The list of truly memorable hockey movies is short, but near the very top, and definitely sitting in the penalty box for excessive fisticuffs, is Goon, the raucous and extremely bloody 2011 comedy from director Michael Dowse (What If, Take Me Home Tonight) and writers Jay Baruchel (Man Seeking Woman) and Evan Goldberg (Pineapple Express, Superbad). This rowdy little gem has two great lead performances from Sean William Scott as a dimwitted on-ice hero, and the rather amazing Liev Schreiber as a notorious league bruiser who is only out to pick some serious fights. Alison Pill, Eugene Levy, Kim Coates, Marc-Andre Grondin, and Baruchel all provided strong supporting work. Cinematographer Bobby Shore captured some truly authentic hockey action, with slick camera moves that were strongly aided by Reginald Harkema’s sharp editing.
Goon may not have been a massive champion at the box office (it did $7 million worldwide), but this is the sort of hysterical and smart sports flick that has cult-classic status waiting around the corner. And while watching the film, especially if you’ve played the game, you’ll notice how the filmmakers REALLY understood hockey; this film nails the little details in the same way that Slap Shot did. Goon is partially inspired by the book Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey by Adam Frattasio and Doug Smith, with some ass-kicking footage of the actual Smith shown during the closing credits. Goon is currently streaming on Netflix.
Review by Nick Clement