My plan to read one of my many movie novelisations every month hasn’t really gone very well. My last one was August, when I read The Blues Brothers, and it’s now November. Better late than never though right?

Let me just say again that if you have an interest in movie novelisations then I urge you to check out the I Read Movies podcast by my good friend Paxton Holley, where he talks about many movie novelisations and ‘reads them so you don’t have to’. And also take a look at where the awesome Shawn and Jamie Robare have archived a mountain of information about movie novelisations.

For this movie novelisation I chose to read The Goonies by James Kahn. I had recently watched it with my kids over the summer so the film was fresh in my mind. And I heard that it was a cool read with quite a few deleted scenes in it. So without further ado let’s dive into my usual bullet point list of notes while I read the book.

  • I thought it was nice to have the little intro from Mikey at the start. We really get to see into the mind of Mikey a bit more in the book as it’s all written from his perspective. I really liked Mikey anyway from the film but the book narration really fleshes out how cool he is.
  • Chunk’s character surname is Cohen, the same as the actor the played him? I always find that weird when they give people the same name as their character.
  • It kind of feels early on in reading the book that the author is basically just watching the film back and writing exactly what he sees. We haven’t really had any extra nuggets early on. I could imagine that the author is writing the book from at least a final version of the script, and knowing who has been cast, if not perhaps even having watched an edit of the movie.
  • When Mouth translates to Rosalita in Spanish the first one is different as he tells her to always separate the jewels instead of separating the drugs. Perhaps that was changed in the film’s script nearer filming and Kahn was working off a previous version, or perhaps they just didn’t want to put the drugs reference in the book. He also writes “Rosalita’s face turned white under the brown, so she looked kind of beige.” Hmmm.
  • When reading the map, Chunk says ‘This says 1532. Is that a year, or what?’. Then Mouth replies with ‘It’s your top score on Donkey Kong’. In the film is it maybe Pole Position? I always find it interesting when they change little things like that. I’d love to know if it was just arbitrary or if there was some legal reason.
  • Brand says he has a date with Andy on Friday, but later Mikey says that Andy is the girl Brand is hoping to take out on Saturday night. Perhaps just a little logistical mistake in the writing.
  • The scene in the local store is great. I knew it had been shot as I have seen the pictures in the storybook that I have. I always found it so weird that those shots were in the storybook but not in the film. I rewatched the films loads of times thinking I had just missed the scene and I couldn’t understand how the pictures existed in the storybook but not in the film. Obviously I now know they were deleted scenes. I had never seen The Goonies deleted scenes before but Googled them for this read. See the clip below. The scene is pretty cool, but I prefer how it is written in the book.
  • Chunk licks the top layer off the Hagen-Daasz and then replaces the lids. Gross! This happens in the deleted scene too.
  • I spotted a typo. ‘Quick’ instead of ‘quickly’. I don’t tend to see those much in old books. I’ve noticed it a lot more often in books that were made in the last 5 years.
  • I really warmed to Mikey, with his little idiosyncrasies such as hearing music when things happen or seeing patterns in things. He calls himself a dreamer. I can relate to that. My name is Mikey too so I really do feel a certain kinship to the character! 
  • As the whole book is from Mikey’s perspective we don’t get cutaway scenes like the guys in the shower when the Goonies all start shaking the pipes. I wondered how they will do the bits where we are Chunk getting kidnapped by the Fratellis. 
  • We do get Chunk’s story but it’s still Mikey retelling what Chunk told him, after the event. Quite cool to hear things in Chunk’s voice. There’s a funny bit where Mama Fratelli puts the gun Chunk’s head and he says “All at once everything I’ve ever eaten flashed before my eyes.”
  • There’s a great bit in the book about Mikey noticing that the caves are in the shape of a skull.
  • Sloth meditates to a TV test card signal. I loved that.
  • Perhaps the biggest thing in the book that isn’t even in the deleted scenes is the scene where they are floating on a raft in a massive dark cavern. The story really slows down here. They even apparently go to sleep for a bit! I’m assuming they cut it out of the script because it slowed things down too much. But it’s interesting to hear about it in the book, because some of it is really interesting. Several of the kids tell stories. Data tells a really cool idea about an underwater community he would build if he could. Mouth tells a cool scary story. Brand admits he’s scared of small places. And Andy asks what hell’s like. It’s a really interesting and insightful moment into a lot of their personalities, in a part of the story where things really are getting dangerous. It would have been very cool if that bit had made it into the film.
  • Great to finally read the part about the octopus which famously is referenced at the end of the film but I believe was cut from the final edit. And I found it interesting that when Data used his stereo to play loud music to scare the octopus he played ‘Burning Down the House’ by Talking Heads and the books references several times the beat of the song and rock n’ rolling etc. Just interesting the author picked that song. I can think of a lot of songs of the mid 80s that were louder and rockier. In the deleted scenes it seems to be a different song being played and not one I recognise. Sounds just like a generic 80s pop song.
  • When they climb aboard Willy’s ship, Mikey says, “The rigging was all in place, like sheets of giant spider-webs – and there were real spider-webs everywhere, too, which looked a lot like sheets of miniature rigging. For a second I couldn’t tell if I was big or small.” I really liked that line.
  • I loved how we get to read One Eyed Willy’s Last Will and Testament. That was very cool. It explains what happened when his crew died and why he set up the booby traps etc. This is exactly why I love that movie novelisations exist. Fleshing out cool little bits of info like this.
  • Data’s coat of gadgets is even more cool and wacky in the book than it is in the movie. Some of the things he invents are awesome. I’d almost love to have gotten a spin-off sequel of Data and his inventions.
  • I don’t it’s mentioned in the film but it’s funny how Chunk, when talking to his parents about how they could adopt Sloth, says that maybe he could get a job with the New York Jets. Funny because the actor John Matuszak used to be an NFL star.
  • I always wondered how the boat came out of the cave at the end, all on its own. In the book’s Epilogue it explains that the Fratellis tried to take the gold on the scales right in front of Willy, and that set off the final booby trap that made the ship escape out to the horizon. That’s very cool to get extra information like that, as I don’t think it’s clear in the film. Only thing it does make me wonder is why Willy didn’t use that same method to let himself escape when he was alive!
  • The Afterword is great too. It contains a bunch of mini newspaper articles about the events from the book. It explains that the Hillside Country Club was purchased by a group calling itself the Friends of the Goon Docks. The land will be used for low-income housing as well as other things such as a Chinese restaurant and a Public-Access Invention Laboratory. Nice little touch there.
  • And the very final paragraph/report says that Mr and Mrs Cohen (Chunk’s parents) announced a Bar Mitzvah for the recently adopted son, Jason Sloth Cohen! I bet that was one hell of a party.

I really enjoyed the book. It was a nice mix of reading the scenes I knew from the film but also having extra fleshed out info about the characters and also several deleted scenes. Definitely worth a read if you’re a fan of the film.

Here are the deleted scenes that I mentioned earlier.

What’s up next in my reading list? Well, I was thinking of reading Top Gun next, as the new Top Gun: Maverick movie was meant to be out round about now but I believe that has been put back to next year now. So I think I may read Crimson Tide next as I watched that movie recently. Stay tuned!