Friday, March 9, 2012

Intoxico Movie Review: Goon (2011)

As the readers of this blog might know, I am a big fan of hockey. In fact, I probably spend a good 3 or more hours a day reading about and watching the sport, not to mention the playing of hockey video games. Needless to say, when I ran across a trailer for Goon, the story of bar bouncer Doug Glatt, who, after obliterating a hockey player who jumps the glass to go after his pal, ends up on the roster of a local hockey team as an enforcer, I was sold on the movie.

Starring Sean William Scott (American Pie), Jay Baruchel (Knocked Up), Alison Pill (Scott Pilgrim Vs The World), and Liev Schreiber (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Goon’s appeal is as straightforward as Doug’s role on the ice, in that it beats you over the head with simple, juvenile humor, characters that have about as much depth as a the paper that promotes the movie, and fast, violent sport action. In other words this movie isn’t Annie Hall, hell, its not even Slap Shot, but it is an entertaining, turn your mind off excuse to buy popcorn.

This movie seems to have gone to video-on-demand fairly quickly, and you can watch this as I did via’s streaming video service.

A Word To the Critics

Eyeing over the response that critics have made about this movie, it’s obvious that my wife and I enjoyed it more than others perhaps did. What seems more glaring about these reviews is that they don’t appear to understand the game the movie portrays, complaining about the violence that it illustrates, asserting that it is quite obviously over the top for comedic and entertainment value.

To quote Bill Cosby, “I went to a boxing match, and a hockey game broke out.“

It’s a sport that is fast and dynamic enough to require that teams find balance in skill and grit to win games. As much as everyone wants a Wayne Gretzky, you need a Shane Churla or Scott Stevens to have their bodies abused, and in turn to abuse the bodies of others in the name of the stars they protect from injury.

A lot of critics have in the same articles played up the Paul Newman hockey classic Slap Shot, while deriding the violence of Goon. Ironically, Slap Shot is a lot less realistic in portraying the sport. As a fan of the game, I can say only the fringe element is sold on hockey’s fighting element. In Slap Shot the fans and players are distilled to rosters and bleachers filled with blood lust. Goon, much more realistically, has only a few key players who use physicality in their role, and typically only fight as a response to pain enacted on their teammates, not a means to score goals.   

Simply stated, the on-ice content of Goon is much more realistic than that of Slap Shot, and it should be addressed in any comparison of the two movies. 

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