Is GOON A Modern Day SLAP SHOT?February 24, 2012

Is GOON A Modern Day SLAP SHOT?

Magnolia Pictures

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: GOON (Magnolia).

 

GOON

By Gabriel Desjardins

 

When they asked me to review this film, I don’t think they quite knew how connected I am to it. Let’s go back six years – I’m at a friend’s wedding and someone tells me I have to talk to the groom’s cousin. His cousin tells me he wrote a movie with his friend when he was 14 years old and they’re looking to get it produced in Hollywood. What was it about? “These two guys are in high school and they like these girls and they go to a party.” I made a face. “No, it’s good, I swear.” Who was that kid? Evan Goldberg. And the movie? SUPERBAD So what the hell do I know?

Some people start watching Youtube and waste hours looking at movies of kittens swimming or awful Paul Lekakis music videos. I watch one thing and one thing only on youtube: hockey fights. So I can’t imagine anything better than an updated SLAP SHOT written by Goldberg and shot in my home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba with cameos by people I know. The homage to the 70s minor-league hockey classic starts early: profanity that doesn’t usually make it into modern films, French-Canadian stereotypes, gay jokes and players giving a hostile crowd the finger as they enter the arena. (In a nice touch, the crowd returns the favor with giant foam middle fingers.)

 


Seann William Scott in GOON, a Magnet Release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.


The story is influenced as much by THE WATERBOY

as it is by what is arguably Paul Newman’s magnum opus.

 

Much like Adam Sandler’s Bobby Boucher and his mother, hard-headed bouncer Doug Glatt, played by Seann William Scott, is protective of his younger gay brother. When his excitable best friend, played by co-writer Jay Baruchel, goads a goon into climbing into the crowd at a local hockey game and coming after him, Glatt objects to the player’s use of gay slurs and displays both his ability to take a punch and his ability to deliver one, knocking the player out in the stands.

This display of punching talent gets Glatt recruited by the local hockey team, where, in scenes reminiscent of the 1986 fighting classic YOUNGBLOOD, he learns, just barely, to skate. (Rob Lowe’s Dean Youngblood had to learn, just barely, to fight.) Glatt excels at fighting in the local league, which gets him called up to a high minor-league team in Halifax, coached by the brother of his hometown team’s coach. The Halifax team hasn’t won a game in a month, and features French-Canadian forward Xavier Laflamme, who can stickhandle in a phone booth but has been ducking body contact since famous goon Ross Rhea hit him in an NHL game three years earlier.

 


Liev Schreiber in GOON, a Magnet Release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

 

Glatt moves in with Laflamme and is supposed to serve as a deterrent to anyone who might want to hit the French-Canadian star on the ice and also potentially moderate Laflamme’s selfishness and cocaine-and-strippers lifestyle off the ice. Thus is the stage set for redemption: we assume Laflamme will reform and re-find the touch that once made him the #2 draft pick and a rookie star in Montreal; and Glatt, who has never had a job that didn’t primarily involve punching, will achieve sufficient success with his fists to overcome the weight of the disapproval of his Jewish parents and potentially even find true love among the hockey groupies.

 


Seann William Scott in GOON, a Magnet Release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

Like SLAP SHOT and YOUNGBLOOD before it, the movie ends with a climactic and epic battle between Glatt and Rhea, with the result no less in doubt beforehand than the Balboa-Drago bout in ROCKY IV, (Indeed, Baruchel tells Glatt that he’s like the “Jewish Dolph Lundgren”, though in the role of ROCKY.).

 


Jay Baruchel in GOON, a Magnet Release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing

So what’s the verdict?

 

 

- Gabriel Desjardins

 


Gabriel Desjardins is a special correspondant to On Demand Weekly. Among many other things,Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski called him "perhaps the greatest stats blogger in hockey." He writes under the suitably-Winnipeg-themed pseudonym “Hawerchuk” at the Winnipeg Jets blog Arctic Ice Hockey, runs the hockey statistics website Behindthenet.ca, and contributed possibly the only comparison of chess and hockey fighting ever published in The Wall Street Journal: The Goon Patrol: Rating Hockey's Fighters.

 

GOON (Magnolia) is now on demand.

 

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