The Two Cents Gang Throws Down with GOON

 

Two Cents
Two Cents is an original column akin to a book club for films. The Cinapse team will program films and contribute our best, most insightful, or most creative thoughts on each film using a maximum of 200 words each. Guest writers and fan comments are encouraged, as are suggestions for future entries to the column. Join us as we share our two cents on films we love, films we are curious about, and films we believe merit some discussion.

The Pick

Look, it’s been a shitty few weeks for those of us who would rather not have our country under the control of racist, cheating, moronic fuck-holes. And doing a month of election-themed picks ended up compounding the bad mojo, really rubbing in the bad spot we find ourselves in.

So we’re going to get December off to a lighter note, with a film about professional athletes beating each other into damp red masses on the ice.

The film is Goon, the sleeper success from 2011. Written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg and directed by Michael Dowse, Goon follows soft-headed but big-hearted lug Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) as he stumbles into a career as a hockey goon. Despite having the sole purpose of beating the living fuck out of other players, Doug becomes the soul of the team, placing him on a collision course with Ross “The Boss” Rhea (Liev Schreiber), a legendary enforcer on his way out.

Goon traveled a circuitous path to audiences, sneaking into theaters and VOD with very little fanfare. But the film managed to build a fandom through old fashioned word of mouth and today enjoys a healthy cult following, so much so that a sequel is now ramping up for a 2017 release.

Does Goon live up to the adoration of its fans, or is this one sports comedy that needs to be put on ice (I apologize for NOTHING)? Find out below!

Did you get a chance to watch along with us this week? Want to recommend a great (or not so great) film for the whole gang to cover? Comment below or post on our Facebook or hit us up on Twitter!

Next Week’s Pick:

Mars Attacks. No particular reason.

Would you like to be a guest in next week’s Two Cents column? Simply watch and send your under-200-word review to twocents(at)cinapse.co!

Our Guests

Rockie Juarez: Goon, while wearing the mask of a full-tilt comedy, is actually the sweetest drama to come along in quite some time. Loaded with heart and honor, Goon proves that a sports film can be transcendent even if you hate sports. Doug Glatt, played perfectly by Seann William Scott, is a really nice but rather slow individual with a very simple talent: he can kick your ass into next week, no matter your size or stature. From bar bouncer to hockey enforcer (the guys on the ice built simply for destruction), Doug is damn near clueless at every turn. This however is ultimately his greatest strength. With Doug, what you see is what you get. He is beyond polite wearing his heart on his sleeve at all damn times. When he falls in love with someone, or anything for that matter, he is all in with unwavering loyalty. This very straightforward code begins to rub off on his peers in a very special way, turning him into a hero of sorts. Building to a pitch perfect finale, Goon is an hour and a half of pure crowd pleasing bliss. Have I mentioned how funny this thing is? The quotes this film has added to my lexicon(not to mention my gif collection) is staggering quite frankly. If only we could all be like Doug Glatt: loyal, sweet and willing to take a beating for the best things in your life. The world might be a better place for us all if we listen to the gospel in Goon. (@RockieWarAntz)

Brendan Agnew: Do you ever just need to hit something?

Goon is maybe the sweetest sports movie to ever answer this question with a resounding, primal, blood-curdling “YES!” At first glance, it might seem like the sort of thing only for hockey-philes and Seann William Scott completionists (those probably exist, right?), but underneath its gleeful violence, it’s a soft-hearted gem.

It would possibly be enough if Goon had stopped at the no-joke brilliant move of casting Scott as a simplistic sad sack who is courted by a local hockey team for his tendency to Hulk out on the ice, but then it goes and makes a real movie around it. One that’s actually a lot smarter than it lets on (a character names their drawing of a wolf “Loopy” for cryin’ out loud – that’s a deep cut), but also doesn’t shy away from some morally gray areas. Not only is the entire premise of the film built around a guy who punches people in a supposedly professional sport, but this film doesn’t shy away from the sort of questionable characters that most films never allow the “likable” leads to deal with.

And then, yeah, it’s also got the gleeful violence going for it. Because sometimes, you just need to hit something. (@BLCAgnew)

The Team

Justin: I want to trash this movie to piss off Brendan. I really want to. But as much as angering Brendan is important to me, I can’t. This is a great movie.

It’s probably my favorite role from Stiffler and I’m a big Jay Baruchel fan. The two have fun chemistry and the rest of the cast is fun too.

I don’t have any groundbreaking thoughts to share (big surprise), but this is truly just a really, really fun film. Looking forward to the sequel and happy to share in this palate cleanser after a hellish month of political bullshit and a year that keeps shitting on us all. (@thepaintedman)

Brendan: Growing up in a hockey-playing household, the number of films that properly represented our sport were few and far between. We all loved The Mighty Ducks franchise, Slap Shot was regarded as a holy text on par with the Bible, and Mystery, Alaska was…something that was watched.

I wasn’t expecting Goon to be any great shakes the first time I watched it, but this movie straight-fucking wowed me. Goon is the best non-Slap Shot movie ever made (no one is ever topping Paul Goddamn Newman) and one of the best sports comedies ever, full stop. The film balances hysterical laughs with a genuinely affecting emotional story carried by terrific performances by the likes of Alison Pill and Marc-André Grondin.

But the touch that really sealed me on this film is the complete absence of a villain. Schreiber (giving maybe my favorite performance of his) is the antagonist, but there’s nothing evil about him. He represents the end of the line for a certain kind of athlete, and Schreiber invests a dignity and sadness into a character that could have been a one-note bully.

It helps that the movie LOVES Ross “The Boss” Rhea. It loves all its characters, and the one knock I could make against the film is that at 90 minutes it is simply bursting at the seams with characters and jokes that have to be sped through to keep things humming.

I could go on and on. Goon is terrific, end of story. (@TheTrueBrendanF)

Austin:This one has been on my radar thanks to the evangelism of my pal Rockie, whose own entry kicked off today’s column.

Goon has a lot of the hallmarks of great sports comedies – interesting characters, raucous laughs, and of course the sports action – but goes into lesser-explored territory as well. Protagonist Doug is a sweet and humble teddy bear of a man who just happens to be really, really good at punching people.

I especially dug the scene in which Doug gets into his first hockey altercation as a fan at a game. It’s just such an adrenaline jolt that massively kicks things off in both the humor and action departments. Perhaps it’s a bit of a criticism that the movie never quite picks up that much steam again, but it’s such a great establishment of tone.

I’ve never really considered that the fighting in hockey was anything beyond a brutal tradition that provides some excitement for fans, but Goon actually shows how the fighting is used strategically, even to the point that an otherwise unskilled player is a critical defense. Still, if the film had simply followed the “hockey goon” thread, it would’ve felt a bit limp, but the romantic subplot with Alison Pill give just enough depth to make Goon more than a movie about guys trading punches. (Another subplot with Doug’s disapproving parents also adds some drama, but is left unresolved).

This movie’s a ton of fun with a surprising amount of heart, and you can add me to the cult of fans eagerly looking forward to the sequel. (@VforVashaw)

Did you all get a chance to watch along with us? Share your thoughts with us here in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook!
 

Get it at Amazon:
Goon [Blu-ray] | [Blu + DVD Combo] | [DVD] | [Instant]

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the author

Brendan Foley lives in Massachusetts, where he has made a habit out of not knowing what he's doing. He'd like to make a career out of it. You can follow his ramblings on Twitter: @TheTrueBrendanF, and his ramblinger ramblings on Tumblr. Three years from now, it will be revealed that he was dead the entire time.