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Tyrannosaur (2011) – When Joseph (Peter Mullen) walks out of a bar in the first scene of this grim as rust British drama, he’s in a state of uncontrollable rage.  We aren’t privy to what’s set him off but in his rancor he kicks his pooch so hard he kills it.  Most people will probably walk away from the movie at that point.  Who’d want to watch a movie about a bastard who kills his helpless dog?  Those who manage to stay will find a rewarding and uncompromising drama about alcoholism, anguish and desperation.  Tyrannosaur doesn’t believe in easy redemption or tacky uplift.  All of its characters, especially the men, seem Hell bent on destruction of the self or those around them.  When Joseph haphazardly befriends a good natured catholic worker her life turns out to be just twisted and sick as his, if not more so.  Married to a guilt ridden, sexually abusive shit who can’t control his vile impulses, Tyrannosaur just keeps going further down the emotional abyss.  These two people clearly need something, possibly each other, but they’re so damaged one is left to wonder if any kind of salvation lies at story’s end.  I won’t spoil that part but if this summers tide of emotionally tepid dreck has left you feeling void, this should be a admirable but bleak change of pace.

Goon (2012) – The protagonist of Tyrannosaur lashes out in violent fits and is immediately horrified at his contemptible actions.  Goon goes the opposite direction.  Its protagonist proudly knocks peoples teeth out while crowds cheer and celebrate at the subsequent blood splatter that flies across the ice.  Goon is a hockey movie, strike one, starring the forever untalented Sean William Scott as a witless bouncer, strike two, who becomes an hockey enforcer, AKA a goon, who excels at knocking the crap out of people on the ice, strike three.  Maybe my sports metaphors are all wrong but it would be difficult to imagine a movie so fundamentally rooted in things I don’t want to watch.  And FYI, I don’t hate hockey because it’s barbaric, I hate hockey because it chooses to be barbaric and Goon is a movie which gleefully embraces and loves the near criminal side of this celebrated Canadian past time.

The real corker is that Goon is not a poorly made movie.  It actually displays effort and skill behind the lens, understands themes and how to express them, sometimes deftly, and tries in its own weird way to be offbeat and charming.  It’s efforts though are wasted on unappealing subject matter and characters whom I’ll never want to dwell on after writing this.  Liev Schrieber is really the only presence who warrants much attention.  His aging hockey enforcer, grinding his way through his final moments in the sport, has so much more potential as a leading character we keep hoping the movie would be about him.  Alas he appears in what amounts to a protracted cameo.

Goon is a strange movie in that it champions and encourages the worst parts of a professional sport.  It’s completely oblivious to itself in this way.  Maybe next time the makers of this movie can delve into the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal and find the winning, uplift at the heart of that tale.  Or maybe show the world how misunderstood and unrightly maligned HGH users are.  ABC Family presents The Barry Bonds Story.


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