Twenty-Seven years in the making, I finally got to see the most epic of all of my childhood movies in the theater, The Goonies. And what better way to see my favorite film than with 400 of my closest friends in a sold out showing on the notorious 60-foot screen affectionately known as the T-REX. Throwback Thursdays at Essex Cinema started this past October with a re-release of Ghostbusters that only 500 theaters across the U.S. got to see. Thanks to the wonderful people at Essex Cinema, us Vermonters were not left out. After seeing Ghostbusters, a movie that had me run screaming after the very first scene with the librarian so many years ago and having nightmares about the Terror Dogs well past the age it made sense anymore, I didn’t think Throwback Thursday’s would be able to top that. But they continued to play great movie after great movie, following Ghostbusters with Jurassic Park, The Blues Brothers, Home Alone, and Scarface. I watched them all and they’ve all been great experiences, each triggering different memories from childhood (or teenage years meaning no, I didn’t watch Scarface as a child). One thing that has definitely impressed me is audience participation; I think Home Alone (also a sold-out show) was the only time I hadn’t seen an audience member dress up (check out Essex Cinemas Facebook page to see the pictures). But now that The Goonies was playing, it was our time… Our time down here.
I first experienced The Goonies hosting what was probably one of my first sleepovers ever. I’m not sure how my Dad heard of the movie (my parents are just cool like that) but that night when we were looking for something to do, popcorn was popped and my Dad threw in a VHS tape that would quickly become worn out, a cable-recorded copy of The Goonies; it blew my seven-year old mind. I would spend much of my childhood watching that beloved tape, and as many times as I’ve seen the movie (I’m unsure of the actual count) I’ve never grown sick of it. And I guess what’s even more amazing is neither have my parents.
Fast forward to 2005 and I was hosting my first Goonies screening at my newly acquired apartment with my newly acquired fiancé. A bunch of my Burlington College film school friends were coming over for the first time to watch the movie, including a man whose Goonies fandom might eclipse my own. Chad and I had become friends because of our mutual love of 80’s horror movies but deeper than that was our passion for The Goonies. He had seen the movie hundreds of times and knew the film word for word, maybe not without it playing but turn it on and turn off the volume and he had it down pat. Seeing the film with him only turned me into an even bigger fan. 2005 was a good year for me to be a Goonies fan; I received a copy of The Goonies storybook that year, as well as a copy of The Goonies board game (graciously purchased by Chad) and also a permanent tribute to my love of the movie, a Goonies silhouette tattoo.Fast Forward again to 2012 and The Goonies is going to play as the Throwback Thursday movie at the T-Rex and it’s also going to be Chad’s 400th viewing. This night was going to be legendary thanks to amazing people at Essex Cinemas (with some behind the scenes help from two of my other friends, Mark & Jen) who made it happen in spades. First, to set the mood let me explain that we all dressed as characters from the movie (as if you couldn’t tell from the pictures) which Chad thought was going to be the best part. He was partially correct but what he didn’t realize is that Mark had found him a copy of Mikey’s map (Chad was dressed as Mikey) and also had said map printed on a cake for him. A cake that Jen had delivered to the theater earlier that we would surprise him with after our delicious meal at Club Take 2. Between the cake, the map, the friends and The Goonies projected on the 60-foot screen, I know Chad had a great 400th screening and I know I had a great night, too. It was awesome getting to be part of it and even cooler to share the experience with my friends both new and old and with my Andy by my side. So how did the movie look on a big screen? Did it hold up to my expectations? You bet it did! You can’t really enjoy a movie until you’ve seen it with a real audience, until you can hear the gasps when you gasp or the laughter when you laugh. Seeing a movie in a theater, especially a movie you love, is just not something you can capture at home. And thankfully at Essex Cinema they get that, and I hope the Throwback Thursday’s continue on and continue to dust off some of our favorites.