the way my friends and I usually would when there were no adults around: laughing, cussing, going on adventures.

Cut to 25 years later and it's time for another adventure.  Somehow, miraculously, my brother and I both ended up with a Sunday off at the same time so we planned to head down to Astoria for the 25th Anniversary Celebration.

I awoke early that morning to the sound of pouring rain.  This wasn't a surprise - it's the Pacific Northwest - but it was a bit of a bummer.  I tried to convince myself it would add to the atmosphere of all the pictures I would take.  Still, the day before had been so nice...

Anyway, my brother Ken picked me up in his truck at around 7:30 a.m.  First stop: Starbucks.  As we waited for our coffees to be Clover-brewed, the barista made idle chit chat.  I was much too excited to keep our trip a secret.

"We're off to Astoria today for the 25th anniversary of Goonies!"
"You are?" she asked. "Is that this weekend?"
She thought about if for a second and then, in awed reverence, she said, "Man, that's awesome.  You guys are so lucky!"
"I know, right?"
She handed me my coffee then shook her head. "Man.  My boyfriend is going to be so jealous."
"As he should be!"

Once Ken had his coffee, he went to grab some napkins and sugar.  As I waited, I overheard the barista go over and tell the other baristas what our plans were for they day.  They all reacted in much the same way, agreeing that Ken and I were the luckiest people on earth.  I turned around and raised my coffee to them as a toast.
"We're off!"
"Have fun!" they all replied.
"We'll get you guys some tee-shirts!"
They all laughed and waved good-bye.
As we walked across the parking lot, Ken half-asked, half-stated, "We're not going to buy them tee-shirts, are we?"
"God, no.  I just paid 3 bucks for a coffee."

Once we were settled back in the truck, I pulled out my iPhone and connected it to his stereo.
"I've got some music to get us started."
I tapped play on "The Goonies 25th Anniversary Soundtrack" (Limited Edition!) and we pulled out of the parking lot to the sounds of Dave Grusin's "Fratelli Chase".

You can sample its awesomeness here:

The rain lasted the entire 3+ hour drive but Ken and I did a lot of catching up and - between my Goonies songs and his 80s playlist - we had some great music to keep us company.

Caution: Wet Roads and Sparkly Vampires
We arrived in Astoria around 11.  And the rain... had stopped.  (Score!)
Welcome to Downtown Astoria!
Even lucked out on a parking spot close to "The Goon Docks", the official headquarters of the Goonies weekend.

Good thing Troy's dad didn't tear this thing down.

Catchphrases and pictures of the Goonies kids adorned the windows.  A line of people boarded a school bus for the tour.  Ken and I walked into the creaky, wooden building to find ourselves surrounded by our brethren.  Dorks and geeks of every age milled about, snapping pictures and quoting scenes.

Along the walls were all the entries for the Goonies 25th Anniversary Art Contest.  My two personal favorites:

Mmm... Truffly Shuffly.
Subtle, and awesome.

We needed to get our bus tickets and, more importantly, tee-shirts.  A long line snaked its way out from the souvenir stand so we opted to get our Goonies gear first but, as we passed by the stand selling the event tickets, we heard those 2 dreadful words: "sold out".  Ken and I gave each other a panicked look.
"Are you guys all sold out of the bus tours?" I asked.
"All but the last one at 4 o'clock."
"We'll take two!"

Got 'em!

Once we had our tickets, we got in line for souvenirs.  There was a handwritten sign that listed the remaining items and shirt sizes.  Thankfully, they still had event tee-shirts in my size.  Remarkably, they were even selling tee-shirts for the 5K Truffle Shuffle which wouldn't be happening until the next morning.  Ken and I had debated on the drive out as to whether or not we should stay the night in Astoria (and, ahem, call in sick for work the next day) so we could run the 5K race with the Best. Name. Ever.  Wanting to be responsible adults, we decided it would all depend on how cool the tee-shirt looked.

And there it was: cool-looking AND available without having to get a hotel room.  Best of all, no running required.  Chunk would have been proud.

Been there, done that...
I bought 2 shirts and 2 pint glasses (one for my girlfriend who, unfortunately, had to work that day) and then Ken and I put all of our gear in the truck and set out to explore Astoria.  It was a Sunday so they had their street fair going on.

As Ken and I browsed, we contemplated whether Astorians loved or hated their Goonies legacy.  We imagined it was probably some sort of reluctant acceptance.  It may have been annoying to keep hearing the same quotes over and over again as well as seeing the same kinds of people every year but, hey, tourist money is tourist money.

