Welcome to the House of Crouse. First up, “Wilson” star Judy Greer stops by for a quick visit to talk about working with Woody Harrelson and signing the boobs of Archer fans. Then we go long with “Goon: Last of the Enforcers” star Kim Coates. He recites Shakespeare, talks about “Sons of Anarchy” and growing up on the Canadian Prairies. From boobs to Shakespeare, we cover it all, so c’mon in and sit a spell.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, the live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the drug addled “T2 Trainspotting” and the no-holds-barred “Goon: Last of the Enforcers.”
“Goon: Last of the Enforcers” is about as subtle as one of Doug the Thug’s brutal uppercuts to the jaw. A foul-mouthed celebration of hockey rink sluggers directed by Jay Baruchel, it paints the ice with so much blood it makes the raunchy classic “Slapshot” look positively Victorian in comparison.
Six years since the original “Goon,” Seann William Scott returns as Doug Glatt, enforcer for the Halifax Highlanders. Imagine the love child of Tie Domi and Lloyd Christmas; a hockey bruiser with a heart of gold. The pro teams have been locked out and all eyes are on the Highlanders. As Captain and enforcer Doug is the team’s ticket to the playoffs until he comes out on the wrong end of an on-ice brawl with rival Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell). Beaten and bloody, Doug is forced into early retirement and Cain is recruited to take his place.
As Cain bashes heads on ice and off, Doug provides for his pregnant girlfriend Eva (Alison Pill) as an insurance salesman but as the season wears on Doug finds himself drawn back to the rink. “I don’t think the insurance bug has truly laid its eggs inside me,” he says. At first he sneaks in ice time behind Eva’s back but when he finally comes clean she is cool with him returning to the ice as long as he doesn’t fight. Question is, will it be possible for Doug lace up and hit the ice without raising his fists?
The final showdown between the two bruisers boils down to the simple fact that Doug loves the game while Cain only loves to win.
“Goon: Last of the Enforcers” replaces the enforcer-as-gladiator subtext of the first film with easier to digest philosophical messages about loyalty, doing the right thing and how understanding your purpose and place makes for a happy life. That it splatters those messages with gallons of blood, jokes about autoerotic asphyxiation and, well, just about every bodily function known to man. It is rough and rowdy, like a scrappy booze-fuelled minor league game.
Scott brings his goofy charm to Doug, a sweetheart of a guy with an iron fist and a bum shoulder. He teammates are likeable misfits, each a little quirkier than the last. Locker room talk—some that would make the Hanson Brothers blush—abounds between them, but their real bond is a shared love of the game.
As Darth Vader on skates Wyatt Russell is welcome addition to the team. He gets the off kilter rhythm of the dialogue and is as villainous as Doug is soft-hearted.
At it’s dirty little heart “Goon: The Last of the Enforcers” is a sweet movie about love, Doug’s dual loves for Eva and the game.
Richard sits in with Marcia McMillan to have a look at the continuing adventures of the USS Enterprise “Star Trek Beyond,” the family-friendly “Ice Age: Collision Course,” Edina and Patsy’s drunken adventures in “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” and the ‘are you afraid of the dark’ movie, “Lights Out.”
An outer space acorn adventure begins the earthbound struggle for survival in “Ice Age: Collision Course,” the fifth instalment in the popular animated series.
Fans of the franchise will recognize Scrat (Chris Wedge), the dogged squirrel whose endless pursuit of an acorn is at the heart of each of the movies. He is the “Ice Age’s” equivalent of Wile E. Coyote, a lovable but psychics defying acorn hunter often humiliated but never daunted in his quest for the elusive nut. This time his journey leads him to deep space where he puts a series of event in motion that endangers the lives of Manny and Ellie, the Wooly Mammoth couple voiced by Ray Romano and Queen Latifah, macho tiger Diego (Denis Leary), the annoyingly unlucky sloth named Sid (John Leguizamo) and the rest of the gang.
On earth the mammals are preparing to celebrate Manny and Ellie’s anniversary. All is going well except that Manny forgot to get Ellie a gift. Then, when the sky fills with beautiful colours it looks like Manny has arranged a fireworks display for his bride. In fact, the well-timed meteor shower that got Manny out of an anniversary pickle will lead to other world changing problems for he and his friends. “Manny’s love is killing us,” squeals opossum Crash (Seann William Scott). Enter Buck (Simon Pegg), a one-eyed weasel and a dinosaur hunter (“You may be Jurassic,” he sings to the dinosaurs in a Gilbert and Sullivan inspired tune, “but I’m fantastic.”), who has a plan to go toward the “planet killing space rock” rather than running away from it. “I know it sounds a sub-optional,” he says, “but we can change our fate.”
