Truffle Shuffle!: It Took Me Only 33 Years To Finally Watch The Goonies

Goonies Never Say Die!

Irene Walsh: “Pants and shirts go in the… oh, forget about it. Just throw everything into cardboard boxes. Clark, can you really translate all that?”

Mouth: “For sure, Mrs. Walsh. [in Spanish] The marijuana goes in the top drawer. The cocaine and speed go in the second drawer. And the heroin goes in the bottom drawer. Always separate the drugs.”

As someone who lived through – and thoroughly enjoyed – the 80s, it is baffling how one of its decade-defining movies has hidden from me for so long. 

Seeing how 80s pop music and Retrowave have made triumphant returns to my playlist lately – and there is no joy to be had compiling my latest comics Post – the urge to do another nostalgic deely-bobber-Curly-Wurly-Chopper-ridin’ Post is naturally, overwhelming. 

So now would be an ideal time to review this cult classic. 

Remember seeing the poster in the video rental store; and can recall a girl from school claiming this to b the greatest movie ever made. 

In a bid to save their home from being demolished, Mikey, and his older brother Brand (not Brad, unfortunately – aow! opportunity missed right there) and their other misfit friends set out to find One-Eyed Willie’s treasure. 

This marked the debut of Josh Brolin, who – after Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 last year – is hot right now, so it was particularly interesting to see how he began his film career. Also, other younglings included Sean Astin, now more famous to have starred in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, the Chinese kid from Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom, and the then-ubiquitous Corey Feldman (let’s be honest, if he wasn’t available, this film would not have been made! 😉 )

Despite its fervent fan following, The Goonies has never been shown on British terrestrial TV.

Until this Christmas of course.

This is actually directed by Richard (Superman, Lethal Weapon) Donner. Although Spielberg is credited as just Executive Producer here, this movie overflows with his stylistic and kid-centred trademarks.

Yes, within the opening ten minutes, this viewer was hooked. We instantly get to know what this gang are like, what they are (in)capable of, and – guess what? – unlike some other buddy movies, you quickly feel compelled to actually care about what happens to these guys.

It’s a great introductory scene – already re-watched it countless times! – and one that needed to be put up here:

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Stef: “Data, where are you going?”

Data: “I’m setting booty traps.”

Stef: “You mean booby traps?”

Data: “That’s what I said! BOOBY TRAPS! God, these guys!”

If there’s one thing that Brad really digs in an adventure movie, then it just has to be boobytraps, and The Goonies is loaded with some really wicked contraptions! 

And you really can’t go wrong with a pirate’s treasure plotline, plus a groovy shot of Willie’s skeletal crew still in situ, all seated around a banqueting table. Half-expected them to rise up to clank and chase the Goonies around the decks! But this sounds like Pirates of The Caribbean could do with a re-watch… 😉

Crucially, it’s tough trying to find this degree of (entertaining!) thrills, energy – and vibes –in any other movie.

The gripes are (thankfully) few:

Please spare me those turkeys: the Fratelli brothers (Robert Davi and Joe Pantoliano). Evil henchmen who turn out to be bumbling cretins has to be Hollywood’s most overused trope – it’s certainly the most tiresome; can’t recall any movie (from the last thirty years alone) in which such “characters” actually worked. 

Sloth –  that other Fratelli brother locked away in the cellar – may have his fans, but his inclusion seemed to be a tad unnecessary. Perhaps his grotesque visage dissuaded me from watching The Goonies back in the day? Is it just me, or does accentuating such a disfigured individual for comedic purposes make for uncomfortable viewing…?

This point – and those brothers – could have dropped my Rating to 3-stars. 

Perhaps parts of the dialogue don’t work. Thought there would be more quotable one-liners herein. Some of the gags aren’t laughable as they ought to be and the cracks not wise enough, but at least this show more than makes up for this personal niggle with visual tricks and treats aplenty.  

And probably the action does descend to noisy and shambolic levels towards the end, but then again, it’s a sign that yours truly really has outgrown this brand of adolescent tomfoolery.

Or has he…? 😉

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Andy: “I can’t tell… if it’s an “A sharp” or if it’s a “B flat”!”

Mikey: “Heh, if you hit the wrong note, we’ll all “B flat!””

Don’t worry:

this dude is not going to bang on about how they don’t make ’em like they used to, but The Goonies perfectly illustrates why its wild and rollicking formula worked back then. And why such adventure films are never made nowadays (and even if they were, they wouldn’t work anyway).

One scene in particular (you can watch it below!) best exemplifies this:

Following their plunge down a water slide, the Goonies emerge in a cavern to discover One-Eyed Willie‘s pirate ship. If this movie was made now, that ship would have been CGed by a horde of animators: no magic, no wonder; in 1985, this huge plot-device came specially painstakingly constructed. and only for just a fleeting glimpse shot! 