So do we!

We then explored the riverfront.  It seemed that everywhere we turned offered us a view of the iconic Astoria-Megler Bridge as well as the crumbling remains of an old pier.

Astoria: a Scandinavian word for "place where there are a bunch of rotting docks".
The rest of our afternoon was spent chatting and exploring while we killed time until our tour.  We strolled along the trolley tracks and then grabbed some lunch at the Wet Dog Cafe.

Wave to the friendly trolley driver!
I also used our free time as a chance to Tweet and use Facebook (now that I actually had something exciting to Tweet and Facebook about).  Reactions ranged from "I am so jealous right now. You have no idea." to "I AM SO JEALOUS!!!"

Either we're in 1985... or heaven.
Eventually, we started hanging out near the Goon Docks at around 3:30 to wait for our tour to start.  The bus pulled up right at 4.  Couldn't remember the last time I was on a school bus.  Once we were all aboard, the tour guide introduced himself and the bus driver then welcomed us to the final tour of the Goonies 25th Anniversary weekend.

The bus driver and the tour guide (both who seem to have been in more movies than me).
As the bus pulled away from the Goon Docks, the tour guide said that, not only would we be visiting some major landmarks from the movie but we would actually get to go inside a few of them.  Ken and I looked at each other an beamed like little kids.

Ken, me and what appears to be a serial killer on the Goonies bus tour.
The tour started off with a bang.  We were heading to ultimate Goonies landmark: Mikey's house.  Along the way, the tour guide asked questions ranging from the obvious - What was Mouth's dad's job? (Plumber), What is Mikey's last name? (Walsh) - to the increasingly obscure - What was the name of the local paper? (The Astoria Ledger), What was the headline? ("Fratellis At It Again"), What was Mouth's real first name? (Clark).  Every question was answered correctly by at least 2 or more people on the bus.

We finally arrived at Mikey's house.  Strange to have instant recognition of a place I'd never been to before. Here's how it looked in the movie:

And here's how it looks now:

As you can see, they've painted it, remodeled the entry to the porch and removed the mailboxes as well as the Rube Goldberg-esque door opener.  But still... Mikey's House!

We grabbed a few quick pictures before going inside.  Once we were all gathered in the strangely familiar living room, the owner explained that she had bought the home recently when it was in foreclosure.  The house had been empty for several months before that and had fallen into disrepair.  In fact, when they moved in, there was a hole in the roof that allowed birds to keep flying through the house.

We made our way upstairs and she showed us some of the more famous rooms.

Here's a movie still showing Brand's room from Mikey's room:

Here's Brand's room now:

The weight set has been replace with a large cross.  And a teddy bear.
And here's Mikey's room now:

Looking back towards Data's house.
Here's a movie still of Data using a zip line to get to Mikey's house:

The screen door!  Oh no!
The owner then showed the entrance to the famous Walsh attic (which contained One-Eyed Willie's treasure map and the information about the famous missing Chester Copperpot but, despite what Mouth said, did not contain Mr. Walsh's sexual torture devices).

She explained that the attic that was used in the film was actually a movie set but, if we'd like, we'd be allowed to go up into the attic a few people at a time.

"IF we'd like", says the lady.

That look on my face? Pure joy.
Not a lot of room up in the attic, as you can see, but quite a view:

Ken, geeking out in Mikey's attic.

Since Ken and I were part of one of the first groups to go up into the attic, we rushed out and grabbed a few pictures of and on Mikey's patio while everyone was still inside.

Here's the patio then:  

And now:
You know what would be great here? A golf course.

Hero shot:
Me and my socks on Mikey's patio.

I include this movie still because Brand's outfit makes my socks look sensible.
The view:

The view of Astoria from Mikey's attic.
Astoria and Data using his zip line.
As we left Mikey's house to head back to the bus, Ken caught a picture of me revealing my 11-year-old self.

And the tour had only just begun.

COMING SOON: Goonies Post - Part II!!  Starring:

Andy's Football Field!!
Mouth's Sink!! (Or IS IT??)
Chunk's Window!!!

 Until next time, fellow Goonies...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Michael J. Fox!

Marty is 49 today!

Amazing.  He looks better than the 47-year-old version of himself in Back to the Future II. Gotta love Michael J. Fox.

Oh, and he's got a new book out, too!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned

You should totally buy it!