Goon is a 2012 Canadian comedy film about the life of a minor league ice hockey enforcer written by Jay Baruchel and starring Seann William Scott. The film is billed as a Spiritual Successor to the 70s classic Slap Shot with the blood and gore Up to Eleven.Doug Glatt (based on the real life player Doug Smith) is a slightly dimwitted, but generally kind bouncer at a night club who packs one hell of a punch. His best friend Pat (Baruchel) runs a local cable show covering their local extremely minor league hockey team. One day while the two are at a game, a fight escalates into a bench-clearing brawl and one of the opposing team's players climbs up into the stands after he's yelled at by Pat. When he calls Pat a faggot, Doug, who has a gay younger brother, goes into Papa Wolf mode and lays him out. The event caught the attention of the team's management who offered him a position on the team as an enforcernote for those unfamiliar with hockey jargon, an enforcer is a player who's main role on the team is to intimidate the opponent and protect key players who aren't as fit for fighting. Despite his initial inability to skate, he makes an impact (literally) and catches favor with the coaches. Eventually, he is given a call up to the slightly-less minor league Halifax Highlanders in order to protect their star player Xavier LaFlamme, a former NHLer who had suffered a concussion at the hands of legendary enforcer Ross Rhea and was sent down to the minors after fear of being injured again caused him to lose his game. Over the course of the movie Doug develops a relationship with a woman, Eva, who he makes out with in a bar not knowing she has a boyfriend. Eventually Doug has to prove himself by fighting the legendary Ross Rhea, who had been sent to the minors following a suspension, during his final game before retirement.You can view a trailer right here.
This film contains examples of the following tropes:
Accidental Athlete: Working as a bouncer, and being naturally tough, have made Doug the perfect hockey enforcer.
Affably Evil: Ross Rhea. He's very good at what he does and is not above goading other players into fighting him when he's not ramming them into the boards. But he always keeps a sense of humor about it.
Necessarily Evil: Rhea's position as an enforcer is what he does best, but there's no actually malice in his actions. He has a job to do, and he does it very well, but he's not at all a bad guy.
All-Loving Hero: Though Doug isn't a literal example, he does embody many qualities. He's a Nice Guy, who doesn't seem to bear prejudice against anyone, he flat out states that he likes protecting people, and tells Laflamme who clearly hates him (At first) that he will protect him no matter what because they're teammates. He also let's Eva's ex-boyfriend beat the ever-loving snot out of him after she leaves the guy for him (all the while apologizing) because he thinks he deserves it, offers a similar scenario to Laflamme if he thinks it will make amends, and his sacrifices for the team causes them to start an all-out melee against an opposing team, and inspires them to play harder during the last game.
Badass Boast: Ross Rhea, to Doug Glatt: "You have my respect. Whatever that means to you, you got it. But know this shit hard. If ever there comes a time when it gets down to the marrow, and it's you and me... Kid, I will lay you the fuck out." Doubles as a Worthy Opponent moment.
Brand X: All of the teams and leagues mentioned in the movie are fake even though a lot of work went into the logos, uniforms and names. The "Orangetown Assasins" belong to the fictional NCHL, roughly the equivalent of the real life ECHL or other AA league. "The Halifax Highlanders" belong to the EMHL, said to be right below the big leagues making them the equivalent of the AAA-level American Hockey League. While NHL cities are mentioned, (Boston, Montreal, etc.) the teams are still fake, like the "Boston Blackjacks" and the "Montreal Corsairs" name of the national league for hockey is not mentioned specifically.
Canada, Eh?: While the protagonist and his friends are Yanks (in the strictest sense of the word), he plays for a Canadian team, and his girlfriend Eva and most of the teams he faces are Canadian. The accents can get downright painful in a couple of instances, more notably when Ross does his "coming back" speech.
Dumb Muscle: Doug isn't too bright. He's painfully aware of it too. It even results in a Tear Jeaker when his parents find out about what he does and try to convince him that he can be something better, like a doctor, and he's forced to angrily rebut their remarks by saying no, he's stupid, and he's always going to be stupid, but that hockey is something he can do well.
Expy: Many fans of the movie have pointed out that there are a lot of similarities between Doug and Rocky Balboa; both of them are kinda dimwitted, both of them are exceedingly polite and friendly, both of them are Made of Iron, and both of them suddenly find themselves sports celebrities.
Genius Bruiser: Unlike Doug, Ross Rhea comes across as plenty savvy. Besides being very skilled at psychological warfare, he has no illusions about the reality of his job.
