Indie Watch

Goon

By Dan Krovich

March 13, 2014

As soon on The Goldbergs this week.

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VOD Pick of the Week

Goon
When it comes to great hockey movies, the list has pretty much begun and ended with Slapshot with maybe The Mighty Ducks thrown in for the younger set, but Goon takes its place as a surprising new hockey movie classic. Goon is loosely based on real life minor league hockey player Doug Smith. Seann William Scott plays Doug Glatt, a kind-hearted but dimwitted bouncer at a bar in Massachusetts. As part of a family of Ivy League educated doctors, Doug suffers from a major league inferiority complex. One night at a minor league hockey game, Doug knocks out a player who has climbed into the stands to start a fight and catches the eye of the coach.

Doug is signed by the Halifax Highlanders to serve as the team’s enforcer and to protect their star player Laflamme, who has NHL talent but has never recovered from being knocked out by Ross “The Boss” Rhea (Live Schreiber) three years earlier. Doug is not much of a hockey player, but he excels at being the enforcer and responds to finally finding his calling and being accepted as a member of the team. He also responds to local girl, Eva (Allison Pill), and they begin a romantic relationship despite the fact that she has a boyfriend.

Meanwhile, Ross “The Boss,” who is a legendary enforcer at the end of his career has been sent down to the minors after his most recent suspension. After years on the job Ross has become weary of the demands and has announced his retirement at the end of the season. As the Highlanders make a run at the playoffs there is more anticipation about the possible confrontation between new blood Doug and old guard Ross than the score of any hockey game. The film builds towards their confrontation, particularly a late night conversation between the two men in a bar. Then, during their climactic battle, the film actually reaches the operatic heights that earn the right to use Puccini’s Turandot as the film’s score.

Scott gives perhaps the best performance of his career. Where he often has played loud-mouthed characters in the past, he plays Doug with an understated earnestness that makes his character immediately endearing, and he shows deceptive range in what first appears to be one-note. Goon is a film with a lot of heart, and the beat of that heart is Scott’s performance.

With all of this talk about operatic heights and heart, it should not be lost that this movie is actually a fairly raunchy comedy. The movie is very funny and full of lowbrow humor, but it is elevated by not just concentrating on the jokes and realizing that even scatological humor can be more effective when you take the time to establish connection to the characters and the story.

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New releases for March 14th

Enemy: Jake Gyllenhaal plays a dual role, re-teaming him with his director from Prisoners for the psychological thriller Enemy. Gyllenhaal plays Adam, a dull college professor who seems disinterested with his girlfriend. One night he rents a movie and finds that one of the bit players in the film is his exact doppelganger. He becomes obsessed with finding his double, who turns out to be an actor named Daniel, and when he does he discovers that though they look exactly alike, they are complete opposites otherwise, and Daniel is sexually aggressive where Adam is detached. As Adam delves further he begins to discover that their similarities may be more than mere coincidence.

Bad Words: Jason Bateman stars (and makes his directorial debut) in Bad Words as a 40-year-old misanthrope who uses a loophole to enter the National Spelling Bee. He is out to crush the dreams of his opponents consisting of ambitious eighth graders, while also infuriating parents and contest officials. He forges an unlikely bond with a fellow competitor Chaitanya, an awkward 10-year old, as a reporter (Kathryn Hahn) tries to discover his motivation in this foul-mouthed dark comedy.

Le Week-End: Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan play Nick and Meg, a long-married couple who return to Paris for a long weekend for the first time since their honeymoon. After many years of ups and downs they hope that Paris will rekindle the spark in their marriage but it might show them that there is no spark left. Director Roger Michell’s (Notting Hill) latest film is a realistically romantic film about a couple who has survived many years together, but now has to find out whether they can survive the weekend.

Patrick: Evil Awakens: A remake of Richard Franklin’s seminal Australian New Wave “Ozploitation” film from 1978, Patrick focuses on the titular supposedly brain dead coma patient who is the subject of cruel experiments by a mad scientist. When a new young nurse begins work at the hospital, she becomes fascinated with Patrick and he becomes obsessed with her. It seems that although in a coma, Patrick has psychic telekinetic powers that he uses to punish those who wrong him.

Veronica Mars: Just over a year after the launch of its groundbreaking Kickstarter campaign, the Veronica Mars movie makes its way to big and small screens. Based on the ratings challenged but critically praised television show with a loyal following, the movie picks up nine years later with Veronica just graduating from law school. When old flame Logan is accused of murder, Veronica returns to Neptune just to help him find a lawyer, but when she smells something fishy going on, she soon gets sucked back into her own ways.

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