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MAGNOLIA

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Michael Dowse
Cast:
Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Liev Schreiber, Eugene Levy, Marc-André Grondin, Kim Coates, Nicholas Campbell
Writing Credits:
Jay Baruchel, Evan Goldberg, Adam Frattasio (novel, "Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey"), Doug Smith (novel, "Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey")

Tagline:
Meet Doug, The Nicest Guy You'll Ever Fight.

Synopsis:
Not content with his job as a bouncer, Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) dreams of a more rewarding job and gaining his parents respect. When a chance encounter with an on-ice thug leads to a fistfight that Doug easily wins, the on-looking coach sees Doug's potential, in spite of his lack of any hockey playing ability. Joining the team and with the encouragement of his best friend (Jay Baruchel), Doug quickly becomes a rising star. Soon he'll have the opportunity to face-off against the infamous league thug, Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber), perhaps finally land a girlfriend and stick to a job he enjoys. Now all he needs to do is learn to skate.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$17.541 thousand on 19 screens.
Domestic Gross
$4.164 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $26.98
Release Date: 5/29/2012

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Michael Dowse and Co-Writer/Actor Jay Baruchel
• “Power Play Mode”
• Deleted Scenes
• Outtakes/Blooper Reel
• “HDNet: A Look at Goon” Featurette
• Interview with Seann William Scott and Jay Baruchel
• “Goalie Audition”
• “Fighting 101”
• Hockey Cards
• Trailers and Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Goon (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 28, 2012)

Despite an attempt to find one, I could locate no definitive list of the number of hockey movies created over the years. My guess is that the figure lands somewhere between “a few” to “not that many”. Baseball and football seem to inspire a fair number of cinematic offerings, but hockey? Not so much.

At least this makes each new entry in the genre more of an “event”, and this led me to check out 2011’s Goon. Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) works as a bouncer in a Massachusetts bar. This doesn’t do much to fulfill him – and leaves him as something of a family disappointment compared to his doctor brother Ira (David Paetkau).

Doug gets a chance to break out of his rut when he gets into a fight at a minor league hockey game. His mouthy friend Ryan (Jay Baruchel) cheeses off a player, and this leads to a brawl between athlete and fan. Angered by the use of gay slurs, Doug goes ballistic and beats the crap out of the player.

This catches the attention of Assassins coach Rollie Hortense (Nicholas Campbell) and a tryout. Doug lacks real hockey skills – he can’t skate - but earns a spot on the team as an enforcer. We follow his adventures as a player and connected subplots both professional and personal.

Inevitably, Goon will get connected to 1977’s Slap Shot. The Paul Newman vehicle isn’t the biggest hockey-related hit – surprisingly, 2004’s Miracle appears to have outgrossed all others in the genre, with 1992’s Mighty Ducks next in line – but Slap Shot remains probably the best-regarded of the bunch.

And it sure has the most in common with Goon, as it clearly was a substantial influence on the 2011 film. Goon lacks the basic underdog drama of Miracle or the “Bad News Bears On Ice” vibe of Ducks. Instead, it’s an unapologetic “R”-rated comedy with a hard-edged view of the sport and its players.

It’s been so long since I saw Slap Shot that I can’t really compare the two, but while I recognize the debt Goon owes to the older film, I still think it provides an enjoyable experience of its own. Don’t expect an especially consistent, coherent effort, however. Goon lacks good balance between the segments that focus on Doug’s personal and professional lives, and its attempts to turn dramatic don’t fare especially well. Actually, the awkward romance between Doug and “hockey slut” Eva (Alison Pill) gives some sweetness to the flick, but the scenes with Doug’s disapproving parents (Eugene Levy and Ellen David) feel tacked on and forced.

With a script by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, it comes as little surprise that Goon works best when it opts for comedy. Indeed, the movie manages to generate a crude sense of cleverness – or a clever sense of crudeness – as it indulges in the wild world of hockey. Baruchel himself is a hoot as Doug’s hockey-obsessed buddy Ryan, and Scott turns in a nice performance as the simple-minded but likable lead. He’s a long way from the cocky Stifler role on which he made his name and he manages to bring warmth and innocent charm to the part.

Even at a mere 91 minutes, I think Goon can feel a little long, largely because of its disjointed narrative, but it still winds up as a likable experience. We get enough humor and creativity to make this a generally fun flick.

Footnote: stick around through the end credits for some footage about Doug “The Hammer” Smith, the real-life inspiration for the film’s lead character.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

Goon appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, dual-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. For SD-DVD, this picture looked pretty good.

