• Goon, The

    Released by: Magnolia Films
    Released on: June 5, 2012.
    Director: Michael Dowse
    Cast: Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Liev Schreiber, Marc-Andre Grodin, Alison Pill
    Year: 2011
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Michael Dowse, The Goon follows the exploits of a young man named Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) who has grown up in a conservative Jewish family in a small Massachusetts town where, so far, he hasn’t really amounted to much. His older brother is a doctor, but Doug makes his living as a bouncer at a bar – his man strength being that he can take a punch. When he and his hockey loving pal Ryan (Jay Baruchel) check out the local team one night for Pat’s hockey website, Doug winds up getting into a fist fight with a member of the opposing team and knocks the guy right out. This brings him to the attention of the local team’s coach he brings him onboard as an enforcer, the fact that Doug can’t skate doesn’t really seem to matter much.

    Before you know it, Doug has proven himself to be the toughest thing on ice and he’s offered the chance to head to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to play for The Highlanders, an NHL farm team. This puts him in the sights of that league’s biggest and best enforcer, Ross ‘The Boss’ Rhea (Liev Schreiber), the roughest of them all who aims to end his last year of hockey by solidifying his legacy. Meanwhile, Doug has been tasked with guarding The Highlanders’ previous claim to fame, a hot shot French player named Xavier LaFlamme (Marc-Andre Grodin), a man who was once considered to be the hottest prospect professional hockey had seen in years but who is now more interested in snorting cocaine off of a strippers rack ever since he got hit hard by Ross. LaFlamme wants nothing to do with Doug, who starts to fall for a promiscuous ‘hockey groupie’ named Eva (Alison Pill), despite the fact that she has a boyfriend. As Doug’s star starts to rise and he begins to prove himself, Ross ‘The Boss’ Rhea’s shadow starts to loom large behind him…

    Plot wise, The Good doesn’t differ from any other underdog/sports movie. You more or less know how it’s all going to end and how it’s going to get there and in that regard, it’s a bit formulaic – but sports movies generally are, that’s just how they’re made. What separates The Goon from what came before it are a few interesting qualities, starting with the violence. This is a bloody film, a hard hitting film where teeth fly and faces split open. When punches are thrown, yes, there’s frequently comedy attached to them but they hit and they hit hard and you really get the impression that these guys feel it. There are moments in this movie that are painful to watch, and it’s all the better for it.

    The other thing that sets this one apart is the characters. Doug’s parents (played by Eugene Levy and Ellen David) don’t support him, they’re far more interested in the medical career of their other son while simultaneously trying to hide the fact that he’s gay from anyone they can. Don’t expect to see his parents cheering him on and supporting him every step of the way – Doug more or less goes this alone with support coming only from the girl he shouldn’t be messing around with and the friend he left behind in his home town. He doesn’t make friends with his teammates right away, and a few of them, LaFlamme in particular, make it very clear that they want nothing to do with him. He’s also far from a natural. He can’t even skate when he shows up for practice wearing his older brother’s white figure skates. All he knows how to do is take a punch and hit hard, but soon he finds his niche, as we know he well, and he makes his go at it.

    The supporting cast members are great here. Eugene Levy is funny, Liev Schreiber is tough but wise and slightly dangerous, Andre is pompous and full of himself and obviously wasting his talent and Eva is horny beyond reason but refreshingly honest about the fact that she violence in hockey turns her on and that she can’t really help herself. This is, however, Scott’s show pretty much all the way. As solid as the supporting cast are, Scott makes his Doug one of the most likeable lunkheads to ever grace the silver screen. The fact that he is so ridiculously nice and insanely polite makes it hard to feel anything but affection for the guy who even goes so far as to apologize before and after beating the living shit out of some of the guys on the other side of the ice. Additionally, he shows real heart here. We know from the American Pie movies that he can play the goofball but there are moments here where he’s given some semi-serious dramatic material and he runs with it.

    Add to all of this the fact that the movie is really well shot and provides some pretty exciting hockey action during the game scenes and you wind up with an impressive picture. The movie is out to make you laugh, first and foremost – make no mistake about it, but there’s some great character here and an occasionally sweet tone to the story that makes it more than a series of crass dude jokes and bloody fistfights. It turns out to be very well made, very well acted and a movie absolutely worth seeing.


    The Goon looks great in AVC encoded 1.78.1 1080p high definition widescreen on Blu-ray from Magnolia. Shot digitally, there’s no print damage of course while detail and texture remain strong throughout. Close up shots reveal plenty of stubble and sweat on the faces of the players while the texture of uniforms and sweaters is also impressive. Colors look really nice, black levels are strong and skin tones look nice and natural. There’s a little bit of noise here and there but if you’re not looking for it then it’s pretty much a sure thing that you won’t notice it. Overall, this transfer is great.

    Also impressive is the English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track, particularly during the games where you can hear the crowd noise swell up around you and you can really hear the punches land once the gloves come off. Quieter moments have some nice ambient and background noise while the film’s soundtrack is also spread around quite effectively. Dialogue is always easy to understand and there are no problems at all with any hiss or distortion. Optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles are provided.

    Extras are plentiful for this release starting off with a solid commentary track from director Michael Dowse and Jay Baruchel, who acts and who also co-wrote the movie. These guys are having fun here, there’s a good sense of humor throughout the talk, but there’s also a lot of interesting facts and trivia relayed throughout. Baruchel talks about how his family’s love of the tough guys in hockey helped him put the story together and the pair discuss their admiration for the cast and crew they worked with here. They also talk about locations, technical issues and more – it’s a pretty solid track. Complimenting this track nicely is the interactive Power Play Mode which, when enabled, will allow you to hit a button as the movie is playing to access some behind the scenes clips and interviews – most of this stuff is worth checking out but if you find things like this distracting, feel free to access the material on its own off of the menu, which is a nice touch.

    Seann William Scott and Baruchel sit in front of the camera for a half hour long video interview in which they discuss their characters, the pussy factor of Wayne Gretzky, what it was like growing up in a hockey town and more. They talk about the casting, their experiences on set, and what it was like for Scott to take on this role compared to some of the other parts he’s played in his career. This is actually quite insightful and also fairly amusing.

    Rounding out the extras are some shorter bits and pieces: six deleted scenes, five minutes worth of outtakes and bloopers, a five minute HDNet promo spot for the movie, five minutes of footage where Jonathan Cherry auditions to play the goalie, a four minute clip on how to fight in hockey, red and green band trailers for the film, a slideshow of fake hockey cards, promo spots for unrelated Magnolia properties, animated menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Sports movies, more often than not, tend to suck. The Goon does not suck. It does not suck at all. In fact, it’s actually a really great film. It’s a little predictable in spots, as sports movies tend to be, but Scott is great in the lead, it’s plenty exciting and violent, occasionally sincerely touching and quite frequently hilarious. Magnolia have done right by the movie and rolled out a proper Blu-ray special edition release, offering up the film in great quality and loading it with extras that you’ll actually want to spend the time sifting through. All in all, an excellent release and one of the big surprises of 2012 so far.

    Click on the images below for full sized hard hitting screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Nolando's Avatar
      Nolando -
      Loved this movie. TSN has a brief bit on the real-life character inspiration for Goon that's pretty good, too. I like that, now, the guy's a cop.