In a sense, I think that The Goonies is a film about our connectivity to the past and the places we live. The material culture (things) we leave behind for those who come after us can still have an impact. And we are connected to the past through those things.
In their boredom, the group goes up to the attic. There they discover those electric glass ball things, and a bunch of old junk - including a map. Mike recalls the story of One Eyed Willy, a pirate who sailed the seas looting until he was trapped by the British. It was said that he had a whole boatload of treasure somewhere in the caves along the coast. Mikey and his friends decide to go on one last “Goonie” adventure. They tie Brand up, and take off. “I’m going to hit you so hard, when you wake up your clothes will be out of style!” Brand yells out the door as they leave. Using the map, the doubloon, and some really bad green screen/rear projection, they discover that the secret entrance might be located in an old restaurant. Once inside, they meet the Fratellis. After having a glass of water, and encountering an “it” the boys are kicked out. They didn’t hide their bikes very well because Brand caught up with them. And so did the girls (from a scene I didn’t mention) Andy and Stef.
The ship itself (an homage to the ship in Captain Blood (1935) which happened to be the movie Sloth was watching earlier) is still in tact. A feat in itself since it's been resting, water logged, in a cave since the 17th century. The kids climb aboard in search of Willy's treasure. Stef asks Mikey "where is the treasure," to which he replies "this whole ship is a treasure." Perhaps this statement relates to an ideal instilled by his father. The importance of the preservation of the past.
While the rest of the group is solely in this adventure for monetary gain, Mikey is looking to complete a story. To justify a folk tale told to him by his father. He is one of the only characters that believes the story to be true from the very beginning of the film. In discovering the ship, Mikey has already found closure. Once they find the secret room with all the treasure, they grab as much as they can. The only problem is they're caught by the Fratellis. Not to worry, Chunk, or should I say Captain Chunk, is there to save them with the help of his new friend Sloth. The group escapes, but they lose all the loot they had gathered. While making their way along the beach they're picked up by the police. Their parents show up, with hugs and pizzas.
Troy's father takes advantage of the group's gathering to have Mr. Walsh sign those papers. But all is not lost, Mikey happened to put some jewels in his marble bag, a fair exchange. They can use the jewels to pay off the debt. Mr. Walsh rips up the paper and everyone cheers. But what about that ship? Willy makes one more voyage out to sea.
Ironically, the character who is most involved in the preservation of the past, Mr. Walsh, inadvertently does nothing to preserve it. He stores artifacts in his attic, and he uses jewels to pay off a loan. In light of family circumstances, his professional code of ethics has been set aside. Or maybe marine salvage laws apply, so it doesn't matter. Either way, we can't be too mad at Mr. Walsh. At least he took the time to keep those items in the attic. The "rejects" from the museum found a place in his home.
One thing I think we can take away from this film is that no matter where you live, someone has been there before. And their story - their culture - influences you.
All photos are screenshots from the 2001 Warner Bros DVD release of The Goonies.