As often as boxing films somehow manage to take what should be such a tired genre and do something lovely with it, I don’t see many hockey films being made with particularly sophisticated approaches. That’s not to say the genre is entirely barren– Gavin O’Connor, director of the amazing Warrior of course made Miracle in 2004 and is liked well enough, but the genre just doesn’t rear its head too often and rarely in a memorable way. Maybe Goon and its flatly-cut trailer holds some answers why.
Well, aside from mushy cuts that leave awkward spaces and deflate jokes, I have to say the trailer does a pretty poor job of communicating exactly what’s going on in this movie. From what I can tell, some asshole is on a hockey team purely to fight and draw crowds, but then is challenged by a bigger meaner asshole doing the same thing on another team? (I can pull things up on Wikipedia obviously, but I’m part of that hockey-ignorant audience they’re ultimately hoping to sell this thing to). Regardless, the film has been picked up and there are some nice reviews, so maybe it’s just the trailer falling flat.
I’ve got no problem with Sean William Scott, Liev Schrieber is great, and Allison Pill remains simultaneously adorable and disarmingly funny, so perhaps a good time can be had by all. Frankly though, in terms of the hockey genre, this feels a bit like watching action movies in the year or two prior to Avatar. If you remember, the looming inevitability of a game changer began subconsciously diminishing the efforts that came immediately before it. The master was coming to show us all how it was done and change the way we saw things forever, and the same has become true of this genre…
Kevin Smith works (not so) quietly towards Hit Somebody Part I and Part II, and I think we can all agree his two-part hockey opus will be a watershed moment, the kind of thing that bifurcates our film memories and forces all films into “Before H.S.” and “After H.S.” boxes. That hockey epic was once going to star Sean William Scott (Smith even credited Scott as the individual that allowed him to finally crack the story), but it has since evolved into something grander.
Until then, sate yourself with Goon for your on-the-ice antics and prepare for what’s coming.
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