These guys are awesome. They just don’t know it yet.
GOON (2012) – I enjoy coming across films I think may be crap, and, to my pleasant surprise, have them turn out to be treasured films you would not hesitate to put in the DVD or Blu-ray player, and watch just to get your spirits up. I’m no hockey fan, but this film co-written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express), is almost all about it–with a meld of personal development in-between–and I enjoyed it. The film is based on the book Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey, written by Adam Frattasio and Doug Smith. The book chronicles the true events of how Doug Smith, who always dreamed of playing hockey, quickly rose through the ranks of minor league hockey. Mainly because he could efficiently kick ass.
The story centers around a bouncer, Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) who, despite his profession, is an extremely modest and mild-mannered guy, who only wants to prove to his mother and father (Eugene Levy) that he can be someone worthy of them. His brother (David Paetkau) is a doctor, and his parents are always going on about his achievements. But the allure of the film doesn’t only center around his familiar relationship, but a sort of imaginative ‘rags to riches’ tale of self discovery–and smashing heads.
His obnoxious number one friend and fan, Pat (Jay Baruchel), who hosts the public access television show Hot Ice, covers the fisticuffs hockey players seem to unavoidably get themselves into. One night, they both attend a game and Pat antagonizes the already tempered players. When one of them angrily climb the stands to get at him, Doug steps in and knocks the guy out. Right there: fast, effective, and brutal. Of course, Pat was filming the whole thing and turned it into the feature of his next show. At the same time, talent scouts who witness the event invite Doug to try out for a team and almost immediately, he is playing professional hockey–but he has to learn how to skate on the ice.
Doug meets his team of misfits and the star of the team Xavier (Marc-Andre Grondin) who suffered a severe concussion during his career and has, since then, given the team piss-poor performances to avoid injuries. At first, the two have conflicting interests and unite towards the end as the realization of a common enemy–Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber), an equally brutal thug of the hockey world and the man who put Xavier in a coma, and Doug’s life-long hero–shows himself. Ross is at the end of his career and he wants to go out with a bang–one fight that would define his career–Doug is the man that would give him this satisfaction. Will Doug eventually meet Ross on the ice? Of course he will; however, it is the events that lead him there that are worth noting–but not worth spoiling.
Nevertheless, aside from my sheepish manners in film etiquette, Goon is an amazing film and it is good to see Seann William Scott as something other than the mindless, skirt chasing Stiffler in the American Pie series or the clueless side-kick in the film Dude, Where’s My Car. He gave an impressive performance and even though his character wasn’t up there on the intelligence spectrum, he was still able to gift an emotionally addictive persona. Goon has, perhaps, opened a door for Scott to branch out into more diverse roles.
Sports films aren’t usually my thing, but I am all over and into this film. It is a definitive form of entertainment, and a film that you should not pass up–especially if you have the stomach for it.
(NSFW) Meet Doug. The nicest guy you’ll ever fight. (NSFW)
Art and supplementary materials courtesy ©2012 of Magnolia Pictures. All rights reserved.