Wednesday, August 10, 2011


June 13, 2002

Austin American-Statesman


SECTION: XL Ent; Pg. 4

LENGTH: 771 words

Before you enter the cave, you must do your best Truffle Shuffle. Pull up your shirt, flap your elbows like chicken wings, shake it all about and yelp like you mean it. Enter, true believer; you are one of the few, the proud, the embarrassingly committed to '80s teen-movie magic.

Welcome to Longhorn Cavern near Burnet. You will watch "The Goonies" in a cave with film brethren and then sit before its star, Corey "Mouth" Feldman while eating passable barbecue and reveling in retro childhood joy.

Upon arrival you get a checklist of film minutiae, a Baby Ruth bar just like Chunk's and your instructions: "Don't eat the Baby Ruth bar in the cave." "Don't leave any litter." "Don't breathe." (Just kidding.) "Keep your voices low so as not to wake/scare the bats."

Jenny Ridenour welcomes the Alamo Drafthouse's call for this quickly sold-out adventure. "I can't remember the Truffle Shuffle, so I'm a little nervous," she says.

Two people toting huge reels of celluloid walk past you into the dark hole. Remember the edict of Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League: "Video is the medium of the devil and has no place in the ultimate 'Goonies' experience." Amen. Jenny does her Truffle Shuffle before a video camera (the results will be posted to www.rolling- and you and more than 100 pals are in. As sayeth Goonie Mikey, "Down here it's our time!"

Beware the low areas and booty traps, ur, booby traps as you venture down, down, down. "Don't touch anything but the floor," you are told. Sarah Hopkins, a 20-year-old with red boots and magenta-tinged hair sprouting in ponytails a la Chrissy Snow of "Three's Company," has seen "The Goonies" 10 times and expects an "awesome" experience. She saw a television report late last night featuring the Feldman-Michael Jackson feud and wants facts.

Los Lobos plays through hidden speakers as you settle a blanket on the Indian Council Room floor. Behind you, League is a T-shirt clad wizard fiddling with dials. The dirt is cool to the touch, the air a constant 68 degrees.

Look up at the mottled rock and imagine. Be a child. Over there: praying hands. Everywhere: bumpy layers of thinly sliced pastrami compressed by time. To your left: gray, wrinkled elephant knees and slimy chicken rolled in flour and ready to fry.

After many delays, the boyish League, grease covering his shirt, says this odd event isn't the last. "The Big Lebowski" will be shown in a bowling alley parking lot in July (tickets go on sale today), followed by "Jaws" in Lake Travis in August. Your eyes widen.

Finally League makes today official. "We've got a few Corey Haim --" The crowd gasps at his boo-boo. "Please swear you won't tell the other guy," League begs. Then he introduces once-coming attractions from Feldman's once-precocious career. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." "Gremlins." "License to Drive," with the other Corey. "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter."

Lights flicker across a white screen. Cyndi Lauper sings the theme song. Jeff Cohen as Chunk does the authentic Truffle Shuffle! Feldman as Mouth strolls in wearing a Members Only jacket and you are transported to a dimension of goofy gadgets and pirate treasure hidden in a cave. The air is damp and water drizzles upon your head as your cave melds with the "Goonies" cave on screen. Chunk hands his Baby Ruth to the freakish man named Sloth and becomes buddies for life. Bats attack from on screen and you look above expecting real ones.

When the credits roll, you stumble from the cave into the next crowd of "Goonies" lovers. They study you like a soldier returned from the front lines. Their eyes convey respect? Envy? Soon they will understand.

"Was it so cool?' one person blurts out. You nod. It was.

You eat barbecue on a park bench. Feed the deer. Corey arrives and perches his tiny frame atop a picnic table. Questions fly. A "Goonies" sequel? Maybe. "It's got to have the same feel as the original," Feldman says. "If it doesn't have that, it's not worth making."

Sarah hits him with the Michael Jackson report. He explains a fight that led to Jackson barring him from a bus leaving New York City on Sept. 11. Feldman sneaked on anyway. Why the fight? "I wrote a song about him on my new album called 'Megaloman,' which is short for megalomaniac. I was upset at him for being a disrespectable human being." Sarah smiles at the insider scoop.

Favorite film of Feldman's career? In terms of artistic value, he picks "Dream a Little Dream" (again with the other Corey). But "The Goonies" was the most fun.

You and your new "Goonies" family accept this truth as Gospel.

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