The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
Here's how much I know about hockey. Mike Royko and I were in a tiny bar one winter night, and the radio kept reporting goals by the Blackhawks. I mentioned how frequently the team was scoring. "You're listening to the highlights," Royko observed.
If that's how much you know about hockey, you're nevertheless likely to enjoy "Goon," which stars Seann William Scott as an enforcer for a minor league team in Massachusetts. An enforcer, I know by this time, is a brute who is put on the ice not to play hockey but to beat up opponents who are playing it too well. The charm of "Goon" is that Doug Glatt (Scott) is a genial guy from a nice family. Just because he hands out concussions doesn't mean he dislikes anybody. He's just happy to be wearing a uniform.
Having recently disliked a movie named "The Raid: Redemption" that was wall-to-wall violence, I now feel fondness for another movie that's also mostly mayhem. It's not violence itself I object to, but the absence of engaging characters and human interest. The best thing about "Goon" is not the hockey action, or who wins and who loses. It's Doug's rags-to-riches story.
One night, he goes to a game with a friend named Pat (Jay Baruchel), who's one of those fans with a gift for getting under the skins of the players he heckles. One player grows so inflamed that he climbs into the stands. Pat is pitifully unable to defend himself, so Doug stands up and cold-cocks the guy, actually splitting open his helmet. That draws the attention of talent scouts, and soon Doug is playing professional hockey. To be sure, he can't ice skate, but skating can be learned. Not everyone is a born enforcer.