Film Review : Goon
● By Justin Buettner
Local bouncer Doug Glatt is searching for a place to fit as his family of overachievers see him as an embarrassment. A random fight in the stands at a hockey game gives Doug a start in a career as a hockey player despite his inability to skate. As Doug climbs the amateur ranks, he becomes a fan favorite for his brutal ability to fight. He also becomes the glue to his team’s resurgence as his “team first” mentality brings the collection of ragtag hockey players together.
This movie is a perfect example of a film that takes a familiar genre and executes it extremely well. Evan Goldberg, the screenwriter, has some pretty funny films in his resume and he can add another. Goon doesn’t try to outsmart itself, instead it takes interesting and likable characters and puts them in a plot we may have seen a million times; but the underdog story never gets old. The character of Doug Glatt is perfectly realized onscreen, as he is not a perfect person, but a simple guy that just wants to find his place in the world. This is something we all can relate to. The brilliance of Goon is instead of Doug lifting his underdog team to contention through brilliant play, he does it by bringing the team together by demonstrating loyalty and being the ultimate teammate. In short this movie is not about the “Michael Jordan” of the team but the scrub with the intangibles that brings the best out in everyone around him. It’s impossible not to root for the guy.
Seann William Scott is excellent in the leading role of Doug Glatt. It’s hard to believe this is the same actor that plays Stifler in the American Pie movies. Instead of the over the top slapstick shtick Scott performs in all his other low quality comedies, in Goon he plays a straight man and is quite good at it. Seann William Scott is very likable as Glatt and that elevates the movie. This is absolutely the best role of his career. Goon is populated with interesting and entertaining supporting characters including Allison Pill who is Glatt’s love interest. All of the hockey players are fun to watch, even the opposing players that Glatt brawls with have personality.
I love that the movie builds toward a fight instead of a game. It pits Glatt, the young super star fighter, against the grizzled veteran fighter, Ross Rhea, who does not intend to bow out gracefully. Rhea is played perfectly by Liev Schreiber who leaves little doubt that Rhea is a massive threat. There is a great scene when the two fighters meet in a small diner and Rhea speaks to Glatt as though he is speaking to a younger version of himself. It’s a brilliantly executed scene and really encapsulates what Goon is about. Not to mention it really builds the anticipation for the eventual fight between the two gladiators, which doesn’t disappoint.
Director Michael Dowse has excellent comedic timing as a director, however the great achievement on display was his ability to catch hockey on film. The gameplay was shot and edited with great precession, not an easy accomplishment with a game with as much movement as hockey. Dowse also displayed his knack for drama in a few scenes as well.
If you like sports films you will certainly have a lot of fun with Goon. Even though it follows a lot of the same conventions as movies you’ve seen, the movie explodes with character and personality. Even the non-sport crowd will find the main character hard not to like, and despite the gruesome bloody fights, Goon is just a lot of fun to watch. Add this independent film to your rental queue, you will not be disappointed.
Films like Goon : The Hammer, Major League, and Slap Shot
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.