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!
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!
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)
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)
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)
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!