Mixed in with this story of survival are Peaches’s (Keke Palmer) upcoming nuptials, hockey lessons, a dance number and even a science lesson from Neil Degrasse Tyson. Each of these digressions from the main story does little more than bulk out the running time to a feature length of 94 minutes.
Like the other movies in the series “Ice Age: Collision Course” is less concerned with telling a story as it is with coming up with premises they can populate with characters that can be spun off into videogames and toys. Episodic and disjointed, there is none of the elegance of Pixar’s storytelling, just one event loosely connected with the one before it, after another. The result is a movie with few laughs and too many subplots masquerading as a story.
The best thing in the movie is Scrat who lives in perpetual desperation, always hankering for an acorn to call his own. He’s a classic cartoon creation, an elastic faced throwback to the Looney Tunes era. If they make another one of these let’s have more of him please, and less of the other mammoth bores that fill the screen.
It might be time to put the “Ice Age” movies on ice.
“My girlfriend gets pissed,” says Seann William Scott, “because I don’t do anything except watch movies.”
His on-screen education becomes clear as he explains how he tackled the character of Doug Glatt, the impossibly sweet, but violent hockey enforcer in Goon.
“He’s not Peter Sellers in Being There,” he says. “I wanted to make sure he came across as a real guy,” says Scott. “Not Forest Gump on skates.”
Director Mike Dowse chimes in with his own film comparisons.
“Doug reminded me of Lenny from Mice and Men or Rocky Balboa or even Chauncey Gardner. A great simpleton character.”
It’s a risky role. Play him too broadly and he’ll be a caricature, underplay him and the audience won’t care about him.
“It’s a performance thing,” says Dowse. “What we did was develop a ‘Doug Filter’ that Seann would put on as an actor. We talked about how Doug isn’t slow, he’s careful. He chooses his words. He tries to be polite. Once Seann got the filter, you could throw anything through it. It’s a really difficult thing to do; play a simpleton smartly.”
Throwing ideas through the filter is one thing, but Doug also throws punches. Lots of them.
“As violent as it is, and as wild as the fights are, you still love my character,” says Scott, “because he doesn’t fight just to fight. He has a moral code. Doug is such a good, sweet guy, you can get away with that because there is an interesting dichotomy between the guy who’s out on the ice bleeding for his team and the man he is off ice.”
“We weren’t trying to glorify the violence at all,” says Dowse. “We’re just trying to show the impact of being in this guy’s skates and having the audience experience that.”
“I also loved how polite these guys are,” Scott says of the hockey enforcers he met while researching the part. “They’re like, ‘Good fight,’ after they’ve just beaten someone on the ice.”
One aspect of the role that eluded Scott was the skating.
“If there are any shots of me skating fairly well that would be my double,” he laughs. “Anytime I’m falling down, that was me. The double had to actually dumb down his skating to match mine.”
If “Goon,” the new film about Canada’s favourite sport starring Jay Baruchel and Seann William Scott, could be summed up in one image it would be of a tooth soaring through the air in slow motion.
The airborne bloody Chiclet is as significant a symbol to “Goon” as Mona Lisa’s smirk was to High Renaissance painting and open “g” tuning is to Keith Richards’s guitar. The tooth, and the punch that dislodged it, are celebrated by the film as an essential part of the game.
Like its main character the movie is violent, sweet and a little dimwitted. Unlike other sports films “Goon” doesn’t use the game as a metaphor for, or a microcosm of, real life. The flying tooth is just that, a tooth dislodged by a mighty punch to the mouth, but beyond the broken teeth and smelly jock straps, the film does have philosophical messages: Loyalty matters, doing the right thing is crucial and understanding your purpose and place makes for a happy life.
In some ways the messages are very Zen, except for the bloody mouths, scabby fingers and the aforementioned flying tooth.
But rather than focus on the philosophical it chooses to romanticize its subject. Enforcers are glorified — “You’ve been touched by the fist of god.” They are compared to soldiers — “Everybody loves soldiers,” says LS, “until they stop fighting and come home.” They are men whose job it is to lay their personal safety on the line for the benefit of others.
