For my Fistful of Heroic Kids I decided to focus solely on the 1980s, the decade of my youth in which I discovered my love for all things dorky and weird just like the kiddie adventures of Super 8.
5. Glen, Terry, Linda, and Lori (The Gate): Digging up my backyard as a youth I thought I found the skull of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, but as the a-hole kid next door told me it was just a big stupid rock. Well, I guess I should have cracked it open with a hammer cuz it might have unleashed a gateway to hell and I coulda had a whole mess of adventures like little Stephen Dorf & Co did here in The Gate! Kiddie Dorf is probably the closest cinema has come to depicting Kiddie Me and I had at least one buddy who resembled satanic researcher Terry. If you haven't seen The Gate now is the time. Fun PG Horror with plenty of great Stop Motion creatures to keep you interested.
4. Alex Rogan (The Last Starfighter): In 1984 I was five years old. It was one of the clearest early theatrical experiences burned into my brain. I remember watching Alex Rogan and thinking, man, I can't wait till one day I'm discovered by Starfighter Aliens thanks to my mad arcade skills. Sadly, Centauri never pulled up in his space car, I never met the lizard warrior named Grig, and I had to languish in the trailer park of oridnary existence for far too long. Still, I try to keep up on my video games cuz you never know who's watching.
3. Ben, Darren, & Wolfgang (Explorers): As much as Super 8 is a Spielberg lovefest, the film it really reminded me of was Joe Dante's classic sci-fi wish fulfillment flick Explorers. Like all these films on this week's Fistful, I really really really wanted to be part of the gang. I wanted to hang out with Ethan Hawke and River Pheonix and build a spaceship outta scrap metal. I wanted to travel to the stars and discover wild, alien life. I wanted to confuse and frustrate Dick Miller's helicopter pilot. Loads of fun, Explorers just doesn't get talked about enough. It's perfect.
2. Mikey, Brand, Chunk, Mouth, Data, Andy, Stef, and Sloth (The Goonies): It's such an obvious choice that I almost didn't put it on the list. But you just can't deny The Goonies when you're talking about great kid adventure films. I'm not going to babble on about this classic, I'm just gonna say I love The Goonies the way Sloth Loves Chunk and the way Chunk Loves Sloth. Eternal.
1. Sean, Patrick, Fat Kid, Rudy, Phoebe, Eugene, Frank, Pete, and Scary German Guy (The Monster Squad): No, I'm not being subversive by placing The Monster Squad above The Goonies. As much as I love those treasure hunters, I've always connected to these horrorhounds and they really are just more badass. When Dracula, his dynamite, The Creature, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, and Frankenstein's Monster set loose upon a small town it's up to these fool hearty but properly educated kids to complete Van Helsing's revenge. And I just love how extreme this film is for PG-13. Squibs and Limbs and plenty of Cursing...and yes, The Wolf Man Has Nards! If you haven't seen it, get to it, and complete your childhood.