Today: February 24, 2024

Goon DVD

Stifler skates badly, hits hard and melts your fricking heart.

Stifler skates badly, hits hard and melts your
fricking heart.

The moment
Stifler turned up in American Pie Sean William Scott ceased to anything
more than a loud mouthed irritant.
Yes Stifler has his moments of entertainment, but it got old when he
turned up in Dude Where’s My Car, Bulletproof Monk, Role Models and even kids cartoon Ice Age 2. You
couldn’t help but wonder if William Scott was a one trick pony. Goon dispels that theory clean out the
window. It’s not going to earn him
any award nominations, but it will endear him in ways you never thought
possible when you saw him blurting profanities like it was going out of style
in the American Pie films. Goon,
like Sean William Scott, is a something out of left field; a film that has no
right to be as endearing, warm and out right entertaining as it is.

Doug Glatt (Sean William Scott) is something of a black
sheep in his brainy-doctors family.
He isn’t blessed with high intelligence but makes a mean bouncer at a
local bar. Attending an ice hockey
game one day with his friend Ryan (Jay
Baruchel
) Doug gets into a fistfight with one of the players and knocks him
out cold. This being ice hockey,
where the less teeth you have the tougher you are, Doug is recruited to be the
team’s new enforcer; a player whose one job is to get into fights so the other
players don’t have to. Before long
he’s playing in the big leagues and told to protect troublesome wonderkid
Xavier Laflamme (Marc-Andre Grondin). But as the play-offs loom Doug falls
for the spoken for Eva (Alison Pill)
and must face-off against the toughest, most brutal player in the sport’s
history, and Doug’s idol to boot, Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber).

As is the want of
current Hollywood trend Goon has been horribly mis-marketed by trailers and
goofy looking posters. Yes there
are elements of comedy, some of it even slap-stick (or should that be
slap-shot?), but for the most part Goon is a warm, affectionate heartfelt story
about an outcast making his own way in the world. Early doors, there is a clear similarity between Doug and a
certain Forrest Gump. He has that
loveable innocence about him. The
key difference is Doug is not socially foolish, he’s just polite, respectful
and, in his own funny way, utterly charming. Here is a guy who will wish you good luck with utter
sincerity before you fight him.
Why you ask? Because that’s
who he is, a good guy who just happens to have been blessed ‘by the fist of
God’.

The humour
actually comes from Doug being the straight guy to the outlandish characters
who surround him. Here ice hockey
is painted as a sport played by the waif, strays and dregs of society. The team captain is a raging alcoholic,
the goalkeeper has photos of his mum on his helmet and star player Laflamme is
a drug induced excuse for a horn-dog.
Doug is the man who brings them all together, gives them something to
root for and more importantly win for.

Of course this
being ice hockey the punches are brutal.
It’s fair to say that some of the violence is why the film should not be
seen as straight up comedy. It’s
bruising and violent in the extreme, to the point where some of the fights
would be more at home in Tyler Durden’s basement than in a cute rom-com. But that’s the point, you don’t want
Doug to get hurt, even when he’s inflicting bone shattering punches on others
he’s doing it with a more humility than any sportsman alive. Which is why the romantic story-line
between Doug and Eva works so brilliantly. She’s the cutesy looking, but quite hard-bitten, little
nymph while he’s this hulking gentle giant. They work, like the film, in offering a perfect balancing
act between each other.

Much of the magic
of Goon comes from the performances.
Grondin, as the damaged star player brings a sense of ego that only
thinly disguises his obvious nerves.
Schreiber has rarely been better than as the Roy Keane like Rhea, the
sort of man you send on to the field of battle to “pick a fight”, he may be aging
but there’s more than a little fight in the old dog yet. Alison Pill, best known as the drummer
from Scott Pilgrim and Zelda Fitzgerald in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris, is
an example of the Ellen Page school of adorably; sweet to look at but with a
dry delivery that cuts to the bone.
But the film is owned by William Scott. He delivers punches and pathos by the bucket. One minute he can be smiling sweetly
melting your heart with his innocent dim-witted ways, the next he’s exacting
fist-pounding punishment to a man in the process of losing his teeth. He’s the kind of guy you’d want to have
a beer with and to have your back when the chips were down.

It seems that
this is the year of the loveable oaf, the Hulk was a highlight of The Avengers
and Goon will steal your heart better than any predictable rom-com. Goon avoids all the sports, romance and
slap-stick comedy clichés to become a film well worthy of your attention. Towards
the end Doug turns to Eva and says, “I think I nailed him”, you did better than
that son, you killed it.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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