Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, March 31, 2012


This Isn't Baseball

Rated: R   Brutal violence, non-stop language, some strong sexual content and drug use.
Release Date: March 30, 2012
Runtime: 1 hr 31 mins

Director: Michael Dowse
Writers:  Jay Baruchel, Evan Goldberg, from the novel "Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey" by Adam Fraasio and Doug Smith.
Cast: Seann Willaim Scott, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Liev Schreiber, Marc-Andre Grondin, Kim Coates, Richard Clarkin

SYNOPSIS: Bar bouncer Doug Glatt failed to live up to the high expectation of his brainy doctor family. After knocking out a local hockey player, Dog gets an opportunity to work his way into a minor league team as an enforcer in an effort to get a bunch of under performing players to live up to their potential.

REVIEW: Director Michael Dowse, known for the Topher Grace rocker flick Take Me Home Tonight, stays in the arena with a new underdog sports movie starring Sean William Scott. Based the Adam Frattasio and Doug "The Hammer" Smith novel entitled "Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey", Quebec-born actor and writer Jay Baruchel and Vancouver-bred scribe Evan Goldberg (Superbad, The Green Hornet) create a screenplay for a sport that, for them, is a national pastime. 
Bar bouncer Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott, American Reunion) lives his life in a black T-shirt with SECURITY written in tall letters across it. He is kind to all patrons until someone gets out of line. With a successful doctor brother and father, Doug's trade is considered lowly and not something to be proud of. With his pal Ryan (Jay Baruchel, How to Train Your Dragon), foul-mouthed local Orangetown, Massachusetts hockey 'Hot Ice' wrap-up TV and online host, they take in an Assassins home game to hep cheer Doug up. When an opposing team's hockey player, fresh into the penalty box, climbs the glass to get at Ryan and his rants, Doug steps in and lays the player out cold. Seeing the most lively display of enforcement in a while, coach Rollie Hortense (Nicholas Campbell, SyFy's Haven) asks Doug to try out for the Assassins hockey team. After a few games Doug proves to be a great thug on the ice, even if his skating skills are less than graceful. Impressed, the coach decides to send Doug up to his brother Ronnie (Kim Coates, Resident Evil: Afterlife) minor league Halifax Highlanders team in an attempt to use Doug's fists as a way to get the rest of the team out of their underachieving slump and on the way to a possible play-off berth.

In the spirit of Paul Newman's Slap Shot, Goon uses violence in order for a team to come out its lethargy and finding its strength to win. Where Paul Newman's hockey hooligans all took to the ice with fighting in their hearts and fists, the Halifax Highlanders do not have the backbone in put up much of a fight. Super star Xavier Laflamme (Marc-Andre Grondin, Mike) was a skating and shooting prodigy in the majors until he was checked by career enforcer Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber, Salt), giving him a triple concussion, a trade to the minors, and a fear of performing. Gord Ogilvey (Richard Clarkin, Land of the Dead) worries more about his divorce and being a bad father than his work on the ice. Goalie Marco Belchier (Jonathan Cherry, Final Destination 2) struggles at the net as much as he gets razzed by his own teammates in the locker room, All in all, the Highlanders are a team of misfits, had-beens, and players that just do not have the heart or want to push themselves to win. Doug, similar to Mark Wahlberg's Vince Papale in Invincible, hopefully has the thuggery to pull the rest of the team off the bench and onto their skates.

Doug Glatt knows how to use his heart and his hands, but fights an uphill battle with get his hockey mates to care about the Highlanders as much as he does. In addition to those woes Doug falls for 'bad girlfriend' Eva (Alison Pill, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) that is turned on by hockey players and fights but has a nice boyfriend at home. And to top it all, the road to the end of the season and possible playoff slot may lead Doug and the Highlanders against the premier enforcer in the league, the man known at Ross 'The Boss' Rhea that sidelined Laflamme in the majors three years ago.

The film is a semi-serious endeavor laced with the icing of Sean William Scott's kind smiles and innocence. His light side just emphasizes the flip of the switch that occurs when he finds his friends and teammates in trouble and he finds the insatiable need to spring into action for their defense. Jay Baruchel's Ryan spouts out nothing but obscenities, both in his show and in the stands, but its nowhere near as endearing as Scott's performance. The rest of the team pitches in with both good skating and perpetual frat boy antics.

Based on the true story of Mike "The Hammer" Smith, a local hockey goon who somehow found himself in the middle of a minor league hockey club, I think Scott does the story justice, in his unique way. The film is not awe-inspiring or patriotic as Kurt Russell's Miracle, have the nameplate of Newman's Slap Stick, or the kid appeal of The Mighty Ducks franchise, but Goon has something that all good sports films need - an underdog team looking for its heart and using that emotion to find a way to win.

WORTH: DVD or Rental

1 comment:

  1. In the end, it's the less high-scoring offspring of the 1977 classic Slap Shot, but to even mention it in that movie's company is praise enough. Seann William Scott is also great and plays a character that I never knew he could play so dang well. Good review Chuck.