Movie of the Day – Goon
May 20, 2012 Leave a comment
So a while back I did a post on the movie “Slap Shot“, which is a vulgar and crude hockey movie that is both enjoyable and hilarious if you are in the mood for a sports comedy. So when I posted this, I got asked about the movie Goon, which the trailer is at the top of the page. I surprisingly had a copy of the movie on my desk, but never willed myself to watch it. It should be noted that the film isn’t available until May 9th, but is available On-demand and VOD. From the initial trailer, it was a tone deaf, slugfest of a film that offered up the bare essentials of machismo and guttural fisticuffs that satiated a bloodlust that we all have. I didn’t truly discern a lot of comedy from the trailer and what the true essence of what the movie could be. It seemed like just a poorly remade version of Slap Shot, just with a new veneer and some more updated jokes. But after watching it, I changed my tune about this film as beneath the scabbed over cuts and black eyes the film leaves us with, there is a lot of sincerity, heart and vulgarity to make me a fan of Goon.
Not content with his job as a bouncer, Doug Glatt (Seann WilliamScott) dreams of a more rewarding job and gaining his parents’ respect. When a chance encounter with an on-ice thug leads to a fistfight that Doug easily wins, the on-looking coach sees Doug’s potential, in spite of his lack of any hockey playing ability. Joining the team and with the encouragement of his best friend (Jay Baruchel), Doug quickly becomes a rising star. Soon he’ll have the opportunity to face-off against the infamous league thug, Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber), perhaps finally land a girlfriend and stick to a job he enjoys. Now – all he needs to do is learn to skate. (source)
The film is a by the numbers sports film, done countless times in different sports venues, but what makes it standout is the characters. Specifically, the character of Doug Glatt played by Sean William Scott, who is the amiable, slightly dim bouncer with a heart of gold. He is the sort of downtrodden character that we sympathize with, but who also possesses and incredible talent, which is dishing out pain by the fistful. There is stark contrast between his off the rink antics and the animal enforcer that he becomes when we dons the jersey of the Semi-pro Canadian hockey team. He trades in slow, loveable line deliveries for mac truck force punches and barbaric brutality, all of which is manly and powerful. Scott manages to get away from that Frat boy persona and actually plays a character with some levity, which is impressive since we are engaging with a character whose sole purpose is to hurt people out on the rink.
That is the source of Goon’s comedy and story, the bruised portrait of an enforcer as he learns to develop not only as a player, but as a person. The development of Glatt gives us some smoothing of the edges from a film that solely relies on the most vulgar and profane humor (which I love) and the violence that is associated with the sport of Hockey. The film doesn’t have the most developed story or original one for that matter, but it makes up for this shortfall with humor and violence, two things that go so well together. Taking the unrestricted approach to humor, Goon is extremely close to Slapshot in terms of comedy, just updating the jokes for more profanity and vulgarity, all of which works well with the film.
Goon isn’t just another hockey film or a sports film for that matter. Scott is charming in the role of the folksy bouncer turned goon and it is hard to resist enjoying his role. He is funny, brutal and crude at the right times, but there is a profound growth in his character throughout the film. Anchoring his performance is that of the rest of the cast, from Liev Schreiber as the rival enforcer, the cutesy groupie Alison Pill and coach Kim Coates, they all add an interesting layer to the proceedings and comedy. Some insightful, tongue-in-cheek commentary on the sport of hockey and enforcer are made throughout the film, but it does get a bit lost amongst the locker room humor. Still, all this put together makes for a very entertaining, crude, humorous, and violent film about hockey.
*images via RottenTomatoes