Blu Tuesday: Evil Children, Fistfights and More

After celebrating Memorial Day weekend partying with your friends and family, eating good food, and drinking way more than you planned, there’s nothing better than relaxing in the cool confines of your home while watching a movie. Thankfully, there are a few new Blu-rays out today to help pass the time, including a personal favorite from last year and one of the more enjoyable sports comedies in recent memory.

“We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Every once in a while, a movie comes along that knocks you completely on your ass, and Lynne Ramsey’s psychological thriller “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is such a film. A thoroughly engaging and disturbing look at the strained relationship between a mother and her sociopathic child, Ramsey has crafted a modern day “Rosemary’s Baby” of sorts that lingers in the back of your mind long after it’s over. Tilda Swinton delivers a powerhouse performance as a mother trying to adapt to life after her son commits a Columbine-esque massacre at his school, although most of the story takes place before the tragic event, with Ramsey exploring the idea of nature vs. nurture and how much Swinton’s parenting tactics are to blame for the subsequent actions of her malevolent son. Though the constant use of red imagery throughout the film feels a little forced at times, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is so brilliant from top to bottom (especially the acting, score and cinematography) that it’s absolutely mesmerizing.

Blu-ray Highlight: “Behind the Scenes of Kevin” isn’t your typical making-of featurette, but rather an intelligent discussion about the movie with interviews from the cast and crew on a number of topics like adapting Lionel Shriver’s controversial novel for the big screen, casting, production design and the film’s various themes.

“Goon”

With the exception of Disney’s “The Mighty Ducks” series, the hugely overrated “Slap Shot” and a handful of other films, hockey has been inadequately represented by Hollywood compared to most sports, which is probably why “Goon” is such a welcome treat. Though the Michael Dowse-directed comedy is a fairly average underdog story in most respects, it’s still one of the best sports films in recent years. Seann William Scott has never had a better role than that of bouncer turned hockey enforcer Doug Glatt, and his understated performance is a big reason why the movie works as well as it does. In fact, most of the cast is excellent throughout, including Liev Schreiber as a fellow enforcer nearing retirement, the divine Alison Pill as Doug’s awkward but sweet love interest, and Kim Coates as the no-nonsense coach who recruits Doug for his special talents. Speaking of which, the fight scenes are awesome, delivering plenty of blood and laughs with every blow. And if you didn’t know much about hockey goons before, you’ll have a newfound respect for them by the time it’s over.

Blu-ray Highlight: Magnolia’s two-disc release of “Goon” comes jam-packed with extras, some of which are actually quite good. Though the audio commentary with director Michael Dowse and actor/co-writer Jay Baruchel is definitely worth checking out, there’s a pretty lengthy interview with Baruchel and star Seann William Scott that covers a lot of the same material about making the film in a third of the time.

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A chat with Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel and director Michael Dowse of “Goon”

Aptly enough for a sports comedy, our interviewees today are a ragtag collection of lovable underdogs. Unavoidably geeky, Jay Baruchel’s starring roles in “She’s Out of My League,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” and “How to Train Your Dragon” have left him short of the A-list; he’s still perhaps best known as the lead alum of Judd Apatow’s beloved, quickly cancelled 2001 sitcom, “Undeclared.” Leading man Seann William Scott has worked in numerous films in a pretty wide variety of genres, yet to almost everyone he’s still obnoxious Steve Stifler of the “American Pie” series; he’ll be reprising the character for a fourth go-round in the upcoming “American Reunion.” Director Michael Dowse has some indie successes on his CV, but his last attempt to break into the mainstream, “Take Me Home Tonight,” was an unmitigated commercial disaster and, for the most part, a critical flop. (We, however, liked it a lot; so much for the Bullz-Eye bump.)

Already available on VOD, “Goon” is one underdog movie we’re definitely rooting for. Loosely inspired by minor league hockey star Doug Smith’s memoir and co-written by Canadian hockey fan Baruchel and veteran Apatow-scribe Evan Goldberg, the film focuses on Doug Glatt (Scott), a goodhearted bouncer of no great intellect who finds himself promoted to full-time hockey thug.

Featuring an outstanding supporting cast comprised of Baruchel, Liev Schreiber, Eugene Levy, Kim Coates (“Sons of Anarchy“) and Alison Pill as the dysfunctional love of Doug Glatt’s life, “Goon” doesn’t gloss over the ugliness of sports violence even as it humorously celebrates it. For that, it took some punches from the traditionally violence-averse British press on its earlier UK release. The Yankee press, however, has been kinder, and there may be some hope of a wide release if enough of you hit the initial U.S. screenings starting this Friday.

Low-key Minnesota native Seann William Scott, intense Montrealite Jay Baruchel, and matter-of-fact Canadian filmmaker Michael Dowse were still high on the afterglow of a successful industry screening the night before when a bunch of us journos met with the trio at the Beverly Hilton. Some amusing and informative highlights are below.

Jay Baruchel on creating Doug Glatt, the not-so-bright but incredibly decent hero of “Goon.”

My dad used to have this expression, which was “Don’t complicate a ham sandwich.” In my experience, a lot of the hardest guys I know are also the kindest and most mild-mannered and gentlest. This in no way means that [their kindness] should be mistaken for weakness. He’s a man who knows what he wants, or finds out what he wants and where he’s supposed to be. He’s fulfilled.

Seann William Scott on playing Doug Glatt.

He’s written to be such a lovable guy and so good to his core. It was written with that specificity and I consider myself to be a good guy, so it’s not hard for me to play that… I was always aware of wanting to make sure there were different colors. Anything that I could bring, but it was already written with that kind of code of honor that he has. He’s self aware of the kind of guy he is and where he is in the world, but it is kind of black and white.

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