Goon (Michael Dowse, 2011)
IMDB reports the release date of Goon as 2011 (specifically, it seems to have premiered at TIFF on September 10, 2011), but most of the world didn’t get it until 2012. Which is why I’ve seen it popping up on best-of-2012 lists around the Internet all year. I agree 100% with these assessments—hilarious and heartbreaking by turns, Goon is another of those movies that makes me wonder why I find myself so in love with sports movies when, in general, I can’t stand sports.
Plot: Doug Glatt (Scott) is a hockey fan with a gay brother. While attending a minor-league match, he gets incensed that a player uses a derogatory term for “gay” when insulting fans and, when the player hops out of the box to come put the hurt on some people, takes him out. The coach of the opposing team takes note, and hires Glatt for his fighting skills. Things happen quickly, and Glatt, now known as Doug the Thug, soon finds himself playing for a Halifax farm team (coached by Sons of Anarchy‘s Kim Coates), tasked with guarding former pro player Xavier LaFlamme (5150 Rue des Ormes‘ Marc-Andre Grondin), who got sent down to the minors after losing his nerve thanks to getting a beatdown from legendary enforcer Ross “The Boss” Rhea (The Manchurian Candidate‘s Liev Schreiber)—who himself has gotten sent down to the minors after too many suspensions. The paths are set, and you know all these folks are going to meet on the ice eventually…
Goon is, simply, one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in ages. Co-writers Jay Baruchel, writing his first screenplay—who also has a part in the film as Doug’s best friend—and Evan Goldberg (Superbad, The Pineapple Express) turned in a real winner here, in no small part by making Doug Glatt, when he’s off the ice, a genuinely nice guy, quiet and unassuming and really, really slow on the uptake. The romantic subplot between Glatt and not-so-nice-girl Eva (the wonderful Alison Pill, recently of Midnight in Paris) actually works the way it’s supposed to, the minor characters are perfectly drawn, and some of the things that Glatt spouts at times… well, once you see the “stomach light” scene, you’ll get what I’m on about. Easily one of the best movies of 2012, even if it was released in 2011. **** http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfOZaquIhG8 Trailer. With ad.