A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend had some colleagues visit us from Canada. Over the course of the week they were here, I learned a lot about a place I have never visited.  For one thing I learned that hockey was as big an institution there as football is here in the South. (Our town is overrun with college football fans every other Saturday until late December. It gets to the point that you only venture out into society for necessities.) Although they are not fans themselves, they told me that it seems like everyone else in Canada is. To say it is a way of life is an understatement. When they left, I felt a Canadian sized hole in my heart (haha) and decided to fill it by watching reruns of Trailer Park Boys and Goon.

Goon is about a simple Canadian man, Doug, who can fight. He can fight well but he is not an angry man. When his friend, Pat, taunts a hockey player into coming in the stands to punch him, Doug knocks the hockey player out cold. A hockey coach notices the altercation and invites him to join his team as a Goon or a man who fights on the ice rink. Although he can barely skate, he soon gains notoriety and is traded to a higher up team. While in this town, he falls in love with a girl, becomes friends with his roommate after several incidents and goes up against the most celebrated enforcer in the sport.

Doug gets into altercations during every game, but he is never angry. He just wants to support his team. He is also one of the simplest and sweetest people in the film. He is a shy man and fumbles through the relationships he has in the film but you can always tell that he is sincere in everything he does. At one point in the film, his family comes to watch a game is in. After the game, his father and mother express concern over his choice of profession. They feel he should become a teacher or a doctor like his brother. But Doug is aware of the truth of his life. He knows he isn’t extremely smart and he also knows that he is lucky to be a hockey player. His parents may never understand but that doesn’t matter. He knows who he is. I think that is a refreshing thing to say about modern male protagonists. There seems to be a trend in recent male comedies where the men seem to be fumbling through life, not knowing what they are doing, what they want to do or why they are stuck in the situation they are in. But Doug has a firm grasp of reality throughout the whole film. Although he doesn’t change much, he helps the people around him change and become better people. This is a sweet film that could even warm the heart of a non-Canadian like me.

By the way film is based on a true story and you see the real guy in the credits. It is fascinating stuff to watch. At one point he describes all of the injuries he had in one game. It was almost scary that someone allow himself to be put through all that.


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