Hockey Mom Movie Camp Week 3: Goon
goon ɡo͞on/ noun 2. a bully or thug, especially one hired to terrorize or do away with opposition.
The only way you are going to be able to watch Goon in its entirety is if you suspend any delicate sensibilities you may have about bad language, crude humor and copious amounts of blood.
"Goon" earns its R rating in a big way!
Based on the real life hockey player Doug Smith, Goon follows its fictional counterpart Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott from American Pie fame) on his journey from bouncer to hockey goon. The black sheep in an overly educated, conservative family, Doug feels out of place, in a rut and going nowhere until he discovers his hidden talent.
The ability to beat the crap out of anyone.
Scouted in a most unusual way involving corn dogs and fighting in the stands, Doug tries out for a minor league team. Despite not knowing how to play hockey or even skate, he earns a spot by laying out his own teammates. Spurred on by his very off color and insanely over-the-top hockey commentator friend, Pat (Jay Baruchel) Doug begins to build a reputation as Doug the Thug, and a fan base as part of the "Assassins".
Eventually he gets into the big time on the Halifax Highlanders, a team just below the NHL, acting as a bodyguard to the team's diva goal scorer Xavier LaFlamme (Marc-Andre Grondin). An interesting dynamic is developed between the two as Doug takes his work very seriously, informing LaFlamme "I think that we both have a light in our stomachs....Like E.T. My stomach light needs your stomach light. We can all phone home together." Awww.
Without Scott's sensitive portrayal of Doug, this movie could have degenerated into just another crude sports comedy. However you really begin to feel his need to be the good guy in life while being the bad guy on the ice. His respect for the team, demonstrated by his refusal to walk over the team logo in the locker room, and his need to fit in transcends this movie beyond being just a bloody mess. And believe me, there is a lot of blood.
His teammates add a lot of color to the film: the drunken elder captain in the throes of a messy divorce, the Eastern European brothers who can't stop berating the goalie and his mother, and of course the druggie goalie himself, "2 rules man, stay away from my f*cking percocets and do you have any f*cking percocets?".
There is a love interest, because all sports movies have some sort of love interest, but even she is atypical and displays her own level of crudeness. She cheats on her boyfriend because she digs hockey players but eventually tells Doug "You make me want to stop sleeping with a bunch of guys". What a catch.
You can't have a love interest without a villain, or at the very least an adversary and Liev Schreiber fills the bill very nicely as Ross Rhea, a longtime goon. Rhea at 40, is on his way out of the game for good after his suspension for a bad hit on, you guessed it, Xavier Laflamme. Doug and Ross's fight is a classic "changing of the guard" ritual so bloody they HAD to have gone over budget for the special effects alone.
"Goon" is a hard "R" with language, crude humor, violence, sexual situations, nudity..pretty much the kitchen sink. Keep your under 18 players out of the room and out of earshot for this one!
Rating: 4 pucks out of 5 rating for some crazy fun and Scott's very likeable performance.
Incidentally the real Doug served on the Hanson, MA police department and won the Assistant Coach's Award from the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association this year. Take a look at his storied career in the video.
Have you seen "Goon"? What did you think? Tell me in the comments.