Dec 30, 2013

Goon: Canadian Ice Hockey, Beefcake, Bonding, and a Gay Brother

I hate sports and sports movies, but if I have to see one, it helps if there's beefcake, gay characters, and a gay subtext. Like the Canadian ice hockey movie Goon (2011).

Doug (Seann William Scott) feels out of place in his successful family  -- his dad and brother Ira are both physicians, and he's just a bouncer in a bar.

One night at a hockey game, a player calls his friend Pat (Jay Baruchel) a homophobic name, and Doug pummels him.

His brother Ira, played by David Paetkau, is gay, so he won't stand for homophobia).

As a result, Doug gets a job with the Halifax Highlanders as an "enforcer," aka a "goon," a player with the job of protecting his teammates against violent or dirty acts from the opposing team.

There's a substantial amount of homophobia on his team -- such as the scene where he refuses to let other guys sign his penis, and is therefore labeled "gay."  But a substantial amount of nudity and camaraderie, too.

He's assigned to mentor and room with troubled player LaFlamme (Marc-Andre Grondin), who is afraid of being hit after receiving a concussion from a "dirty player."

They buddy-bond; when another player hits LaFlamme, the protective Doug beats him up and is suspended for a game.

Meanwhile he butts heads and exchanges insults with Rhea (Liev Schreiber), who gave LaFlamme the concussion in the first place.   Rhea was a promising player, but his violence got him demoted to the minors, and now he plays for the St. Johns' Shamrocks, the Highlanders' rival team.

Of course, in the climactic game, Doug and LaFlamme work together to triumph over the evil Rhea.

There's a hetero-romance, but it's just there because every movie has to throw in a hetero-romance; it's completely irrelevant to the gay text and subtext.

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