After the deaths of three enforcers this summer, the news that the trailer for Goon had been released felt like a punch in the gut. After all, I had been looking forward to this film since it was announced, eagerly anticipating a chance to put it Under Review. I love hockey and I love movies, but the two rarely mesh together well. Either they completely misunderstand and misrepresent the game or they are relentlessly goofy and impossible to take seriously.
Whereas the great American pastime of baseball gets innumerable classic movies, hockey gets Slap Shot. And, if you like subtitles, The Rocket.
So to hear that Jay Baruchel (a fine actor and Montreal Canadiens nut) had teamed up with writer Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express) to write a proper hockey screenplay made me very excited. Combine that with a solid comedic director in Michael Dowse (who most notably directed the well-received It’s All Gone Pete Tong) and you have the makings of something special.
Except, of course, that it appears to be a celebration of hockey violence, the type of violence that has come under fire this summer after the passing of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, and Wade Belak, as well as the uproar over headshots in the wake of Marc Savard’s career being essentially over and Sidney Crosby’s snail-paced recovery. My enthusiasm for the film was severely dampened.
But then I watched the trailer.
From the moment Kim Pine says “I dig hockey players” I’m sold. What can I say — I have a crush on Kim Pine. Then she lists what she digs about hockey players and the number one answer is, of course, the violence. It’s a ballsy move to lead with so much violence in the trailer and I have to confess that it appeals to a certain part of my brain.
Unlike Youngblood or Score: A Hockey Musical, the two movies I’ve reviewed for “Under Review” so far, this isn’t a story about a skilled hockey player being confronted with the violence of hockey. This is about a man skilled in the art of violence being confronted with the violence of hockey. And, oddly enough, that strikes me as a better story.
It feels appropriate that the titular goon is the hero in this story rather than the villain, like we’ve seen so much in hockey movies. After a summer when it hit home that hockey enforcers are human beings who are perhaps not as tough mentally and emotionally as they are physically, now actually feels like the right time to tell the story of a goon.Tags: featured, fighting, Goon, Hockey Movies