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Hockey fans will be happy campers with Goon

Paul Peterson

It’s hard to review a hockey movie without lapsing into cliche – like using the word eh over and over or suggesting that someone get the puck out of there.
I’m going to try and be strong because Goon is surprisingly strong and deserves better than the usual hackneyed overview.
Goon would seem to be going for the obvious with its simplistic title and the emphasis from the marketing team on showing the highlight reel of violence and carnage, but it’s more than that.
My first clue that it was going to be a pleasent surprise was when I saw that Jay Baruchel was in it and co-wrote the screenplay with Evan Goldberg, who co-wrote Superbad, which a lot of people think is the ultimate comedy. Not me, but it is funny. Baruchel was exceptional in The Trotzky and She’s Out of His League. Now that was funny.
I think this may be in part Baruchel flexing his new clout in the movie industry. The original book is a non-fiction.
Our story so far:
Doug Glatt is a bouncer with a heart of gold and a head of wood. He’s about as smart as a bag of hammers and he does have some remorse when he’sbeating some of the sketchbags up that get on the wrong side of his boss at the sleezy bar he works at.
He isn’t exactly the shining light in his family of doctors having forsaken the family business for a seemingly shiftless job until he gets a shot to play semi-pro hockey. Really, he gets a chance to protect a drug addled star who is trying to mount a comeback, and the home club needs him reformed and protected.
The violence in this film is stunning.
Ya, I said it. I don’t know how else to describe it.
If you’re a hockey fan hoping to recapture the glory that was Slap Shot you’re going to be a happy camper.
It’s better than anything Don Cherry ever rocked and socked and it really is violence for the sake of violence.
The fact that there’s a back story is just a bonus. Liev Schreiber plays Rhea Ross, a goon on his way out who seems to, if not be self-actualized, at least have some sense of how the game’s played and his impending mortality.
There’s a lot of funny stuff going on here and the best line of the film comes from Alison Pill who plays Eva, the token love interest, who falls for Doug hard and says “You make me want to stop sleeping with a bunch of guys.” It’s a Hallmark moment but more the kind that gets sold in the dollar store.
As a sports movie it gets full marks and hockey fans will walk out with their bloodlust satisfied. As a comedy it’s also full value. There really are some very funny moments and the audience I watched it with had a couple of belly laughs. Of course, they may have been a few kernels shy of a combo. And in all fairness, calling that handful of stoners and ne’er dowells an audience is generous if not an out-and-out lie, but you get the idea.
It’s a fun movie. I think Sean Micheal Scott is getting a little long in the tooth with Amertican Pie reunions staring at us next month, but they actually half way acknowledge that. He’s as close to over the hill as you can get without actually rolling down it and he knows this is his one shot at being bigger than he was.
I liked Goon and hope a lot of people get to see it when it comes out on DVD since not many did when it was in theatres.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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