DID YOU READ

“Goon” – impressions of a hockey movie masterpiece

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By Jordan Hoffman

Movies about baseball, basketball or football present a vocation rich in glory, glamour and dignity. There haven’t been too many films about hockey, but each one I see makes it look like a tour in ‘Nam. “Goon,” directed by Michael Dowse and co-written by Jay Baruchel has the makings of a frat house masterpiece and may just be my favorite, rowdy sports flick since the original “Bad News Bears.”

Try to imagine Lenny from “Of Mice and Men” on skates and you’ve got Doug Glatt. Seann William Scott is wonderfully cast as the kind hearted blockhead whose ability to both take and deliver a punch may lead his team toward victory. When we first meet him he’s working as a bouncer and looking for direction. (His domineering father played by Eugene Levy is a successful doctor, and not very proud of his son.) His best buddy, Baruchel, is a Grade-A New England dirtbag and hockey blogger. After a trip to a local minor league game leads to a fight in the stands, Doug finds himself with an offer to lace up and join as an enforcer, or, as is commonly known, be the (I bet you didn’t see this one coming) Goon.

One musical montage later (Canadian deities Rush, of course, with one of their early ones) Doug finds himself moved up from a team “not named for a radio station” but an actual major league farm club. His job is simple: protect the star player Guy LaFlamme, a hard-partying bozo, but a truly great player whose confidence is shot after a recent injury.

The injury came from the high stick of Ross Rehna, the mustachioed elder statesman of Goon-dom played by Liev Schrieber. The stage is now set for an operatic match-up as the bloody gloves prepare to be passed to the next generation.

Of the seven hundred things I love about the movie “Goon,” most stem from this: it makes no apologies. It revels in its brawls, belches and blue humor. Yes, there’s a race to the playoffs, but this is all secondary to true aims of our hero – and his goal, as is made perfectly clear – is to beat the hell out of Liev Schrieber. Oh, there’s team camaraderie galore, but it is stripped of much of the usual sports cliché bullshit and this refreshing honesty makes you care about the outcome even more.

By some miracle it actually does a decent job of explaining how the psychology of sanctioned fighting actually works in hockey. (I’ve often heard drunken yahoos, often with Boston accents, say “it’s paaht of the game,” but “Goon” was the first time I ever saw how.)

A sports film is nothing without its side characters and “Goon” has a locker room full of classic sociopaths. There’s also the best announcer since “Best in Show” and a fantastic angry coach in Kim Coates. The second he appeared I sprang up in my seat – aw, man, Tig from “Sons of Anarchy” is gonna scream at ‘em on a bus! “Goon” does not disappoint, and he gets in a line that every kid on a hockey team will be quoting from now til the day the world freezes over.

“Goon” is a marvelous picture and, yeah, it’s “got heart” – but it is also smart enough to know that its core audience is too boozed-up and rowdy for too much heart. It is loud, violent, but really, really sharp. There are moments when the jokes are flying by as fast as the puck, so I’m sure I missed something. I’m sure I’ll get ‘em all eventually, as this is a movie that’ll play on cable for years and always get you to stop flipping because “oh, wait, this next scene is the best.”

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Face Melting Cameos

The 10 Most Metal Pop Culture Cameos

Glenn Danzig drops by Portlandia tonight at 10P on IFC.

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Glenn Danzig rocks harder than granite. In his 60 years, he’s mastered punk with The Misfits, slayed metal with the eponymous Danzig, and generally melted faces with the force of his voice. And thanks to Fred and Carrie, he’s now stopping by tonight’s brand new Portlandia so we can finally get to see what “Evil Elvis” is like when he hits the beach. To celebrate his appearance, we put together our favorite metal moments from pop culture, from the sublime to the absurd.

10. Cannibal Corpse meets Ace Ventura

Back in the ’90s,  Cannibal Corpse was just a small time band from Upstate New York, plying their death metal wares wherever they could find a crowd, when a call from Jim Carry transformed their lives. Turns out the actor was a fan, and wanted them for a cameo in his new movie, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. The band had a European tour coming up, and were wary of being made fun of, so they turned it down. Thankfully, the rubber-faced In Living Color vet wouldn’t take no for an answer, proving that you don’t need to have a lot of fans, just the right ones.