Sharpness usually appeared fairly accurate and detailed. Some wide shots occasionally looked a smidgen soft, but most of the flick came across as distinctive and concise. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no concerns, and edge haloes remained absent. No print flaws materialized; the film remained clean and fresh.

In terms of colors, the flick went with a moderately subdued set of tones. Hues stayed on the natural side, with a mild golden feel to things. Within those parameters, the tones looked fine. Blacks were dark and firm, and shadows looked concise; low-light sequences demonstrated appropriate clarity. This was one of the better SD-DVD images I’ve seen in a while.

As for the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it offered a surprisingly involving affair, mainly due to the hockey scenes. Those used the surrounds for involving crowd noise and also managed to engage us in the sports action well. The whole package combined nicely and created a solid sense of setting.

Audio quality appeared fine. Dialogue was consistently warm and natural, and speech displayed no concerns related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were clean and distinct – the hockey hits delivered strong bass - while music showed nice pep and dimensionality. The audio added a lot to the film.

Goon comes with a fairly broad roster of extras. We open with an audio commentary from director Michael Dowse and co-writer/actor Jay Baruchel. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast and performances, sets and locations, music, production design, shooting the hockey as well as training, story/characters, editing, budgetary concerns, and some other areas.

Broad and goofy, this commentary won’t work for sensitive ears. Of course, if you’re easily offended, you probably didn’t make it through Goon anyway, but this track might earn the award as the most profane I’ve heard. It still manages to pack in a fair amount of info along the way, so as crass as it can be, it brings us enough material to keep us with it.

An interactive piece called Power Play Mode lets you access short featurettes as the movie runs. If you prefer – as I did – you can also check out these 40 clips in the “Special Features” domain either individually or via one big 44-minute, 53-second package.

Across these, we mostly get a series of behind the scenes snippets. A few comments pop up as well; we see quick interview notes from Baruchel and actors Seann William Scott, Nicholas Campbell, and Marc-André Grondin. These remarks give us a little information about characters, story and shooting the hockey, but the footage from the set dominates.

Those elements are fun to see. We get good glimpses of the production and can check out different aspects of the shoot. The occasional interview snippets flesh out the “Power Play Mode” well and make it a useful addition, though I’d definitely recommend viewing it solo and not alongside the movie; there are so many clips that they’d constantly interrupt the film and become a chore to watch.

Six Deleted Scenes go for a total of nine minutes, three seconds. These expand supporting characters, so we see more of Doug’s family, Ryan and the hockey team. They’re actually pretty good, and they might’ve worked fine in the final cut; it probably would’ve been nice to get the explanation for why Doug wears figure skates to his tryout, and the others are enjoyable as well.

Outtakes/Blooper Reel lasts five minutes, 35 seconds. I hoped the “outtakes” side of things meant a fair number of alternate lines and we did get some, but the compilation mostly focused on the usual goofs and giggles. Still, we see enough improv moments to make the reel worth a look.

After this we get an Interview with Seann William Scott and Jay Baruchel. It fills 29 minutes, 31 seconds with their comments about characters and story, their childhood experiences with hockey, inspirations and influences for the movie, cast and performances, shooting the hockey/fight scenes, and a few other thoughts. Both interact well and give us some nice notes about the film.

Under HDNet: A Look at Goon, we discover a four-minute, 52-second promotional piece with notes from Scott and Baruchel. Essentially this gives us an abbreviated version of the longer interview, so there’s no reason to it if you already saw the latter.

Goalie Audition occupies five minutes, 19 seconds as it shows tryouts. Or one tryout, I should say, as we just see Jonathan Cherry, the actor who got the role as the goalie. It’s a fun addition.

Next we see Fighting 101. This featurette runs three minutes, 46 seconds and gives us Baruchel in character. He offers a quick – and crude – tutorial about methods of hockey beatdowns. While insubstantial and silly, it offers amusement.

Within Hockey Cards, we get still frame materials. As expected, we see fake trading cards for 12 of the film’s characters. These don’t restrict themselves to players, and that makes them a bit more creative.

The disc opens with ads for Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, God Bless America and The Hunter. These pop under Also from Magnolia Entertainment as well, and we also get two trailers for Goon.

Despite its heavy debt to Slap Shot, Goon stands on its own as an enjoyable hockey-related comedy. Yeah, it lacks clear direction much of the time, but it boasts enough charm and humor to make it work. The DVD offers pretty good picture and audio along with a nice little set of supplements. Fans of hard-edged, profane comedies should enjoy this one.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main