Tag Archives: Goon

When Your Game’s on Ice


by George Wolf (originally published 4/12/2012 in The Other Paper)

It’s rude, it’s crude, it’s vulgar, crass and brutal. And I enjoyed the hell out of Goon.

Should Mom be worried?

It’s also a sports movie, full of all the usual cliches. Credit the sheer joy of the filmmakers, then, for the way it entertains its way right through them. These guys are childish, sure, but they’re also funny, and smart enough to celebrate their sport with a reckless abandon that becomes infectious.

The script, based on a book about the exploits of former hockey enforcer Doug Smith, comes courtesy of Evan Goldberg (co-writer of Superbad) and Jay Baruchel (star of She’s Out of My League). It follows the heroic rise of lovable Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott, from the American Pie series), a bar bouncer whose face-punching skills earn him a new career as a minor league “goon.”

Doug’s an outcast in his well-to-do family, and a bit of a simpleton with a gentle soul, at least until it’s go time. Scott, who’s made a living being funny and likable regardless of the material, breaks out of his “Stifler” persona with a fine performance. He’s most effective when opposite Liev Schreiber, menacingly good as an aging goon on the way out.

Throw in able support from Alison Pill as Doug’s possible girlfriend, and Sons of Anarchy‘s Kim Coates as the coach, and there’s some actual acting to be found here among all the dick jokes and flying teeth.

Goldberg, Baruchel and director Michael Dowse revel in the locker room antics and on-ice brutality. Through it all, they’re also sly enough to cast a satirical glance in the direction of the “fighting is ruining the sport” crowd.

Maybe nothing can replace the Hanson Brothers and their suitcase full of toys from Slap Shot, but Goon gives a new generation a bawdy hockey flick to call its own.

Weekend Countdown: Let’s Go Jackets!

Is it hyperbole to say this is the most exciting weekend in the history of the Columbus Blue Jackets? Is it?!

They’ve been playing out of their minds, and if they keep that going Saturday night in NWA, they could land a #8 seed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And let’s be honest, unlike last time, this year it really feels like they could do some damage (especially after a #8 seed just won the cup!)

And so, in honor of this weekend’s hockey fever, let’s lace ‘em up and count down the top 5 hockey films!

 5. Rocket: The Legend of Rocket Richard (2005)

No, we did not throw this in just to avoid including Mighty Ducks or Youngblood, but man, were we happy to find just one more decent hockey movie. The film echoes the life of Montreal Canadiens great Maurice Richard in an elegantly filmed biopic on overcoming adversity to become an iconic sports figure and national hero. Sure, that sounds familiar, but this time it happens in Canada.



4. Mystery, Alaska (1999)

Here’s a perfectly enjoyable, needlessly cluttered underdog tale where decent writing and generous performances outweigh trite themes. The alum of a tiny Alaskan town brings an NHL match home when the NY Rangers agree to play Mystery, Alaska’s hard-nosed local boys. Good-natured fun follows.


3. Goon (2011)

We can’t get enough of this Canadian minor league hockey gem, written by Jay Baruchel and starring Sean William Scott, who plays against type as a sweet natured, dunderheaded hockey goon who can’t skate but sure can beat the crap out of people.


2. Miracle (2004)

This great looking, family-friendly biopic boasts an excellent Kurt Russell, some fantastic hockey footage, and swelling emotions. Authentic, understated and weirdly compelling given the fact that we all know how it turns out. (Dude, we totally beat the Russians! Those douches.)



1. Slap Shot (1977)

What Caddyshack is to caddying, what The Bad News Bears is to little league – Slap Shot is best hockey movie ever. Paul Newman is hilariously salty in a story about a failing town soon to lose its minor league hockey team, and the player whose career is over if he can’t figure out how to save it. Does salvation wear thick glasses, travel in threes, and pack toy trains?

Weekend Countdown: Best Underseen Sports Flicks

Jackie Robinson’s history-making story hits big screens this weekend with the lovely if superficial 42. It’s a crowd pleaser sure to be seen by millions. But in case you’re in the mood for a great flick you and most everyone else missed, we present the five best underseen sports films.

5. The King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters (2007): “I wanted the glory, I wanted the fame. I wanted the pretty girls to come up and say, ‘Hi, I see that you’re good at Centipede.’” With dreams this big at stake, you cannot look away.

4. Goon (2011): Rude, crude, bawdy and flat-out fun, this Canadian film about minor league hockey surprises on every level, delivering a hilarious and fascinating underdog tale.

3. Sugar (2008): Filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson) offer an insightful tale about Dominicans chasing their dreams of playing Major League baseball and, in the process, deliver a quietly powerful take on immigration.

2. Undefeated (2011): No, not Sarah Palin’s unintentional comedy. This Oscar-winning doc treads familiar ground, but the intimacy and honesty that emerges from the story of an inner-city football squad make it irresistible.

1. Murderball (2005): Best sports doc ever. Paraplegic rugby teams competing in the Paralympic Games are not interested in your pity. “We’re not going for a hug. We’re going for a fucking gold medal. “