Gawd, such practicalities are what makes this 80s stuff endure. (And what current movie-makers have neglected to heed). Having finally watched it once, will Brad watch this 1985 thrill-ride again?

Oh yes. 

Somewhere, somehow – hopefully some time soon it will be great to “hang out” with that cheeky, crazy, but irresistibly groovy bunch known as the Goonies once more – oh, what the hey! – or a few times more.

A few more truffle shuffles won’t hurt…

God, these guys! 😉

 

BRADSCRIBE VERDICT: 

“This is ridiculous. It’s crazy. I feel like I’m babysitting, except I’m not getting paid”

 

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Francis Fratelli: “Hey, kid! I want you to spill your guts, tell us everything!”

Chunk: “Everything?”

Francis Fratelli: “Everything.”

Chunk: “Everything. OK, I’ll talk! In third grade, I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max’s toupee and I glued it on my face when I was Moses in my Hebrew School play. In fifth grade, I knocked my sister Edie down the stairs and I blamed it on the dog… When my mom sent me to the summer camp for fat kids and then they served lunch I got nuts and I pigged out and they kicked me out!”

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Rantin’ And Killraven: What’s HOT On The Bronze Age Comics IN Pile

Madre De Dios! More Mighty Marvel Mayhem!

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“A quest… You humans love quests and epics… romantic notions… absurdities which clutter your lives and distort your base realities!” – The High Overlord.  

NIX OLYMPIA VOLCANO, MARS – DECEMBER 2019

“He had touched the blade of grass… and it turned to red Martian dust beneath his hands. The sand shifts through his fingers now, and Killraven knows for a certainty that the desert he kneels upon is located on the planet Mars. 

“He is alone with that truth – and the truth is staggering!”

But what is truly staggering is that how a comic entitled: War Of The Worlds featuring Wellsian Martians (on giant tortoiseback, by gad!), alien vistas and high adventure on the Fourth Rock From The Sun with a Terran hero bestriding the russet landscape sportin’ thigh-high boots could turn (on?!) out to be so…

disappointing. 

Killraven: ha! Now there’s a name ta die for!

Isn’t it…?

With the right creative team, this should have developed into a hit – at least a cult classic, but no… 

As a fan of all things Martian, hopes that #36 (May 1976) would be a joy to behold were running high, until the reaction was so low. No prizes for guessing that this title was cancelled after only 30+ ishs…

Anyway! Welcome back to the weird wonderful world of Bradscribe – apologies for the delay since the last Post, but things have been hectic around here.

Once more unto the back issue boxes, dear friends!

Undoubtedly the highlight of Summer ’16 involved delving into the treasures of Bronze Age comics – that exceedingly special time from c. 1970 (curiously estimated with the debut ish of Conan The Barbarian of all things) up until the mid-’80s (and the death of Jean Grey?) when some exceptional titles were produced. At the most, taking advantage of the opportunity to catch up with some truly remarkable writers and artists; pleasantly acquire previously unknown titles; and dip nostalgically into editions that used to belong in my bedroom but for whatever outlandish reason got lost in the mists of time has transmogrified into an enjoyable and worthwhile venture. 

For me, the Bronze Age happened to be the best period for comic books. Killraven – for all its faults – demonstrates how experimental and innovative Marvel Comics could be during the 1970s.

Here then are some of the special ishs that have accumulated in my specially-reserved box this past few months:

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“The brute still lives! Such ineffable strength and longevity are almost beyond my experience and bear further study at The Project!” – The Hate-Monger.  

“The first rays of the crescent moon found the blood-red pendant grafted to John Jameson’s throat and he becomes a beast: Man-Wolf!”

Yes, yes, we covered that lupine moonbeast here: but that was too long ago, and quite frankly, he deserves more blogspace – for he is an extraordinary character simply never available on the Southern English newsstands of my youth. And it is a pleasure to finally catch up with his stunning series.

From ish #30, Man-Wolf became the sole principal star of Creatures On The Loose, until being cancelled (with ish #37 back in 1975). Ish #35: Wolfquest (May 1975) is – rip-roaring sci-fi action/adventure at its 70s best.

“David Kraft wrote it; George Perez drew it; you get to read it!” says the text on the groovy front page. There is also an ace cameo from Colonel Nick Fury (one of my all-time fave comic book characters) – “Sonuvagun if it ain’t!” – and Dum Dum Dugan! 

As penultimate pages go, this – the death of the Hate-Monger is as awesome and intense as Bronze Age comic art gets – proudly loaded up here (above).

Can’t help thinking what Perez would have done with Killraven…

And there was no way that Col. Fury’s dramatic entrance could not be included here:

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Nick Fury: “Dum Dum, ya big walrus, quit flounderin’ and folla me!”