9. AC/DC in Private Parts

Howard Stern’s autobiographical film, based on his book of the same name, followed his rise in the world of radio and pop culture. For a man surrounded by naked ladies and adoring fans, it’s hard to track the exact moment he made it. But rocking out with AC/DC in the middle of Central Park, as throngs of fans clamor to get a piece of you, seems like it comes pretty close. You can actually see Stern go from hit host to radio god in this clip, as “You Shook Me All Night Long” blasts in the background.


8. Judas Priest meets The Simpsons

When you want to blast a bunch of peace-loving hippies out on their asses, you’re going to need some death metal. At least, that’s what the folks at The Simpsons thought when they set up this cameo from the metal gods. Unfortunately, thanks to a hearty online backlash, the writers of the classic series were soon informed that Judas Priest, while many things, are not in fact “death metal.” This led to the most Simpson-esque apology ever. Rock on, Bartman. Rock on.


7. Anthrax on Married…With Children

What do you get when Married…with Children spoofs My Dinner With Andre, substituting the erudite playwrights for a band so metal they piss rust? Well, for starters, a lot of headbanging, property destruction and blown eardrums. And much like everything else in life, Al seems to have missed the fun.


6. Motorhead rocks out on The Young Ones

The Young Ones didn’t just premiere on BBC2 in 1982 — it kicked the doors down to a new way of doing comedy. A full-on assault on the staid state of sitcoms, the show brought a punk rock vibe to the tired format, and in the process helped jumpstart a comedy revolution. For instance, where an old sitcom would just cut from one scene to the next, The Young Ones choose to have Lemmy and his crew deliver a raw version of “Ace of Spades.” The general attitude seemed to be, you don’t like this? Well, then F— you!


5. Red and Kitty Meet Kiss on That ’70s Show

Carsey-Werner Productions

Carsey-Werner Productions

Long before they were banished to playing arena football games, Kiss was the hottest ticket in rock. The gang from That ’70s Show got to live out every ’70s teen’s dream when they were set loose backstage at a Kiss concert, taking full advantage of groupies, ganja and hard rock.


4. Ronnie James Dio in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (NSFW, people!)

What does a young boy do when he was born to rock, and the world won’t let him? What tight compadre does he pray to for guidance and some sweet licks? If you’re a young Jables, half of “the world’s most awesome band,” you bow your head to Ronnie James Dio, aka the guy who freaking taught the world how to do the “Metal Horns.” Never before has a rock god been so literal than in this clip that turns it up to eleven.


3. Ozzy Osbourne in Trick or Treat

It’s hard to tell if Ozzy was trying his hardest here, or just didn’t give a flying f–k. What is clear is that, either way, it doesn’t really matter. Ozzy’s approach to acting seems to lean more heavily on Jack Daniels than sense memory, and yet seeing the slurry English rocker play a sex-obsessed televangelist is so ridiculous, he gets a free pass. Taking part in the cult horror Trick or Treat, Ozzy proves that he makes things better just by showing up. Because that’s exactly what he did here. Showed up. And it rocks.


2. Glenn Danzig on Portlandia

Danzig seems to be coming out of a self imposed exile these days. He just signed with a record company, and his appearance on Portlandia is reminding everyone how kick ass he truly is. Who else but “The Other Man in Black” could help Portland’s resident goths figure out what to wear to the beach? Carrie Brownstein called Danzig “amazing,” and he called Fred “a genius,” so this was a rare love fest for the progenitor of horror punk.


1. Alice Cooper in Wayne’s World

It’s surprising, sure, but for a scene that contains no music whatsoever, it’s probably the most famous metal moment in the history of film. When Alice Cooper informed Wayne and Garth that Milwaukee is actually pronounced “Milly-way-kay” back in 1992, he created one of the most famous scenes in comedy history. What’s more metal than that? Much like Wayne and Garth, we truly are not worthy.

Seth Rogen on Jonah Hill’s Oscar nomination: “He’s f–king psyched about it”

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When Jonah Hill first was announced as a cast member in Brad Pitt‘s “Moneyball,” it seemed like a strange fit for an actor best known for his comedic roles in films like “Superbad” and “Accepted.” But once the film came out, it was clear that Hill had given his best performance to date. He’s since earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination for the role, and in our opinion definitely deserves it.

