When he’s seen dispatching a rude opposing hockey player in the stands, Doug Glatt is hired by a rival team … for his fighting skills. It seems the new team’s star is gun-shy after being hit by a puck, and Glatt’s job is to be his on-ice bodyguard.
So I realize that the overlap in the YA- and hockey-lover Venn diagram amongst FYA readers might not be that big, but 1) that could mean a greater chance of me recommending something new to y’all, and 2) who said you had to like a sport in order to watch it in fictionalized form? (See: Exhibits A through infinity.)
Anyway, Goon follows the rise of Doug Glatt, a bouncer-turned-enforcer for a minor hockey team. Not only does he have to contend with a bratty superstar, unsupportive parents, and the whole never-having-been-on-skates thing (soooorta important, even if your main job is to beat people up), there’s a formidable fighting legend waiting in the wings for his chance at Doug. This has all the elements of an underdog sports movie, but just with A LOT more blood and salty language.
Seann William Scott as Doug “The Thug” Glatt
Now, I haven’t watched all the movies in SWS’s oeuvre, but this is probably as un-Stifler as he’s ever been. Doug is just a big teddy bear — as long as you’re not on the receiving end of his fists. (Although he tries to be nice to the people he whales on, too.)
Liev Schreiber as Ross “The Boss” Rhea
Rhea is the wiley veteran that takes note of the upstart rookie, and THAT ‘STACHE. And maybe this is more common in the minors, but the most unrealistic part of this movie are the cool sports nicknames.* (Though to be fair, ‘Doug’ and ‘Ross’ lend themselves to some pretty easy ones.) Anyway, this is the second-best hockey thing Liev has ever done — with this being the best, obvs.
*A rarity nowadays, in a sea of uninspired abbreviated names or initials-number combos. Some of my all-time faves are the Round Mound of Rebound, Earl the Pearl, and the Hick from French Lick. (Sense a theme? That’s right; BASKETBALL.**)
**Just be glad Space Jam and Like Mike aren’t on Instant. ‘Cause HELL YEAH, I’d go there.
Jay Baruchel as Pat
Doug’s crude BFF is a hockey fanatic who has his own cable access show and vlog dealie. Jay co-wrote the movie, and he’s definitely not the sweet little nerd from Undeclared (and Popular Mechanics for Kids) anymore.
Alison Pill as Eva
Eva’s a bit of a puck bunny, but at least she’s actually knowledgeable about the game. Now if only she’d go on that long-awaited Sex Bob-omb world tour.
Eugene Levy as Dr. Glatt
Two American Pie alumnis in one movie?! Doesn’t that automatically summon Jason Biggs and a sullied pie? While that’d be a sensible explanation for the expression above, Doug’s dad is freaking out in response to his son’s dangerous new career.
Kim Coates as Coach Ronnie Hortense
Kim Coates is one of those character actors that’s been in a million things, so you’re bound to have seen him somewhere before. Here, he’s a no-nonsense kind of coach. (But really, is there any other kind in a movie? And what kind of coach would admit to being yes-nonsense?)
Also: not a famous face, but the play-by-play announcer is GOLDEN.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Not for the Faint of Heart
Just like the sport itself, this movie can get brutal and bloody. Not only is the realistic violence squeam-inducible, but there’s tons of debate potential over fighting in hockey.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Beer Buzz
Overpriced stadium beer might be hockey’s natural companion, but any kind will do to dull those sympathy pains from all the hits these guys take.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Solid
There aren’t a lot of hockey films out there, let alone good ones that inspire intentional LOLs (albeit somewhat vulgar ones). Goon doesn’t gloss over the physical toll of the sport, but it doesn’t glorify it, either. And if you’ve ever wondered why anyone would subject themselves to the punishment being of a hockey enforcer, this movie might be able to shed a little light.