Dum Dum Dugan: “Fergit it, Nick – I ain’t goin’ nowhere without my blamed Derby!” 

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Thanos: “Would you believe I’m doing all this out of the goodness of my heart?” 

Adam Warlock: “No, for I perceive that you have no heart!”

Like the BA gem listed above, (The Power Of) Warlock was also cancelled in its prime, but Adam, the golden-hued character himself made such an indelible impression on my infant mind.

More tragically, the original series lasted no more than just 15 ishs. Ironically, Warlock – “By Orion!” – has attained hallowed cult status and is extremely difficult to come by; when my sensors did detect odd editions, the going rate seemed ridiculously high. So finding that immortal classic: Warlock #10: How Strange My Destiny (December 1975) (for a thankfully ridiculously low price!) proved to be an exceptional find.

The first part of the acclaimed Magus Saga in which Adam makes an uneasy alliance with notorious bad seed: Thanos in his showdown with the Magus. It also features Gamora (of Guardians of the Galaxy fame!) and Pip The Troll (who – judging from the letters pages – became a sensation among Marvelites far and wide!)

Thanos – and (let’s be honest) even Pip The Troll – would have swept the floor with Killraven…

As Adam realizes with horror: “My mind is a cesspool of corruption that will someday spawn the Magus” – the Magus is Adam Warlock’s future self!

Blimey Charley, what a humdinger! 

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“25,000 armed Black Knights just to kill four unarmed intruders?! The Magus must be cracking up! Wish I had 50,000 instead of a mere 25,000…” – General Egeus. 

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Captain Marvel: “There’s Titan, Drax – it won’t be long now. But why so silent? What are you thinking about?”

Drax The Destroyer: “About how difficult it may be, once our alliance is ended… to kill you!”

Hankering for more galactic thrills, it seemed inevitable that Marvel’s spaceborn “most cosmic superhero of all” – the original Kree warrior: Mar-Vell – would get snapped up.

Eager to find out more, an excellent additional feature of Warlock #10 – an insert in which Captain Marvel explains the background (and threat!) of his arch-enemy: Thanos. Usefully, it noted #s 25-33 as the classic ishs in which the two legendary characters went head-to-head.

Initially, Marvel Spotlight #2 (featuring Captain Marvel) came into my hands fairly early on during this hunting season. However, Pat Broderick’s art style failed to alight the Bradmonitor. Not to be outdone, a chance was taken with Captain Marvel #59 (November 1978). Despite retaining Broderick’s pencils, The Trouble With Titan actually offered a more satisfying look, mainly because of the special guest star appearance by Drax The Destroyer. 

“By the Lost Horns of Hala!”

The outlandish contents involve Mar-Vell and Drax having to rescue Eros and Mentor from being “menaced by what manner of monsters, only the the Great Pama knows!” And trespassing in the domain of Lord Gaea – and having to fight their way through his hordes of Earth-Demons to escape! Written by Doug Moench – always a reliable choice (so why couldn’t he have worked on Killraven…?)

Have already picked up further ishs, but so far, #s 25-33 are proving to be elusive… 

In conclusion, me lovelies, it should be pointed out that – in a sale, just to be on the safe side! – another ish of  Killraven WAS acquired. And lo, Brad The Merciful steps in to grant the underachievers a second chance, but…

Ha! Guess what?

Despite having a fascinating splash page, #35 (March 1976) is bogged down with an even more confusing plot; moreover, he grumbles, the addition of an insipid Martian character and a deranged, scantily-clad woman spouting interminable gibberish does NOT guarantee rewarding reading! 

So, it’s official then: Killraven is PANTS….

Not gonna let this absurdity distort my base realities!

But heck! Let’s not end on a bum-note.

As Confucius used to say: “If you’ve got time for one more cake, you’ve bally well got time for one more comic!”

Hey! Looks like yours truly has got just the right thing: 

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“Alas, Iron Fist, you have my sympathy. No man should be spurned by a beautiful woman and fall in battle on the same day!” – El Aguila.

Last and – well, really! Is anyone nuts enough to say: “least” to Luke Cage’s face?! – we have Marvel’s very own dynamic duo: Power Man and Iron Fist. 

This is such a nifty break from my usual cosmic cravings, and besides, back in the day, one ish did pass through me grubby infant mitts, but Brad‘ll be damned if he can recall the exact one! Never fear, random back ishs have been selected, and are turning out to be an unexpected fab treat!

#65: “An Eagle In The Aerie” (Oct 1980) is great fun. En route to the Aerie (HQ of Heroes For Hire), Luke and Danny are followed by old adversary: El Aguila and – “Santa Maria!” – half the staff of all-female guards have revolted and all three costumed heroes have to defend the Aerie from all-out assault.

