Goon Shockya.com Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
Director: Michael Dowse (‘Take Me Home Tonight’)
Starring: Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Liev Schreiber, Alison Pill (‘Midnight in Paris,’ ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’) and Eugene Levy
Successful sports films are often backed by major studios and chronicle the success of popular teams and the well-known players and managers who have made them famous, such as last year’s Academy Award-nominated movie ‘Moneyball.’ But the new independent film ‘Goon,’ directed by Michael Dowse, takes a risky chance by focusing on hockey, a sport that isn’t as popular as baseball in America, and is based on the life of a retired Canadian hockey player, Doug Smith. But with a genuinely funny script that focuses on the humanity and the emotions of the players, instead of just the technical aspects of the game, ‘Goon’ rivals other great sports films.
‘Goon’ follows Doug Glatt (played by Seann William Scott), an underachieving club bouncer at a Boston bar who doesn’t live up to his overachieving family of doctors, including his father (portrayed by Eugene Levy). After a chance fist fight with a local thug that’s witnessed by the Halifax Highlanders’ coach, Doug is signed to the minor league hockey team. Despite not knowing how to skate, he is hired as the fighter for the team, who stands up for his fellow players against other teams on the ice.
Doug’s popularity rises with the encouragement of his hockey obsessed best friend, Ryan (played by the film’s co-writer, Jay Baruchel). He eventually has the chance to square off against Ross “The Boss” Rhea (portrayed by Liev Schreiber), a famous hockey fighter on the verge of retirement. While balancing his family’s resentment of his career choice and Ross’ insistence that they’re not really hockey players, and they’re just on their teams to fight, Doug’s interest is also sparked by Eva (played by Alison Pill), who already has a boyfriend.
While Doug is portrayed as not being the smartest one on the Highlanders or in his family, he amusingly and accurately portrays the real fighters on hockey teams. The sports comedy was based on the book ‘Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey Into a Minor Hockey League,’ which tells the story of Smith, who didn’t start playing hockey until he was 19. But he approached the game with the unlikely skill of an amateur boxer, which Baruchel, who is Canadian, and co-writer Evan Goldberg adapted into the script. Combined with the actor’s knowledge of Canadian hockey, as his father was an avid fan, the writers created the perfect underdog hero with Doug.
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