Based on Adam Frattasio’s book Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey, Goon follows Doug “The Thug” Glatt, a bouncer trying to find his place in the world. His family members are all respected doctors who make him feel insecure and inferior. While attending a hockey game with his foul mouthed friend Ryan (Jay Baruchel), Doug gets into a fight with one of the players and that’s when his luck changes. Impressed by what he saw, the opposing coach recruits Doug to be an enforcer, and eventually moves up to an NHL farm team because of his amazing ability to destroy people. When word of Doug’s talents spreads throughout the league, the most notorious enforcer, Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber), takes note and makes sure to let Doug know that, while he respects him, when the times comes, he’ll lay him out.
As a child of the 90s The Mighty Ducks will always hold a dear spot in my heart, and I know that Slap Shot is the holy grail of hockey films, but I think I’m going to have to go so far as to say that Goon is now my favorite hockey comedy of all time. For hockey fans, you might be thinking to yourself that nothing could touch Slap Shot but I promise you that Goon is on par if not better, particularly because of how much heart the film has compared to the 70s hit.
Goon is driven by Scott’s humbling and honest performance as Doug. It was amazing to see him play a character that felt real, nice and down to earth compared to his usual over the top roles like Stifler and still manage to deliver hardcore laughs. While he’s a guy that can take and dish punches like nobody’s business, Doug does it all with class and respect. He’s a guy that you have to love and one that you’ll always root for because of his dedication and upstanding principles.
While Scott drives the film, the supporting cast keeps everything else flowing, delivering consistent laughs throughout. Though a bit obnoxious, Jay Baruchel’s over the top performance was the perfect compliment for Scott’s character. I also have to give a nod to Doug’s Jewish family, particularly Eugene Levy with awkwardness and wit as Dr. Glatt, along with a hilariously pitch perfect performance by Liv Schreiber as Rhea and a sweet delivery by Alison Pill as the love interest, Eva.
Aside from the performances, what truly makes this story work, besides it actually being true, is the script and direction of the film. The writers, Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, and director Michael Dowse are all from Canada which roughly translates to “they know their shit about hockey.” Due to their familiarity to the sport they are able to portray it as accurately as possible and know exactly where laughs can be generated.
The film reaches its climax when Doug’s team and Rhea’s teams finally encounter each. It’s the fight that everyone in the league has been waiting for and it is beautifully orchestrated. This glorious battle results is an intense, emotional and even comical showdown, one I’d call it the equivalent of a Mayweather/Pacquiao bout [if it happens], with the bonus of an amazing moustache to top it all off.
There are a lot of iconic sports films in each genre but hockey has really only had one until now. Goon officially joins the ranks of Slap Shot and has been able to do so with raunchiness, humility and integrity, a rare combination for any comedy. It’s a hilarious film and so all I can say is that you better make this movie the next one you see, especially with the Stanley Cup finals going on right now.
Magnolia Home Entertainment has put together one of their best blu-rays yet. The disc comes with a ton of special features including some very funny deleted scenes (9 min), an average outtake/blooper reel (6 min), funny Goalie Audition footage (5 min.), Fighting 101-a quick 4 min hockey fighting lesson by Ryan (Jay Baruchel’s character), HDNet: A Look at Goon-pieces of interviews cut with footage (5 min), Goon Hockey Cards, a 30 min interview with Seann William Scott and Jay Baruchel, Power Play Clips which consists of 45 minutes worth of behind the scenes footage cut with interviews with various people involved with the film, some funny commentary with Michael Dowse and Jay Baruchel, and lastly there are some trailers from Magnolia’s other features.
Rating: Joins the elite ranks of Slap Shot and can safely be called the best hockey comedy of my generation (7.5/10)
Disc rating: 9/10