2ITB Movie Review: Goon

First, a math problem. Which is more affordable; spending $10 to watch a movie in bed or $20 (or more) to drive to the theater for the same movie?

Now that the difficult portion is out of the way, take the time to get on iTunes or On Demand portion of your cable provider and rent Goon. It is $10 for a one-day rental, but this allows you to catch the flick almost a month before the movie is released in theaters (March 30). Based on the quality of the movie, you may still be motivated to roll down to your local cinemas to see it again.

Goon is a tale of bouncer-turned-hockey player, Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott). Doug is a dim guy with a hard skull and equally hard fist. The movie portrays him as sort of a softie at heart who just happens to have the natural gift of beating the hell out of people. Spurred on in defense of his buddy at a local semi-pro game, Glatt gets a tryout and eventually becomes the team’s enforcer. All of this is accomplished despite the fact that Glatt cannot skate.

There is a brief skating montage that precedes Glatt’s contract offer from a minor league team. One of the few beefs I had with the movie was the fact that Scott’s poor skating skills never improved. This is something even stood out to Scott when he saw the final product. This may have been a result of a rushed production, or just the difficulty of Scott to learn the craft. Regardless, had Scott been a little stronger on his skates, his character’s ascension would have been far more believable.

Still, Scott moves onto a minor league – think a combination of the ECHL and AHL – and is pegged to ride shotgun for their concussion-ridden superstar. Glatt punches his way into the hearts of the fans and media and eventually earns the respect of his roommate (the ailing superstar). The culmination of the film comes when Glatt’s team is battling for a playoff spot with Ross Rhea’s (Liev Schreiber) squad. Rhea is regarded as the best fighter to play the game and the final battle between Glatt and Rhea is the pinnacle of the movie.

Along the way Glatt meets a girl, is introduced to some of the oddities of a hockey locker room and the ups and downs of filling the role of the enforcer. All-in-all, the movies hits a home run. Not only does it do a great job of showing some of the finer details of what life is like as an enforcer, but there is some quality comedy laced in as well. Give credit to Jay Baruchel for penning a humorous script that stayed accurate, for the most part.

I would also like to say Baruchel’s character was obnoxious, unfunny and largely pointless in my opinion. He is the catalyst for Glatt’s interest in hockey and for taking him to the game that led to his tryout. However, there was literally one line uttered by Baruchel’s character that I laughed at. Otherwise I kept wishing his character would go away when he was on screen. Scott did a good job of playing up the soft spoken, hammer-fisted player he portrayed.  Schreiber was brilliant in his role of a veteran goon on his way out of the game. Truthfully, his character could star in a dramatic portrayal of a goon a la The Wrestler, he was that good.

As someone who looks too far into certain aspects of hockey movies (see: equipment), I picked up quickly on some continuity and accuracy errors made by the movie. I have no problem using fictional teams, these things happen when the subject matter is likely to extreme for the actual professional league to endorse. However, some choices that were made regarding equipment stood out to me.

The helmet used by Halifax’s goalie looked like the “paint” was pasted on and the cage would never be used by a professional. Not to mention some of the things said goaltender did were not just over the top for comedic purposes, they rang as terribly false with me. Other background pieces stood out too. For example, the 1980’s era Cooper helmet with a full shield in a player’s stall after a game. The backup goalie also had his pads on the wrong legs in the opening locker room scene.

Aside from the small details that would likely only perturb an equipment snob like myself; the movie was well done. The few hockey scenes used were realistic and the fights were agreeably pumped up to add to the effect. Not every hockey fight is a slug fest, but for the purposes of the movie that needed to be changed.

This movie will not do all that well in the States. But that’s okay. It flew to number one in Canada and will hit home with hockey fans and players. Ignoring some of the over-the-top comedy and writing will make you appreciate the accuracy that was found regarding locker room rapport and general lifestyle.

Check out Goon, you won’t be disappointed with your choice.

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