Another film that could appear to rank too low on this list. But Goon, similar to Slap Shot, isn’t standing the test of time very well.
An amusing story about a dim-minded Doug Glatt (Sean William Scott) who can’t skate but can protect and fight the skilled players by intimidation, this independent Canadian film wants to sell the idea of the self-aware goon who vehemently avenges his teammates since the game is certainly violent. It succeeds as entertaining and fun, as Doug is perhaps the nicest hockey player ever on film. However, its celebration of fighting and lack of attention toward the outcome of fighting just don’t add up.
It’s hard to fill out a roster of great hockey films, and Miracle just makes the cut. There are way better films, like Inside Out, that is hockey themed. There are way better films that few have seen, like Swift Current, which documents Sheldon Kennedy’s experience of sexual abuse in junior hockey. And even though Miracle has its charms, it exemplifies what’s stale about hockey films.
Miracle is guilty of the most hockey film clichés on this list. A group of underdog players beats the invincible team in improbable fashion. The players are bag-skated until they learn an important lesson. The coach dismisses the odds and relies on trust and instincts. The name on the front of the sweater is more vital than the one on the back. A dressing-room speech encourages victory.
The Sweater: This National Film Board short is a time capsule of 50s French Canada, and in that context, it’s a staple in the hockey world.
Inside Out: The Pixar-animated film touches a little on the main character’s relationship with hockey, but it becomes a crucial element to a beautiful story. If you want a good cry, cry heavily on this film.