Doug Glatt of Orangetown, Massachusetts is floundering in life, he having no real sense of where he fits - having a "thing" as he calls it. He doesn't have the book smarts to become a doctor like his adoptive father or his gay adoptive brother Ira. And he doesn't have the passion that his best friend Pat has for his self-appointed work, hosting a hockey based cable call-in show, Hot Ice. Because his fists and skull are figuratively like steel, Doug is good at the enforcement part of his job as a bouncer despite he having a naturally friendly childlike approach to dealing with people and situations. An incident involving Doug in the stands of an Orangetown Assassins minor league hockey game leads to its coach, Rollie Hortense, offering Doug a tryout with the team as its enforcer, the tryout regardless of the fact that Rollie has no idea if Doug even knows how to play ice hockey (which he doesn't). Learning just enough hockey skills, Doug makes the team. Rollie, however, quickly ... Written by
The film is based on the book "Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey" by Adam Frattasio and Douglas Smith. Footage from Smith's career as a hockey enforcer is shown during the films credits. See more »
When Doug and Eva go for a drive together and talk outside the car, a concrete building labeled "Manitoba Cold Storage" is visible in the background. Manitoba is at least 2,000 miles away from Halifax. See more »
They call you Thug, for Christ's sake! It might as well say "security" on the back of your sweater. Excuse me.
Doug, I am proud of you.
Okay? But I'm gonna go with mom and dad. They've got my passport.
See more »
There is one element that distinguishes a "great" sports movie from a "good" sports movie. It's "the feel". It doesn't matter if the movie is about baseball, basketball, football or hockey. If it doesn't smack of authenticity you might as well flip over to a live game. "The Natural" had the feel of baseball and for hockey "Slapshot" has always been the template for the great hockey movie. I happily add "Goon" to that rarefied space.
As far as movie making goes, it has all the right stuff. The acting is convincing and solid, the jokes are funny and there is lots of on-ice action. But the defining feature of this film is that it feels real. It feels like these are real guys playing a real game in front of real fans. True hockey fans will get the in jokes, wince at the ankle injury, relate to the dressing room banter, and feel tempted to yell "head's up" when the bad guy starts to take a run at the little guy.
The key scene is, of course, the final showdown between "good goon" and "bad goon". We know it's coming, but sometimes we know the NHL fights are inevitable, as the tough guys line up before the face-off and start jabbering. The build-up is just as visceral in "Goon", and when they finally drop the gloves it reminded me of that great final shoot-out scene in "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly", as the guys do the pre-fight strip tease and wait for other to draw first.
I will risk the wrath of my fellow hockey fans who have grown up worshipping at the church of "Slapshot". It was a great movie, although a bit long. I found "Goon" to be more entertaining, as authentic and more believable. Nice work guys!
49 of 58 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?