Remembering One-Eyed Willie

All this talk of pirates has made me nostalgic for the coolest pirate of all — One Eyed Willie.


Ever since I first saw The Goonies in a San Juan theater in the summer of 1985, I wanted to be a Goonie and looked up to Willie, the “First Goonie” — his charm, his mystique, his cleverness.  But the clip above reminded me that he wasn’t exactly the friendly neighborhood pirate that I recalled.  He actually murdered his crew so that they couldn’t go near his treasure.  Whoa!  My happy-go-lucky, eight-year-old mind must have glossed over that part.

Still, I think The Goonies’ adventure — led by the rousing Sean Astin — proved to be Willie’s redemption.  Not only did his treasure help save everyone’s home from foreclosure and avoid the dismantling of the Goonie gang, but the obstacles they overcame with smart choices, brave feats and sometimes plain luck provided memorable coming-of-age moments.

Their questionable talents — including Mouth’s shaky command of the Spanish language, Data’s gimmicky gadgets and Andy’s novice piano playing — all unquestionably led to their triumph.  And Astin, as the crush-worthy Mikey Walsh, evolves from insecure dreamer to leader of the pack.  I swear, his underground monologue still brings me to tears.

“Don’t you realize? The next time you see sky, it’ll be over another town. The next time you take a test, it’ll be in some other school. Our parents, they want the best of stuff for us. But right now, they got to do what’s right for them. Because it’s their time. Their time! Up there! Down here, it’s our time. It’s our time down here. That’s all over the second we ride up Troy’s bucket.”

This one’s for you, Willie, and the Goonie greatness you inspired.


Posted by: Mariela (Goonie for life)


One response to “Remembering One-Eyed Willie

  1. One-Eyed Willie, Chunk, the foul mouth of Corey Feldman, the cinematic debut of Josh Brolin and the greatness of hope just plum wore out my beloved pirated VHS copy of ‘The Goonies’ before I even got out of middle school. The tape just crumbled under the duress of my every day after school viewing schedule. A fantastic film and an even better heroes’ journey to an underground dreamscape where hope springs eternal. You feel the connection between Willie and Mikey (especially in that monologue, Mariela)–both true Goonies ’til the end.

    I visited the Oregonian coast where the map, key and islands lined up–a gratifying experience of a childhood dream fulfilled–and looked out to the horizon where Willie’s pirate shipped sailed out to sea.

    Amazing post, Mariela. Thanks.

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