Wednesday, January 6, 2016

#2 - Goon

When I saw Goon for the first time on Netflix, it instantly became my favorite hockey/sports movies and one of my favorite comedies. I've seen it a few times since then, and it has solidified it's position in both categories.

I have since recommended this to three people (I don't watch many movies these days, after working at Blockbuster for years I guess I needed a break from movies haha) so for me to recommend it at all is saying something. One person was my brother, who is very similar to me in many ways and sense of humor tends to line up 9 times out of 10. He loved it as well, it cracks us up, but we do have the same humor plus a very strong passion for hockey. The second person I recommended it to was an ex-girlfriend who just NOW decided to take an interest in hockey recently, I thought she'd really like it but it was just "okay" because it was "kind of stupid". I know comedies like this aren't for everyone, it certainly isn't an enlightening movie in any way, so fair enough I suppose. But I was disappointed. The last one who watched it was my sister-in-law, who likes hockey some and who also saw it as "just okay" I think. I had hoped she'd like it, but not entirely surprised she didn't.

So the deal with it:  It's basically about the role fighting plays in the game of hockey.  It's about an enforcer, a goon played by Seann William Scott who's a really simple, down-to-earth nice guy named Doug Glatt who's only good at one thing. So yeah, it's kind of the typical sports movie where he starts on a terrible team and helps improve them into being competitive... but it's the characters and dialogue that make the movie so great. The casting is spot on - from Scott, to Jay Baruchel who plays the best friend and also co-wrote the movie, to the love interest played by Alison Pill, and the rival "goon" played by Liev Schreiber who looks perfect as an about-to-retire early-forties hockey tough guy. The dialogue is hilarious to me, but now is a good time to warn it is very much Rated R. The hockey team is a very dysfunctional group of characters as you'd expect:  You've got the veteran captain of course, played by Richard Clarkin (perfectly cast again) who often brings up his struggles with his divorce during his prep talks to his teammates. You've got the suck-up good kid played by Ricky Mabe (perfectly cast) who often repeats his coach's or captain's encouragements to hilarious effect. And as a major plot point, you have the very talented superstar player who is in the minors due to being injured previously by the rival goon, played (perfectly) by Marc-Andre Grondin. Then there's the starting goalie of course, played by Jonathan Cherry (perfectly) who gets ribbing for goals against and more--from his teammates.

Not only is the language R-rated, but it is about fighting in hockey and doesn't hold back any blood--or teeth. It's a pretty graphic movie, which will turn off some people. It's a little over the top, but what I do love is the actual hockey in the movie. It feels very realistic with the skating, stopping, passing, shooting, hitting, quick action you find in ice hockey. Plus you incorporate penalties, including the rival goon goading our hero Doug Glatt into taking a minor penalty, and other hockey-related situations like Glatt playing a "screener" role in front of the net on a powerplay, or Glatt's coach (played perfectly by Kim Coates) getting upset with him for staying on the ice too long instead of going for a line change, all of these things happening with real-life speed of the game, and it feels like a very authentic hockey movie, which I love.

Rotten Tomatoes seems to agree, with a "Certified Fresh" rating of 82%. It won't be for everyone as I've found out the hard way, but if you're looking for quipping banter or just "gay porn hard" hockey action (watch it, you'll see), I think you'll agree with me, this movie is hilarious.