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FRIDAY & SATURDAY
The enduring social influence of Ray Parker Jr.’s theme song and Corey Feldman’s dreamy eyes aside, Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters and Richard Donner’s The Goonies (pictured) are rarely recognized for their politically charged commentary on one of our nation’s most turbulent decades. It’s shocking to see proof that, not so long ago, Hollywood painted the EPA as bad guys: Pity Walter Peck, a poor sap who, with nothing but New York City’s best interests in mind, justifiably wants to investigate the presence of noxious, possibly hazardous-waste chemicals in the basement of a dilapidated firehouse owned by three capitalist entrepreneurs—who, in addition to having a monopoly on the entire paranormal investigation and elimination industry, make their living by waving around unlicensed nuclear accelerators. Perhaps, in Reitman’s world of fame and fortune, any bureaucratic environmentalist arrogant enough to challenge the interests of Big Business deserves to have his manhood put into question in front of high-ranking city officials and be thrown out of the mayor’s office. (Don’t even get me started on the film’s blatantly homophobic “Don’t cross the streams” message.) Donner’s family-oriented adventure, by contrast, has a decidedly more liberal perspective: Caricaturing the lavish self-indulgence of the elite (personified as ruthless land developers) at the expense of the lower classes, The Goonies metaphorically addresses the financial burden placed on America’s youth by the policies and exorbitant government spending of the Reagan administration. If Generation X was raised by television, then the irreconcilable differences between these two films spell out d-i-v-o-r-c-e. Children of the ’80s, choose between your politically opposed parents when Ghostbusters screens at midnight Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26, at Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda, $6.50, (301) 652-7273, and The Goonies screens at midnight Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26, at Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 11th and E Streets NW, $6.75, (202) 452-7672. (Matthew Borlik)