run time: 92 mins
considered: Comedy, Sport
director: Michael Dowse
starring: Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Liev Schreiber, Eugene Levy, Marc-Andre Grondin, Kim Coates, Nicholas Campbell, Richard Clarkin, Jonathan Cherry, Ricky Mabe, George Tchortov, Karl Graboshas, Larry Woo, Stephen Sim
movie summary: Everyone has something they are passionate about in life, everyone also wants to feel that they belong to something. Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) was a tough as nails bouncer who found his calling in life as a hockey player. He was by far the worse skater and stick handler on his team, but his ability to take a punch then deliver a beating on his opponents turned him into the heart and soul of the Halifax Highlanders.
Doug grew up in a small town in Massachusetts where he was a bouncer at the local bar and would attend hockey games with his buddy Pat (Jay Baruchel) in his free time. One night at a game a huge brawl breaks out on the ice and flows into the crowd where Doug beats the crap out of this huge fully dressed hockey player. Doug knocks the guy with a head butt that destroys his helmet. The coach is so impressed by Doug’s actions that he invites to come try out for the team. Dressed in full hockey gear with a pair of figure skates, Doug falls all over the place when his soon to be teammates laugh and mock him. Within minutes Doug has taken out six to seven guys while the others back away not wanting any piece of the action. Doug makes the team and begins his training to be a hockey player.
Coach calls Doug into his office one day and offers him a chance to go up to Halifax to play on his brother’s team. His star player Zavier Laflamme (Marc-Andre Grondin) has never been the same since suffering a serious concussion from the baddest player in the league, Ross “The Boss” Rhea (Liev Schreiber). Doug’s job is to go up there and be a shadow for Laflamme and protect him at all costs to the team can win again. Pat is overly excited for his buddy to get a call up the minor leagues so he teaches him a few more fighting techniques.
When Doug reaches Halifax his roommate turns out to be Laflamme who doesn’t like him at all. Doug goes to the rink to meet the team where he gets to know his crazy bio-polar goalie Marco Belchior (Jonathan Cherry), his divorced Captain Gord Ogilvey (Richard Clarkin), the team kiss ass John Stevenson (Ricky Mabe) and the two imports from Russia Oleg (Karl Graboshas) and Evgeni (George Tchortov). Laflamme shows up late with headphones blaring not giving a care about the team or anyone on it. Doug adjusts to his new team and all their crazy routines while they adjust to his fighting style and his dedication to the team.
The team begins to win with Doug’s inspired, but limited, playing time. He has reignited the spark on this team and everyone is having a good time except Laflamme. His poor attitude begins to separate him from the team and costs him his assistant captaincy to Doug. His attitude is about to change one game when he gets levelled into the boards and Doug fights the guy who hits him. Laflamme appreciates that Doug stood up for him even with all the crap he has put him through. Doug explains that he loves the team and that he needs him to come around and together they go win the championship.
The Highlanders miraculously make the playoffs which leads to a winner take all championship game against Ross the Boss’s team the St. John Shamrocks. This could be a career defining moment for three particular players, Laflamme who will get one more chance to exorcise some personal demons, Ross will have a chance to go out a champion and legendary fighter, while Doug can use this one game to fight Ross and take the torch from him as the league’s toughest goon. There’s only 60 minutes and once the puck drops it can be anyone’s game.
my thoughts: Goon got a lot more hype here in Canada then probably anywhere else in the world. It was filmed on Canadian soil and was written by an avid hockey fan from Montreal, Jay Baruchel. There are not a lot of hockey movies out there and whenever someone mentions the sport in any movie most people instantly think back to watching Slap Shot as a kid. Slap Shot is the holy grail of hockey movies and rightfully so, it is filled with gross humour, guys being guys, nudity, sex, homosexual jokes, hockey talk, locker room talk, and of course lots of hockey! There hasn’t a been a movie like it since and any remake would just never be the same. Goon has all the necessary tools to give Slap Shot a run for the title but comes up a just a little bit short in the end.
Seann Williams Scott is always known as a funny guy, especially his role from the American Pie series so no one should expect anything less from him as Doug Glatt. His attitude, stupidity, lack of athletic ability, and his jersey number will have everyone falling out of their seats laughing. When he’s out on the ice in a non-fighting role he has no clue how to play the game but will sacrifice his body in any way so his team can win. The fire that burns inside him rubs off on the other players who needed that kind of spark to turn their losing ways around. Marc-Andre Grondin plays the stereotype superstar who thinks he’s the best all by himself and doesn’t need the help. Lucky for him his guardian angel arrives and saves him from self-destruction. Liev Schreiber is great as the wise old enforcer who has been around long enough to have fought everyone and gained enough respect that you don’t just fight a guy like him, you have to earn it. Together their individual stories clash on the ice that leaves a lot blood splattered all over the white ice surface. The rest of Highlanders’ team mates all bring their own hilarious personalities to the movie just like the cast did in Slap Shot. No team is perfect but these bunch of guys have no sense of direction, that it is funny just watching them interact with each other.
It’s hard not to compare Goon and Slap Shot because both provide movie goers with a hilarious look into the life of a pro hockey team. Both have wacky crazy characters that will make you spit out any popcorn or candy you are eating because you won’t be able to contain your laughing. Many people can reel off the funniest parts of Slap Shot and all the famous one liners, Goon provides just as much comedy and new one-liners that a new generation of hockey fans can embrace and enjoy. Don’t watch Goon and expect a Disney made production where everyone is a winner at the end, go into it with an open mind and remember how much fun you may have had in your hockey dressing room as a kid or an adult. Goon will not make everyone laugh, some may think it is pointless and stupid, but those two reasons are what make an instant classic that can be watched over and over again only never to lose its greatness.
my star rating: 8 out 10
imdb.com: 6.9 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 82% out 100%