Glass Hammer: Ross can really dish out a beating, but goes down after taking considerably less punishment than Doug during their fight. However, the last shot of Ross may imply that he threw the fight, since he was retiring after that game anyway.
Not necessarily. I think Ross smiled because he went out in style - even though he technically lost the fight to a man half his age and the next great enforcer, he gave a VERY good performance both in game (had 1 assist) and in the fight.
It's left up to the viewer: commentary claims the smile was Schrieber's idea and the meaning is purposefully unclear.
Golden Snitch: A rare intangible example, as in the final game Doug defeating Rhea in their climactic fight invigorates Xavier, who scores three straight goals and seemingly propels his team into the playoffs virtually single-handed. Justified in that Rhea had brutally beaten Xavier in their last meeting years before, and Xavier had been playing poorly ever since, unable to get past it. Seeing Doug beat the crap out of Rhea showed Xavier that he was protected and Rhea wasn't that tough, and brought him out of his funk.
Good Is Not Nice: Doug himself isn't a completely nice person. Polite, but not nice.
Hard Work Montage: Doug goes through one of these after being signed by the Orangetown Assassins. He is a bouncer who is experienced at dropping guys in the back alley, but he doesn't know how to skate. Thanks to the efforts of his persistent Coach to teach him basic skills, intercut with his best friend making him watch fight tapes of Ross Rhea in action, Doug eventually becomes a gladiator on the ice.
Hookers and Blow: Xavier takes up a steady habit of spending his money on this after getting demoted to the minors after his concussion. Turns out he faked how bad the concussion was as an excuse.
I Can Still Fight: In the climatic final fight, Doug gets his ass royally kicked by Rhea, long past the point when the refs want to stop the fight, but neither Doug nor Rhea are willing to concede. In the end, Doug is almost blinded, breaks his ankle, and is bleeding so much that one has to wonder just how much more he can take. But with Heroic Willpower, Doug manages to turn the tables on Rhea and knock him the fuck out, along with one of his teeth.
Mangst: Ross Rhea. After a teammate takes a vicious elbow to the face, Rhea smacks the offender in the head with his stick and is suspended and sent down to the minors. He winds up at St. Johns where he grew up and got his start playing hockey. When on TV, he is glad to be back home, but throughout the movie is shown sitting alone night after night in an all-hours dirty spoon by himself with no friends, no fans, constantly keeping tabs on Doug who has been labeled by the sports media as the "next great enforcer." Turned Up to Eleven when his team faces Doug's, when his normal level of thuggery on the ice turns brutal as he doesn't want to be remembered as going out as a "Middle aged, Nancy-Boy fuck."
Rhoss' aggression gets exaggerated in the final two matches to make us root for Doug, otherwise his natural charm would split the audience.
Nice Jewish Boy: Doug is a semi-subversion. He isn't very bright, but he is a genuinely good person and means well.
Oh Crap: Ross Rhea, in the diner, when he sees Doug Glatt walk through the door. But it turns to surprise when Doug politely introduces himself and offers a handshake, which Ross returns with a confused expression.
Subverted in the final fight. Ross has knocked Doug to the ice twice. They're both bleeding from their noses and mouths, Doug is screaming on the ice, half blind with a broken ankle. Doug manages to stagger to his feet, with the crowd cheering and the soundtrack blaring, and what's Ross's reaction to seeing a man come back from two epic beatdowns? Is it shock? Panic? Amazement? None of the above. It's pure respect.
Papa Wolf: Doug is extremely dedicated to protecting his team, even Xavier. His protective instincts come from defending his gay younger brother from bullies.
Passing the Torch: Implied to be Ross Rhea's intentions as he fights Doug in his self-professed final year before retirement. Assuming Halifax holds on for the victory after the credits start rolling, St. John's misses the playoffs which likely makes this the final game of Rhea's (semi)-pro career.
Punch Clock Hero/Villain: Both Doug and Rhea are genuinely nice guys and only beat the living crap out of other people because it's their job. Very much Truth in Television with enforcers in professional hockey.
Even though Rhea loves to brawl he will sometimes pass on the opportunity. When challenged by the Halifax team captain to fight, Rhea gives him a chance to change his mind since he knows the old player is not known for fisticuffs. The Halifax player pushes for the fight, and it does not end well for him.
Truth in Television: Georges Laraque's character politely asks Doug for a fight, similar to what he did here as a member of the Phoenix Coyotes. The most important part of the unwritten "code" governing fighting in hockey is that both combatants must be willing.
Worthy Opponent: Ross sees Doug as this, to the point that he refuses to let the ref break up their fight in the climax, no matter how gruesome it got.