When we were told we’d be seeing a film about hockey called Goon, The Observer was, admittedly, less than thrilled. The brutal blood sport has never particularly appealed to our more delicate sensibilities, and the star of the film, Seann William Scott, established his modus in bawdy early aught flicks, American Pie (and all subsequent spinoffs) the most memorable.
When we spoke to Mr. Scott before the film, however, our mood began to change. Mr. Scott was entirely unpretentious, speaking at length with each reporter who hassled him. A quick Google search explained his affability: Mr. Scott, we learned, hails from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, population 34,000 whose primary attractions include the Old People’s Home of the Northwest Cemetery.
Smiling broadly, Mr. Scott greeted us and asked how we were doing. How quaint! How Midwest! We were fine, just fine. Mr. Scott admitted that he bucked the tradition of his great lake-heavy state and did not play hockey, at least for very long. “I tried when I was younger, and I was terrible,” he told The Observer, “And then I lipped off to an older guy. I was like six, and he banged my head against the wall. I was like, ‘Hockey Sucks!’”
The blaspheme was only momentary. “I grew up loving it,” he said, but loving it from the stands.
As the film focuses on the role of hockey enforcers whose sole job is to fight, we asked Mr. Scott when he last partook in a bout of sparring. “My lawyer doesn’t want me to talk about that. Honestly, it was a super expensive situation,” he joked. “You should have seen me before. I actually looked just like Ashton Kutcher.”
Finding our seat, we settled in for what turned out to be a hilarious hour-and-a-half. With Judd Apatow-esque humor and a vaguely heartwarming zero to hero storyline, the audience (even those wont to confuse boarding and holding) thoroughly enjoyed the film. Mr. Scott’s character, who dons number 69, achieves semi-pro celebrity, beating the bejeezus out of his opponents which, while perhaps of questionable ethical merit, is all for the love of game and glory.
We left the theater just behind Mr. Scott who was swarmed by a pack of middle-aged men with American Pie DVDs. He happily signed each one and posed for photographs with every last star-struck slightly balding admirer.
We then headed to MePa eatery Villa Pacri where the Mr. Scott and film’s co-stars, Liev Schreiber and Jay Baruchel, greeted guests, sipped sweet-tea vodka and ate comfort-food canapés sponsored by 2(X)IST. After toasting Henrik Lundgvist (and the film’s success) several times we left the Villa, filled with sweet-tea spirits and sugar-plum puck dreams.