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It’s violent, raunchy, and they’re not kidding when the tagline says that Sean William Scott’s character, Doug, is nice, he may well be the nicest hockey player you’ll get to know. GOON knocks your teeth out and aims straight for your heart. Jay Baruchel has always loved this sport so I commend him for crafting this passion project, an adaptation based on the novel Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey, which I have yet to read, and Jay didn’t even intend it so that he would be the lead star, another admirable point. Everybody loves an underdog story and that’s what GOON has to offer, can nice guys exist and excel in such a testosterone-fueled sport?! Doug may be the embodiment of nice guys finish last but he’s one nice guy you wouldn’t want to get into a fist fight with..
Doug Glatt, a slacker who discovers he has a talent for brawling is approached by a minor league hockey coach and invited to join the team as the “muscle.” Despite the fact that Glatt can’t skate his best friend, Pat, convinces him to give it a shot, and Glatt becomes a hero to the team and their fans, until the league’s reigning goon becomes threatened by Glatt’s success and decides to even the score.
I grew up in a tropical area where everybody played either soccer or badminton, so what’s my knowledge on hockey? Zero, zip, nada! Whenever a hockey movie comes around, I usually judge it on every other aspect but the sport itself because I’m the last person who would know whether or not those hockey movies are technically accurate.
I’ve always heard that in Hockey, they’d give two opposing players some time to battle it out, literally, but I’m not sure at which level of professional hockey are they still allowing such tradition, I certainly don’t believe the refs would let you get away with it on such grand stage as the Winter Olympics.
So I’m thinkin’ such fist fights are common in the hockey games that Baruchel grew up with.
GOON is a story about a guy named Doug who has but only one gift and one gift only, his fists, he can punch you once in the face and you won’t wake up til the day after.
He looks around and sees that everybody’s got somethin’, some purpose, some career, some business or something going in their lives except him, until opportunity punches him in the face and makes him the go-to fighter for a local hockey team and then he goes on to pro.
On the other end of the ring is Liev Schreiber’s character, Ross, whose job is pretty much like Doug’s, he’s the guy that the coach would call whenever he needs someone to beat up an opposing player.
There’s a scene that I’d like to call the Pacino-DeNiro’s Heat sitdown scene where Doug and Ross meet up. Ross on the edge of retirement, returns to his hometown team for one last gig, one last fight and he sees Doug as somewhat of a new version of him. Ross, having more experience, wants to tell Doug that they both are pretty much pitbulls, that nobody considers them hockey players, a reality that Doug refuses to believe.
The story at first leans toward Ross’ perspective because Doug’s teammates never see him as equal but eventually they do, a privilege that Ross sadly never seemed to have the opportunity to be enlightened by.
So what screenwriters Evan Goldberg and Jay Baruchel did was make you feel for Doug’s present terms and be concerned for whether or not he would end up like Ross.
It’s the story of accepting someone for who they are, what they can do, not what you want them to be, although the arguments given by Doug’s parents, who think that Doug’s so-called career a waste of time, do make sense.
Goldberg and Baruchel didn’t just focus on the R-rated comedy, they wanted it to be about everyday joe schmoe who can do great things, if someone would just believe in him, just as much as he believes in everybody around him, and sometimes that’s all it takes.
GRADE: 4 out of 5
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