Running Time: 92 minutes
Starring: Seann William Scott, Eugene Levy, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Liev Schreiber
Directed By: Michael Dowse
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
A man heads out to Eastern Canada to pursue his dream of becoming a hockey enforcer.
Hockey movies are notoriously bad. They do not have the sheer awesomeness of a tight football game movie. Nor do they have the electricity of a baseball movie with a ninth inning walk off home run. Hockey is a sport that is too fast paced for the big screen. So when watching a hockey movie, you are always wondering wouldn’t I just like the real thing more? That is until the movie Goon rolled around and stole the viewer’s heart with a simplistic tale of team camaraderie and tenacity. The movie Goon is a story about a simple Jewish boy named Doug Glatt. He is seemingly lost in the world working as a bouncer at a local watering hole. He sees everyone around him doing things with their lives and he seems lost in the mix. That is until he gets a random tryout as a hockey enforcer with a very minor league hockey team. He realizes this is what he wants to do with his life and puts everything he has into it. He even moves to Eastern Canada to pursue his dream, and finding out about love and honor along the way.
If you are not familiar with hockey, goons (more commonly known as enforcers) are hockey’s bad boys. They protect the star players of their team by hitting, and more often than not having to fight to make their statement heard. They are often one of the most popular, if not the favorite player on any hockey team. They are blue collar workers representing themselves well. I have to admit it took me a little while to get into this film. I found the opening scene of seeing Doug working as a bouncer a little cheesy for my tastes. But once it gets going this film is a treat. Doug is this honest and trustworthy guy off the ice, and he takes these traits with him onto the ice while he pounds the pulp out of guys on the other team. You root for Doug because he is the nicest guy, and you want him to succeed. The story of following his minor league team is very much secondary to seeing Doug succeed as an enforcer. This movie will make you laugh out loud, but more often than not, you will find yourself smiling for no other reason than Doug’s team scores a goal. The fighting in the film is not the best visually but keeps in tune with the films feel. Blood and teeth will fly and it all seems appropriate. I also really liked the fact that the goons personalities from team to team were so varied. They were not all just dumb jocks. Some were polite, others dumb, some philosophical, while others mean. You never knew what personality Doug was going to run into on the ice so it kept the film fresh.
Doug Glatt played by Seann William Scott while not a challenging role was never the less perfectly played. You will love this character from the start until the end. He is funny, open, and Scott does not go overboard with him. There is something so genuine about Scott’s portrayal of Doug that this film had to work. His foul mouthed best friend Ryan played by Jay Baruchel is another great addition to this film. The two of them shouldn’t be friends but relate to each other perfectly. Baruchel makes sure that all the sex and crass humor is fulfilled in this film and he does it well. Doug has a love interest named Eva played by Alison Pill, and she does a solid job of keeping this movie a little grounded as it does get too out there from time to time.
The supporting cast of actors making up Doug’s hockey team is a great mix as they range from young rookies to alcoholic veterans. They allow for a bevy of different jokes and stories to unfold around Doug’s main storyline and that is a good thing. Another great supporting role was Liev Schreiber who plays veteran goon Ross Rhea. He has the look, he has the demeanor, and he has the presence of a goon down pat. It doesn’t hurt that he has a kick ass handle bar moustache to boot. He was such a great character in such a small supporting role he just completed the movie for me.
The film is never slow no matter if it is on or off the ice. The whole movie is built up anticipation of Doug the rookie, fighting hockey enforcer legend Ross Rhea. I found I was more emotionally invested in Doug’s hockey team than I should have been and that is the sign of a great movie. This film is well written and heartfelt which I also liked. This film will become a cult classic and I was shocked at how funny it truly was. When it ended I easily could have watched more and I am not sure if this story has the strength for another one but I certainly hope they try.
Director Michael Dowse has directed the virtually unknown but funny Canadian films Fubar and Fubar 2 so he knows how to put together a comedy on a low budget. He took a really funny script (Jay Baruchel, Evan Goldberg, Adam Frattasio, Doug Smith) and turned it into something special. The hockey fights and hockey highlights were nothing special but not the worst either and certainly never detracted from the film. The story was perfectly paced with the right amount of on the ice to off the ice ratio. He took a good cast and made a film he should be proud of.
I am going to give this movie a big recommendation especially to Hockey lovers and of course Canadians.
T Factor + If you like hockey this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – if you do not like hockey this could score way lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Major League, Slap Shot