El Aguila leaps and bounds suavely through battle, firing bursts of his biologically-generated electricity through his sword while exclaiming: “Believe me, senoritas, doing this hurts my heart as much as it does your lovely bodies.”

Before Luke and Danny can get a word in, the Eagle escapes in a helicopter, but not before smooching the secretary.

Ah, they don’t make masked men of mystery like that any more…

If only Killraven oozed just half the charm of El Aguila…

Been searching for ish #58 (El Aguila’s initial appearance) but – not surprisingly – it is rare and expensive.

Finally, could not resist including this intriguing lil cameo from another Marvel stalwart:

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Iron Fist: “You’re up early, Luke. How did you sleep?” 

Power Man: “Kept dreamin’ ’bout floods an’ tidal waves.”

Iron Fist: “Sorry about the waterbed.”

Originally, this Post began back in September(!), revised in November, but it has taken the last few gruelling days just to finally launch this draft – well, anything really! – into the blogosphere.

Relieved, rather than pleased, to have accomplished some writing again.

Meanwhile, quite a considerable comics collection has amassed here over the past few months – therefore CANNOT WAIT to discuss, in a flurry of forthcoming Posts, the juiciest finds with you!

So, while the world falls apart, this:

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…is where you’ll find me: the “Leisure Hive” @ Brad Manor. 

Happy hunting, True Believers!

You would NOT BELIEVE what you can get for 60 Portions these days…   

KARNAK: The Most Awesome New Comic Book You Will See All Year!

Everything Has It’s Weakness, Even The Bonds Of Death. To Him, Weakness Is A Weapon.

He Sees It And Exploits It.

He Is…

Magister Karnak.

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Magister is apparently the Inhuman name for high priest or top philosopher guy or something. And he registers smiling as an insult. Follow my lead…” – Agent Phil Coulson. 

Just when my comic book buying days seemed to be well and truly behind me… 

For the first time in twenty years, all that changed last week. 

And what title was so unputdownable, that it just had to be taken home with me?

While searching for images of suitably moody and/or mysterious hooded figures to illustrate my fiction blog, these illos of such a figure, but with curious green stripes across his face grabbed my attention. This character – going by the moniker of “Karnak” proved immediately striking.

Marvel’s Premier issue of Karnak came out in December. To say that this character has received a MAJOR overhaul since making his debut in Fantastic Four #45 in 1965 would be the understatement of the century.

Just to illustrate what a radical redesign this character has been given, look at this panel from the original Inhumans comic, featuring a cameo from a green guy who needs no introduction:

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And then check out this panel from the new Karnak series.

Wow: such a brutal bunny.

Talk about putting the graphic into graphic art…

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“I think he just smiled then. What does that mean?” – Agent Simmons.  

Ironically, here’s me, attempting to branch out to comic book writing and along – seemingly outta nowhere – comes this jaw-dropping title with blitzing art by Gerardo Zaffino, which is more powerful and more visually striking than any engaging written script!

Who the blazes is this guy?!

Essentially, Karnak is a member of the Inhumans – yes, the same Inhumans whose promised movie has been delayed to accommodate yet another Spidey-flick. 

Hard to believe he was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby way back in 1965. This 2015 manifestation, on the other hand, is a warrior-monk with little time – or patience – for the petty problems of humans.

His extraordinary power – channeling an incomprehensible telekinetic energy which, just by pointing or swiping his fingers, can shatter bones and burst internal organs – surely makes Karnak one of the deadliest characters in the Marvel Comics pantheon. 

The fourth issue of Karnak should be in all good bookshops by now.

…And it oughtta be in my collection pretty darn soon.

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“…He’s got no qualms of doing anything to get the job done. As long as he can do it by being a badass… Karnak can see the flaw in everything. That includes bullets, so he can slice them in half with a single swipe” – James Whitbrook. 

Just when it seemed that all the major ideas and stories had been done, so here is Karnak to demonstrate – in the most devastatingly cool fashion imaginable – the jaw-dropping wonders that can be achieved through the innovative-as-ever medium of comics.

Be warned: this title is NOT for kids… 

In this first issue, he tracks down a double agent in S.H.I.E.L.D. Ha ha! No, not Steve Rogers!

But it is difficult to see how the Cap could be a match for Karnak of the Inhumans, Magister of the Tower of Wisdom…

As hooded figures are my favourites, they don’t come much cooler than this fella. 

For a taste of what you can expect, take a butcher’s (and a deep breath) at the page below:

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Totally radical, man.

This Post will leave you with – quite simply – the most awesome single page you will ever see this year… or any year for that matter.

DARE YOU to present to me any other comic book thrill-power MORE gob-smacking, MORE outrageously exciting than this published now!

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“Friends, I must again leave you for a while, to engage the human world and secure our own future. While I am gone… remember to clean the latrines” – Karnak.