A football hooligan is a spectator who initiates fights in the stands against other belligerents. A hockey hooligan, or goon, is a team’s enforcer paid to intimidate and kick your cul around the rink. Mark my words: Michael Dowse‘s Goon (2011) will be a cult classic for years to come.
The based-on-a-true-story film begins as Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) realizes he is the outcast of his family due to his lack of intelligence and possessing of no true talents. However, as a bouncer at a local bar, he quickly realizes that he has the knack for connecting his fists to other people’s faces. This realization also comes to the attention of a local hockey team’s head coach who recruits Glatt to be the team’s goon. The decision seems futile after watching Glatt’s first attempt on skates and introduction to his future teammates. However, it doesn’t take long into his first game to earn his teammates confidence in a sport measured by someone’s toughness. Glatt thrives in his role as the team’s goon, but still yearns for more. As his undying support for his team and teammates expands, so do his talents, confidence, and popularity.
Aside from Glatt’s pursuit to find self-purpose, his character runs parallel to his roommate Xavier LaFlamme (Marc-Andre Grondin). LaFlamme was a once promising player on his way to the NHL until a mid-ice check from the biggest enforcer in hockey, Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber), leaves LaFlamme’s confidence shattered. Glatt’s character has always looked up to Rhea for his toughness and ferocity. It is when Glatt and Rhea meet in a small diner that the film’s final stage is set for the two heavyweights. Rhea tells Glatt: “You have my respect. Whatever that means to you, you got it. But, know this shit hard. If ever there comes a time when it gets down to the morrow, and it’s you and me. Kid, I will lay you the fuck out.” Stars have aligned and as Rhea begins retirement, Glatt now has the opportunity to battle his hero and prove himself to his family and teammates.
Goon is unique in the way that it sticks to the story and it’s characters. Each of the characters remains the same as they were in the beginning of the film. However, it was the emergence of a new teammate or situation that allowed them to reach their potential. This film always seemed like it was about to become overly quirky or even mundane, but the film never loses your attention. Once the ending comes, you are actually looking forward to a tooth-loosening fight.
Goon is one the best sports films I’ve seen in recent times.