In an attempt to shake things up a bit and pay a bit of homage to the amazing fight sequences we saw at ActionFest, Brian and I will go back and forth on these reviews in a kind of point for point debate style as opposed to traditional review format. We hope you enjoy it.
Brian Salisbury is only part man, the rest is composed of dense, angry layers of English muffin pizzas and Sno-Caps. Forged in the fire of Mt. Dubious Taste, Salisbury (alias Steak Plissken) now wages an unceasing war against the forces of good and pretentious. Entering the squared circle of ActionFest, he is determined to eye-gorge himself on action flicks and wreck as much havoc upon his Viking-bearded cohort Luke “Danger” Mullen as he routinely does upon his own digestive system. Will these two titans of genre consumption merely destroy each other in Asheville, or will their collective might leave the city a smoldering crater with only Zaxby’s cups and Cheerwine bottles to denote its former existence?
Goon is a low-budget hockey film written by comedy heavy-hitters Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg and directed by Fubar helmer Michael Dowse. It stars Seann William Scott as Doug Glatt, a simple guy with one specific talent: pummeling people into oblivion. This talent has landed him a job as a bouncer at a bar in Orangetown, Massachusetts. But when he attends a local minor league hockey game with his best friend Ryan (Jay Baruchel) his whole life changes. He gets in a fight with one of the players and catches the coach’s eye by knocking him out. The coach offers him a spot on the team as an enforcer despite Doug’s complete lack of hockey skills including the ability to skate. But man can he punch!
Luke: So let’s talk about Goon.
Brian: Duuuuuuude Goon is so amazing. There is something about that movie that makes me feel like my childhood obsession with The Mighty Ducks basically became its own entity and then grew up as a degenerate little bastard, and that degenerate little bastard is Goon.
Luke: Yeah, this is definitely not what Joshua Jackson actually grew up to do unfortunately.
Brian: No, it’s the Fulton Reed character!
Luke: Oh you’re right, it’s definitely Fulton.
Brian: So basically it’s about a guy, who’s a very sweet guy, but who is also very adept at…fisticuffs. He’s a big hockey fan and one night at a hockey match…hockey match? I don’t know, I’m not Canadian so I don’t know what the proper terminology is.
Luke: A game of hockey!
Brian: Yes, a game of hockey, a hockey match. Anyway, he ends up beating up one of the players and the coach sees him and offers him a shot. But he can’t really skate and he’s not really good at other elements of hockey. He’s brought on specifically to fight people and be an enforcer. So in that way it’s very much like the Fulton character from The Mighty Ducks. But the movie centers on and is so focused on the fighting and that gives it a nice Slap Shot flavor.
Luke: The big thing about this movie is that it’s a comedy that’s consistently funny. There are big laughs every few minutes. There are no dull spaces where they try to cram in all the unfunny plot shit to keep the story going. The story is very basic, but it’s structured and paced in such a way that you keep laughing and you keep laughing, who gives a shit? That’s what comedies are supposed to do. Now that may be doing it a little bit of a disservice though, because it’s not just a series of jokes haphazardly strung together…
Brian: I will take what you’re saying, or rather what you’re mouth-farting, and keep it on a positive note: it’s just effortless. It’s one of those movies where the comedy flows really nicely, but you never feel like they’re trying really hard for a laugh, nor do you feel like it’s improv.
Luke: No, not at all. There is a story going on and it’s very basic…
Brian: It’s a sports story!
Luke: Yeah, it’s your typical sports story and you know where it’s going from minute one, but it’s a great ride getting there. Studio comedies should look at Goon as an example on how to do comedy well, because so many studio comedies come out that are just boring. They’ll have one or two really funny scenes and maybe a gag and the rest of it is just plot filler bullshit. Thankfully Goon avoids that.
Brian: You know, Seann William Scott turns in one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from him. He’s not Stifler, he’s not an id on two legs. He’s a very sweet sort of dim guy who is funny and can fight but frankly outside of the hockey rink he’s a pretty even tempered. But if you keep pushing him…it’s like a means to end, to get someone out of his face, he’ll throw this one punch. But it’s not like he’s looking for fights. There’s a lot of interesting layers to that character. And Liev Schrieber gives an amazing performance in this well.
Luke: Yeah, he’s fantastic.
Brian: And the fights are flat out brutal. I have to admit I was a little dubious about a hockey movie playing ActionFest, but holy shit the fights in the this movie may as well have been in an 80s Dolph Lundgren film.
Luke: The biggest compliment you can give the fights or the violenced is that there was a moment where the entire theater cringed.
Brian: Oh yeah, they grimaced. And I think Jay Baruchel was really funny as the kind of out there…
Luke: See he was the weak link for me.
Brian: Really? Please, explain your wrongness.
Luke: Yeah, his fake Irish thing, his schtick was not working for me.
Brian: I just assume that’s the schtick he’s always doing. I guess I didn’t see a difference from his other stuff.
Luke: I feel like his normal schtick is fine but the mick angle to it was strange.
Brian [bad Irish Jay Baruchel accent]: Are you questioning my performance?
Luke: See he’s not Christopher Walken, your Jay Baruchel is a little Walken sounding.
Brian: I think that actually sounded more like recent-head-trauma Christian Slater but that’s fine.
Luke: No, we disagree and therefore we must fight!
Brian: Have at you, you scurvy dog!