Hill’s good friend and frequent costar Seth Rogen agrees. IFC got a chance to participate in a chat with the upcoming Spirit Awards host and asked him for his thoughts about Hill’s nomination. Rogen said he was more surprised that the Oscars recognized Hill’s great performance than he was that he was nominated.

“All my friends are talented enough to get nominated for awards,” Rogen told IFC. “I just am always surprised when things and people I like are also liked by, you know, things like the Oscars.”

The Oscar nominations were announced at the end of January, and Rogen said he has had a chance to talk to Hill since he found out he was up for an Academy Award. Unsurprisingly, Rogen said Hill is “fucking psyched about it.”

But it wasn’t that moment that made Rogen realize that he and his comedian friends actually had earned the attention of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members. Instead, it was in 2004 when “Million Dollar Baby” took home four Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. Rogen recounted to IFC how he and his best bud Jay Baruchel, who was in the movie, were watching the Oscars together that year, and Baruchel got a shout-out from director Clint Eastwood.

“I literally remember we were like stoned off our asses watching the Oscars in my tiny shithole apartment and Clint Eastwood won and thanked Jay, who was sitting right next to me in his underwear on my couch,” Rogen remembered. “That was the first moment that I realized, ‘Oh, me and my friends, the people who do these Oscars are actually kind of aware of these guys I’m friends with and it could kind of break through in some way.'”

Even though Rogen repeatedly separated his tastes from those of the Oscar voters (“It’s always kind of surprising to me when [their preferences align],” he said), he was also quick to add that he actually is an Oscar voter and thus is “one of these people.” It seems fair to assume that Rogen voted for Hill’s performance to be nominated, even though his role in “Moneyball” has earned “21 Jump Street” star a new ultra-famous friend.

“It is a little weird to me that he is now friends with Brad Pitt,” Rogen admitted. “But he’s a friendly dude. He can be friends with Brad Pitt.”

Speaking of the Oscars, the one film that (at least in our opinion) was unfairly snubbed was “50/50,” a movie that Rogen both starred in and produced. Rogen said that it didn’t feel like a snub to him because he never honestly expected that “50/50″ would get nominated.

“I feel like overall there’s very few moments when the Oscars tastes intersects directly with my tastes, so I don’t consider it a snub, to be honest. That implies that I assumed it was going to happen,” he said, then joked, “Maybe the sequel will get nominated.”


Watch Seth Rogen host the 2012 Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 25 at 10/9c on IFC. And while you’re watching, don’t forget to log into IFC.com chat with our movie experts LIVE via IFC Sync, presented by Capital One.


Were you surprised when Hill was nominated for an Academy Award? Are you disappointed “50/50″ didn’t get any Oscar nods? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Seth Rogen offers “The Apocalypse” update: “It’s looking good”

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Fans who have been following the progress of Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel’s short “Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse” making its way to the big screen over the past five years got treated with great news earlier this month. Apparently Sony is in negotiations to finance and distribute the upcoming horror comedy with a speculative 2013 release date, though no exact date has been set. The feature-length film has been in pre-production since Mandate came on board to produce it in 2008, and now is finally getting the forward momentum it needs to begin filming within the year.

IFC caught up with Rogen at his Hilarity for Charity event, which raised money for the Alzheimer’s Association, and asked for a status update on “The Apocalypse.” Ultimately he didn’t have too much to add to The Hollywood Reporter‘s recent news story.

“We’re kind of in like the final stages of putting everything together and I don’t want to jinx it but it’s looking good,” he said about the film’s progress.

The short — which can be viewed here –- starred just Baruchel and Rogen, but “The Apocalypse” has expanded the cast a bit. James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson have been reported to be playing versions of themselves in the flick, and Rogen clarified that they won’t just be in it for quick cameos.

“They’re like the main characters in the movie,” he said. “I’m really excited to work with those guys honestly. I don’t get to see them that often and I think when we’re working together is kind of when you see them the most. On top of making a good movie, I hope I just get to hang out with them also.”

“The Apocalypse” will be Rogen’s directorial debut. If the deal with Sony comes together, it is set to go into production in the spring.

Are you looking forward to seeing “The Apocalypse”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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