I can sum up all the reasons I never saw Goon in one word: hockey. This is a movie about hockey, and like most Americans, I don't watch that bullshit. So before I started researching this column, I'd never even heard of this movie. A co-worker heard that I was writing about underrated movies and said I should check it out, so I did.
Also working against my desire to see it was the fact that the lead actor is Seann William Scott, whom I legitimately thought stopped working altogether well before this ever came out. Yes, I do realize he's in another movie on this list which came out after this one, and no, I haven't seen Ice Age: Continental Drift because I'm an adult, but thanks for asking on both counts.
Anyway, I'm glad he didn't stop working, because goddamn is this a great movie. Not decent. Not better than you expect. Not good. It is fucking great.
The plot is a lot like that Marky Mark movie about the bartender who tried out for the Philadelphia Eagles and somehow managed to make the team, except it's about a different sport and the lead actor never beat the shit out of someone for being Asian.
Chris Weeks/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Also, it's a comedy, and a damn charming one at that. Seann William Scott (whom I'm mostly just going to refer to as SWS from here on out, because goddamn all those letters) plays a hockey fan whose dreams come true out of nowhere when he's asked to join a minor league team after the coach sees him beat the shit out of a player in the stands. Hockey needs players who are specifically good at fighting, because it's a dreadfully boring sport. Those players are sometimes called "goons," hence the name of the film.
I know, a movie about a guy who fights a lot while playing hockey is a tough sell. That's obviously one of the reasons almost no one has heard of it. But it's also one of those rare movies where the subject matter is almost completely irrelevant. If you like good movies, you'll probably like this one. It's that simple. Do you find SWS to be a little annoying? Watch this movie. You will forgive him for everything. This is the role he was meant to play. It lets him double down on the things that have always made his characters begrudgingly enjoyable, but strips away all the American Pie douchiness that made you feel guilty for it. He is a fucking treasure in this movie. Just a humble dude who knows his limitations, and in turn how lucky he is to have the opportunity that somehow fell into his lap. He also beats a ton of ass, which is great.
Like, almost the entire time.
It will sound like hyperbole on my part, but in a perfect world, he maybe would've gotten a little Oscar buzz for this performance. A Golden Globe, maybe? When do you see Seann William Scott carry a movie? It's not an opportunity he gets too often, and he makes the most of it -- just like the character he plays. If you don't watch anything else on this list, at least watch this. If you don't like it, you're dead inside.
Hockey still sucks, though.
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