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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: June 30: Goon


June 30: Goon

"Labeled an outcast by his brainy family, a bouncer overcomes long odds to lead a team of under performing misfits to semi-pro hockey glory, beating the crap out of everything that stands in his way."
Directed by: Michael Dowse, Rated: R, 92 minutes

Goon has been on my radar for quite some time. I remember seeing a trailer for it months ago and for some, was very excited for it. It's surprising, because I really don't like hockey at all, and the closest I've ever come to giving a damn about it was when I was watching The Mighty Ducks when I was younger (Emilio Estevez makes everything cool). Luckily, my wait for the film paid off, as Goon certainly delivers one hell of a punch. It's funny, it's heartfelt (shocking, I know), and it's bloodier than a butcher's shop. It's a funny underdog story that just happens to be set in the hockey world and tells the story of one man trying to find his place in the world, even if it's the penalty box. 

Some call it "time-out", Doug calls it home. 

Goon tells the story of Doug Glatt (Sean William Scott), a bouncer with fists of steel and who does his job well. He's not the brightest of people, but far from stupid. He's simply, simple and goes through life with a smile on his face, loyalty to his friends, and no expectations of becoming anything great. However, when Doug gets in a fight with a hockey player at a game he's attending, he finds himself getting hired by a minor league hockey team, everything changes. He's thrown into a sport he's only been a fan of, having no idea of how to skate or even shoot the puck. He's hired muscle thrown out on the ice to rough the other team up and defend his teammates. And he does it incredibly well. An older player on a rival team, Ross Rhea (Liev Schrieber), who has been known to knock the f**k out of anyone in his way, crosses paths with Doug and the two's showdown is the big finale of the film. Goon is really all about Doug's story and the wins and loses of his team are very much background information that adds to the plot. While his team does play second fiddle to Doug's "blossoming into the ice fighter", the cast of characters that make up the team are both hilarious and fun to watch. 

This mousy little fellow (Jay Baruchel) not only produced and wrote the film, but also plays Doug's best friend, Ryan. He also provides the majority of the film's f-bombs. 

The best part of the film is that very cast, led by the terrific Sean William Scott. I fully believe that Goon is his best performance to date, which may not be saying a lot given his career, but it's still a damn good performance. His Doug is a mix between Forrest Gump and Lenny from Of Mice and Men and it's his heart and simple-mindedness that make Doug so likable. You really root for him and seeing him get beaten up is pretty hard to watch. Not to mention, the whole thing is incredibly violent and Michael Dowse's direction does not hold back showing every punch. The fights actually feel like you're watching a boxing movie and really adds a lot of authenticity to the film. Instead of just watching staged "scrapping" on the ice, you feel you're at a real game watching real players beat the shit out of each other. 

Or in the living room, watching rival siblings pummel each other. 

I would highly recommend Goon. Sure, it's violent, but it's incredibly sincere and tells a great story of a simple man finding some meaning in his life. It's an underdog story at its best, with the focus on a lovable brute as opposed to an entire team. Sean William Scott is at his best and it's great to see him in something other than his raunchy Stiffler from the American Pie movies (not that it's bad). It's by no means a perfect movie but it's certainly worth your time, even if you're no fan of hockey. Goon will make you laugh and cringe, something that's incredibly hard to do well. It's a bloody good time.

The Good:
a surprisingly heart-felt story told with just enough humor without feeling too over-the-top
The Better:
an authentic look at the brutality of the sport of hockey
The Best:
Sean William Scott in his best performance to date, taking an otherwise run-of-the-mill comedy into the realm of some of the best hockey (if not sports) movies of all time

Overall: 7.6/10


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