A lot or a little?
Parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Goon is a fact-based sports dramedy about a hockey player whose primary job is to be the team's designated thug on the ice; consequently, it features plenty of violent and bloody confrontations on the ice. It glorifies fighting and suggests that participating in a good beat down can be an entertaining activity. Perhaps not surprisingly, considering that the script was written by veterans of Superbad and Knocked Up, there's also near-nonstop swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and much more), lots of drinking, some drug use, and a few sex scenes that are pretty brief but do include partial nudity.
What's the story?
Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) is just a bouncer at a bar, until the night he gets into a fight in the stands at a hockey game, attracting the attention of the team's coach -- who thinks Doug's willingness to think with his fists might make him a good GOON. That's the unofficial job title of the guy who protects his teammates by picking fights with anyone on the other team who's playing a bit too rough -- usually the other side's goon. Soon Doug is causing a stir in the Canadian minor leagues, deemed a rising star simply because he's ready and eager to knock some heads. And when his team hits a winning streak, it looks like they're headed for the playoffs ... where Doug will come fist-to-fist with the league's most celebrated goon (Liev Schreiber), a match-up that every fan is eager to see.
Is it any good?
This movie's characters are thinly drawn, and many of them aren't all that likable. Doug isn't a particularly bright guy -- as even he admits in several scenes -- but he's smart enough to realize that being a goon might be a decent career for a man with few other skills. Goon the movie, however is even less intelligent. Doug is sweet -- really the only nice person in the film -- but it's hard to watch him get brutalized over and over. And the fight scenes are quite gory, with bloody puddles on the ice and close-ups of teeth sliding across the rink.
Goon is supposedly based on a true story (it was inspired by the nonfiction book Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey by Dough Smith and Adam Frattasio), which may be why the script by Superbad co-writer Evan Goldberg and Judd Apatow regular Jay Baruchel includes a scene in which Doug's parents walk out of a restaurant, ashamed of their son's job; it feels like it was just thrown in for no particular reason. The same goes for Doug's budding relationship with Eva (Alison Pill), who likes him, then spurns him, then likes him, again with no explanation. In the end, Goon is a mix of standardized sports-movie cliches, hardcore fistfights (certain to appeal to some viewers), some raunchy humor, and scenes that don't fit together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Goon's message. Do you think the film glorifies fighting? Is Doug intended to be a role model?
How do the fights in Goon compare to violent encounters in other movies? What do you think would happen if someone was really beaten as badly as the characters here? Are the fights realistic?
Goon is based on a nonfiction book; how accurate do you think the story is? Why might filmmakers change some of the facts in a movie based on a true story?
- In theaters: March 30, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: May 29, 2012
- Cast: Alison Pill, Jay Baruchel, Seann William Scott
- Director: Michael Dowse
- Studio: Magnet Releasing
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Sports and martial arts
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: brutal violence, non-stop language, some strong sexual content and drug use
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.