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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Goon (review)

Seann William Scott in Goon

So, Seann William Scott (Cop Out) is sort of like Forrest Gump. No, I mean in this Goon movie. He’s not very bright — he stumbles over uttering his own name in one scene, and it’s not that hard: Doug Glatt. We’re meant to find him “sweet,” even though he beats up people for a living. He is a minor-league-hockey player, in the narrowest sense of the term: he’s on the ice to beat up opposing players and indulge the fans’ lust for gladiatorial blood sports on the ice. I think it’s also somehow meant to be “funny” that Doug is Jewish and Neanderthal-brutish, which is probably a slur on Neanderthals but is, in the hormonal-teenage-boy calculus of this “comedy,” something of a fist-bump to Jews, apparently. (“You’re like the Hebrew Dolph Lundgren or something!” Doug’s horrendously crude pal [Jay Baruchel: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice] cries with glee.) Isn’t it cute how vicious assault that, off the ice, would constitute a felony is, on the ice, a Good Show? (I’m seeing now that this is all sorta insulting to Forrest Gump, too, who is as gentle as can be.) Based on the book Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey by Doug Smith and Adam Frattasio [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada], and adapted — very loosely, I’m guessing — for the screen by Evan Goldberg (The Green Hornet) and Baruchel, this is the tale of a man who is “touched by the fist of God” and called to commit violence in the arena, all presented with a kind of sick grandeur — or mock grandeur; it’s hard to tell which — by director Michael Dowse, who figures you weren’t put off him enough by his appallingly awful Take Me Home Tonight and need another reason to avoid his future work. This is the sort of movie that presents the duality of two brothers who are equally disappointing to their parents because one is a subverbal brute (that would be Doug) and the other is an Ivy League-educated doctor who is gay (that would be Doug’s brother Ira [David Paetkau])… but then expects to be excused from its homophobia by having Doug beat the living shit out of someone who uses “faggot” as a derogatory. Oh, and it’s adorable, too, because Doug finds “romance” with a sad, sad girl (Alison Pill: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) who is drawn to thuggish men. Charming. “Garbage blows in my face sometimes,” Doug says at one point. It’s this movie, dude. It’s this movie.

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watch at home

Goon (2012)
US/Can release: Mar 30 2012 (VOD Feb 24 2012)
UK/Ire release: Jan 6 2012

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated B4: brutal blood bash bastard
MPAA: rated R for brutal violence, non-stop language, some strong sexual content and drug use
BBFC: rated 15 (contains strong bloody violence, language and sex references)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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