Yesterday it was announced that this man above these words, Seann William Scott, is reportedly playing a hockey goon in a movie based on the book Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey by Doug Smith and Adam Frattasio. The script is being written by Evan Goldberg, who co-wrote my dad’s favorite movies, Superbad and Pineapple Express, with my dad’s favorite actor, Seth Rogen (my dad is the only person on earth who refuses to even acknowledge that Seth Rogen is famous, except perhaps the cast & crew of Entourage. It’d be almost fascinating if anyone else on earth actually disliked the guy) as well as actor Jay Baruchel (a known Habs fan who starred in the hockey-subplotted She’s Out of My League).
Both writers are Canadian, so duh. Scott’s participation in this is quite intriguing, however. It was announced months ago that he was attached to star in the Kevin Smith film, Hit Somebody, which is based on a Warren Zevon song that Mitch Albom wrote, which is about a man who is terrible at hockey but becomes a goon because that’s the only way he can make the big time. This is interesting because … when did hockey’s toughest job become the new superhero flick all of a sudden?
Okay, perhaps it isn’t that trendy, but two comedies with pathos on the enforcer in consecutive years being announced after there being none (at least memorable ones) since Slap Shot is an interesting little mini-trend for Hollywood. Hockey has slowly been bouncing into movies more and more lately, not really in terms of main plot (except for that weird musical thing coming out soon) but as something the characters are doing or seeing. That’s big for hockey. If Hollywood portrays it as “this is something that people do” it can only be good for the sport.
Still, the last real big-time hockey movie to come out was 2004’s Miracle, which the NHL promoted the bejesus out of. I believe, if you watch Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, you’ll see an ad for what I believe is the DVD release of the film, since the movie was released theatrically in February of that year. Regardless, the NHL got behind it big time, with Kurt Russell appearing at the All-Star Game, and ESPN doing a special on the Miracle team.
It would behoove the league to get behind these upcoming Kevin Smith and Goldberg/Baruchel projects as well, because the hockey goon could be another extension of a great trend of what’s happening lately in hit films like The Wrestler or even TV comedies like Eastbound and Down: the athlete who’s either seen his glory fade or didn’t have talent to begin with. The has-been and the never-was. The NHL enforcer personifies this, but also gets to be triumphant. Mike Peluso got to shed a tear at the end of the Stanley Cup Final. You tell me that wouldn’t be as satisfying a movie ending as you’ve seen in awhile.
People are currently not interested in the traditional sports movie, where the big team overcomes incredible odds to win the big game, with the QB or the star getting a kiss from the hot cheerleader at the end. They want to see their heroes reduced to the common man and lower. The goon is exactly that. When I met Cam Janssen at a Devils practice, he was unhinged, engaged and absolutely awesome to deal with. The goon is alternately hilarious, triumphant and failed. He’ll never be the big star, he may even suffer just to be in one game, but he makes it, and he beats the crap out of someone while doing it. If that’s not the movie the American people are dying to see, I don’t know what is.