By Jared Young

Mailed on April 02, 2012

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StarStarStarStarHalf Star

Dear Jay Baruchel
Writer, Actor and Producer

Dear Jay,

You get it. Of course you get it. You grew up in Montreal, arguably the world's capital of hockey - certainly the nexus of hockey's most impassioned, self-immolating fans - and that's probably why, in bringing Goon to the big screen, you were able to avoid the instructional mode that most hockey movies waste their exposition on. Instead, the film embraces more nuanced aspects of the game: traffic in front of the net, line changes on the fly, resentment over ice time. And that attention to detail, that trust you have in the audience--it can be said of the characters, too.

You didn't completely abandon all those sports movie archetypes (we get the worn-out veteran, the eccentric goalie, the pair of obnoxious Russians, the young superstar who plays only for himself) but because they exist in a world where the physics of hockey make sense, their idiosyncrasies makes sense, too. Veterans do get worn out, goalies are eccentric (anyone who has seen Ilya Bryzgalov in the HBO series _24/7 _has observed this firsthand).

Rooted in this kind of realism - though it may only be apparent to someone who understands that game the way you and I do - the characters are free to breathe in scenes outside the rink. And this serves no one more than Seann William Scott, who is able, in this environment, to shed the tiresome jackassery of his Stiffler persona and create one of the most lovable sociopathic pugilists since Rocky. Stripped of his self-awareness, he's funniest, here, because he's not trying so, so, so hard to be funny.

Unlike most Canadian movies, it feels like a movie made for Canadians. Not an indulgent bit of cultural masturbation (we're chronic masturbators, aren't we?). Finally, a real movie about Canada that doesn't rely on its quaint Canadianness. A real movie. A real good movie.

With love,

Jared Young

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