In the world created by the movie, I suppose it’s true, but that sentiment might ring more clearly if Doug wasn’t such a dolt. Perhaps if he thought before he threw a punch we as an audience might see his actions as more of a statement of personal beliefs and less as a simple gladiatorial display.
“Goon” does capture the rough and rowdy feel of minor league hockey. It’s profane enough to make the Hanson Brothers blush and violent enough to convince Paul Henderson to buy a helmet. Fun stuff, particularly if you’re a hockey fan.
SIDEBAR: How did Seann William Scott like filming just north of home?
“I expected it to be like Minnesota, but the girls were hotter in Winnipeg,” he says. “They dress better and they’re a little more hip. I was confused. Minnesota is just below. How’d they get so hip? I think they just eat better. They’re not stuffing cheese curds down their throats.”
Seann William Scott is best known for playing Steve ‘Stifmeister’ Stifler in the American Pie series of movies. The character was a hard partying lug-head, who, according to the direct-to-DVD sequel Band Camp, became a porno director.
His specialty in films like Road Trip, Dude, Where’s My Car? and The Dukes of Hazzard is playing hapless stoners and lug-heads so it may surprise you that his DVD player is currently hosting La Vie en Rose. That’s right, the life story of singer Édith Piaf.
“That may be my favourite movie of all time,” he says.
I tell him I once interviewed the movie’s star Marion Cotillard.
“Is she hot?” he asks. “I have such a huge crush on her. She’s got a boyfriend though. I went on the computer and looked up who she’s dating. A serious boyfriend for a long time. Sucks.”
That’s the Seann William Scott audiences know and love. As an actor he usually finds the unexpected angle on a joke, and knows how to reel the viewer in.
We have a laugh before moving on to talk about his new film Goon. He plays a hockey enforcer even though he didn’t grow up with the sport. “I’m more of a fan now,” he says. “When I grew up in Minnesota I played baseball, football and basketball. So in the wintertime that’s what I played, which is odd, because it’s Minnesota. All my friends played hockey and I was always envious because all the girls liked the hockey players. Nobody came to the basketball games.”
“Since the movie I have a greater appreciation of it now because it is so intense. I love hockey now. I think the relationship between the players is way cool.
“The guys are just closer and there is a sense of humour about it. Maybe it’s a more manly sport than basketball … I’m sure a lot of basketball players won’t appreciate that.”
In the latest installment of the “American Pie” franchise it’s the thirteenth high school reunion for some very recognizable characters—Jim, Oz, Kevin, Stifler, Finch, Vicky (Tara Reid) and Michelle. The question is, Will their 13th anniversary be bad luck for them, the movie’s viewers, or both?
Since graduation in 1999 the old gang has gone their separate ways. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are married with a son. Oz (Chris Klein) is an LA based sportscaster who once appeared on a a reality dance show, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is a stay-at-home dad, Stifler (Seann William Scott) is an office temp and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is a man of mystery.
Their weekend back in East Great Falls, Michigan brings back old memories, creates some new ones and uncovers some long held secrets.
As you may have guessed from my synopsis, plot is not one of “’s” strong points. I expected something more from “Harold and Kumar” helmers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who also wrote and directed “Reunion.” None of the surreal feel of their best-known comedy seeped into this movie.
Instead we get a by-the-numbers high school reunion flick with enough “we’re not as young as we used to be” shtick to fill a textbook on how not to write a high school reunion comedy.
Luckily Eugene Levy is along for the ride. He rescues every scene he’s in, adding in some touches of real humor. Ditto Seann William Scott as Stifler. He’s a classic moron character, but there is something about the commitment Scott shows to Stifler’s idiocy that makes the shameless mugging and language one of the movie’s pleasures.
Aside from that only one set piece really works—an extended sequence with a drunken girl young enough to call the Spice Girls “classic rock.”
As for the cast, everyone is in full-blown “American Pie” mode, à la 1999. No surprises there, although the movie could easily have been subtitled, “What Ever Happened to Tara Reid?” She has a small supporting role that plays more like a cautionary tale of faded success than a comeback role in a Hollywood movie.
At almost two hours it feels longer than my old history teacher Mr. Parker’s lectures, but may appeal to fans of the series who have a built in connection with the characters and Eugene Levy aficionados. Otherwise, this is a direct to DVD level movie with not enough laughs to qualify for theatrical release.