Friday, January 18, 2008


So I'm deeply contemplating The Goonies (as I have a tendency to do), and it suddenly hits me:

What's the deal with Stef?

The Goonies does a better-than-average job of making relatively effective use of nearly all its protagonists. Each "goonie" has his or her important role and/or time to shine during the course of their pirate treasure hunt. Mikey provides the motivation. Brand brings the muscle. Mouth translates the Spanish. Andy plays the skeleton pipe organ. Chunk frees Sloth. And Data uses the pinchers of peril to bite Joe Pantoliano right in the pantolianos.

What does Stef do?

I'm stumped. After she loses her glasses early in the film, she becomes pretty much useless. She does punch Mama Fratelli in the face toward the end of the film, but that's pretty much a throw-away gag. She also serves as a foil to Mouth, but why is Mouth the only character who has a foil? I guess it is nicely symmetrical that the wisecracking, boyish-looking girl find love interest in the wisecracking, girlish-looking boy. But in terms of the goonie adventure, Stef's got very little reason to be hanging around.

It's ridiculous. It's crazy. It's like she's babysitting, only she's not getting paid.

Even the film's theatrical trailer gives short shrift to this character. The voice-over says, "Stefanie," and we see a one-second snippet of Stef pulling a crab out of a drum full of water, but that's the only introduction we get. We get to see Data's bully blinders. We get to see Chunk break down the door of the Lighthouse Lounge. And we get to see Stef's....crab?

And that's another thing. What the hell is she doing in that scene, anyway? Is this "crab dive" a typical past-time of middle class west coast adolescents? Did she go into the barrel with the intention of getting a crab, or was she just washing her hair and OOPS, look what I found? I used to have a promotional Goonies magazine full of production stills, interviews and trivia about the movie. In that magazine, it is explained that Stef's father is a fisherman. But from only watching the film, you'd never figure that out. You'd just assume she really likes crabs.

The Goonies was the first movie I ever saw in the theater without parental supervision. As such, there are certain things about the movie I'll always forgive. I forgive that Troy is wearing red Underoos on the toilet. I forgive that Andy "can't tell if it's an A sharp or a B flat," even though the two notes are identical on a piano keyboard. And I forgive that Data speaks Chinese at the end of the movie and is subtitled, for some reason, in Chinese. But seriously.

What is the deal with Stef?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Never thought of that... You nred to get out more..