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"Goon" to be released in US theaters Friday

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Liev Schreiber and Seann William Scott in "Goon" (photo use courtesy of Chris White, Magnolia Pictures)
Liev Schreiber and Seann William Scott in "Goon" (photo use courtesy of Chris White, Magnolia Pictures)

Hockey movies, particularly comedies, particularly good ones, are a rare breed. There's Slap Shot and The Mighty Ducks, neither of which ever, ever spawned any sequels (don't try to tell me otherwise; my fingers are in my ears and LA LA LA LA LA I am not listening to you). Aside from those, we get stuff like The Love Guru which is less a hockey movie than it is 87 minutes of Mike Myers imploding in front of a background of Eastern culture, self-help enlightenment scams and the Toronto Maple Leafs (don't worry about watching it to see how that all ties together; it really isn't worth the effort).

So it's worth noting that Goon, a hockey comedy starring Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill and Liev Schreiber that's been floating around since this past winter will be getting a "limited theatrical release" here in the US starting tomorrow.

It's not known if it will be screened in the Tampa Bay area (typically, "limited" means cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago etc.) but it has already popped up on video on-demand platforms and is available for purchase on DVD and Blu-ray, too.

Hockey purists are liable to sigh deeply and roll their eyes to learn that it's a story about an enforcer and it's central theme is fighting (it is titled "Goon", after all) but it has gotten generally good reviews in the mainstream press. Such as this one from Roger Ebert which is probably a pretty accurate refelection of how non-hockey-centric audiences will receive this film. It's based on the book Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey by Adam Frattasio and Doug Smith. Liev Schreiber says he drew inspiration for his character in the film from legendary Blackhawks and Red Wings enforcer Bob Probert.

It's not a big-budget, major studio release with all the financial and public relations backing that goes along with that so it's probably not going to break box office records. But Slap Shot was a commercial flop when it was released in 1977. That film went on to be embraced by the hockey community (try to find one player who can't quote at least one scene from it) and continues to enjoy a consistent level of cult popularity over 30 years later.

Roxanne Wilder of WeBeSports.com and DisasterDateNight.com and a contributor with WTSP, Tampa Bay's CBS television affiliate, agreed to share interviews she did with the cast of the film.