Saturday, November 19, 2016

Character Analysis: Doug Glatt (Part I)

Character Analysis: Doug Glatt

By: Brian Cotnoir

Doug Glatt from "Goon"
I am a sports guy.  I may not have played (or have been very good at sports in my youth, but I always enjoyed watching them. I enjoy all kinds of sports, Football, Baseball, Auto Racing, Hockey, Basketball, it doesn’t matter to me, if it’s good and entertaining I’ll watch it...well, as long as my favorite teams are winning.  Plus, I grew up in the 90’s, which was like the Golden Age of the Sports movies for kids: “The Mighty Ducks”, “Rookie of the Year”, “The Little Giants”, and “Cool Runnings”, are just a few example of some of the great sports movies we got between the late 1980’s and 1990’s.  So I decided for this edition of Character Analysis I wanted to write one on a character from a Sports film, and the first character that popped into my mind comes from a newer (and lesser known) sports movie from 2011, “Goon”.  So if you haven’t seen “Goon” yet, I highly recommend you go and do it after you read this Analysis of the films protagonist, Doug “The Thug” Glatt.

CHARACTER: Doug Glatt from “Goon” (2011)

     Doug Glatt is a bouncer from the small fictional town of Orangetown, Massachusetts.  Doug feels ostracized for not being more like his family.  Unlike his father and older brother, Ira, who are successful doctors, Doug is clumsy, and bumbles when he talks, or tries to talk back to someone, and often viewed as an embarrassment and disappointment by his parents and the members of the Jewish Temple they attend.                                     
Doug with Orangetown Assassins
     One night, Doug attends a local minor league hockey game with his buddy, Pat.  After Pat taunts a player on the opposing team who was sent to the penalty box, the player goes into the stands to fight.  Doug tries to de-escalate the situation, but after the player calls him and Pat “faggots”. Doug takes serious offense to that word because his older brother Ira is gay and proceeds to violently pummel the player in the stands to the astonishment of the fans and other hockey players.  The next day while appearing on Pat’s Public Access TV Show, “Hot Ice”, Doug is invited by the coach of the Orangetown Assassins, who witnessed the fight in the stands, and invites Doug to come and try out for the team.  Doug is mocked by the other members of the Assassins for his poor ice skating and his inability to come up with insults, but then he decides to let his fists to the talking, and beats up multiple players on the team.  The coach of the Assassins sees that Doug is a sweet-natured—almost childlike—adult, but believes that with Doug on the team as their enforcer he can help lead the team to victory.    
     Doug’s coach in Orangetown tells him that his brother Ronnie, who is also hockey coach for a Minor League Team, wants to sign Doug to a contract with his team the Halifax Highlanders.  Coach Ronnie wants him to protect a star player, named Xavier LaFlamme, who was once a promising prospect, but after suffering a serious concussion in one of his first Pro Hockey Games, is to petrified to play effectively because of his fear of getting hit again.  Doug journey’s to Halifax to join the Highlanders, and is not only going to be Xavier LaFlamme’s protector on the ice, but also his roommate.                        
     The Highlanders are a “who’s who” of misfits and other failed hockey prospects.  Doug is the only person who is proud to be a member of the Highlanders, and is constantly seeking the approval of teammates and is always looking to them for guidance.  Doug makes an immediate impact on the team, by knocking out an opposing player with just one punch, which earns him the admiration of his new coach, his teammates (except LaFlamme), and a local girl, named Eva, who Doug has a crush on.          
     Doug’s family and Pat journey up to Halifax to see him play, and are mortified when they see him get into a fight on the ice, while the entire arena chants “Doug the Thug!”.  After the game, Doug’s parents try to get him to give up playing hockey, but he doesn’t want to because he finally feels like he’s good at something and a part of something important.  Doug’s parents continue to express their disappointment with him, and tell him that they basically view him as an embarrassment, and leave in disgust.  The only people in Doug’s lives who are supportive of his hockey fighting are his friend Pat, his older brother Ira, and Eva.


Actor Sean William Scott plays Doug Glatt in "Goon"
Doug Glatt is played by actor Sean William Scott, who most people remember as the guy who played Steve Stiffler in the “American Pie” film franchise.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed Sean William Scott in this role because you really get to see how good of an actor he really is.  Scott has appeared in other films that got much wider releases, but were absolutely despised by critics and audiences such as “Role Models”, “Dukes of Hazzard”, “Dude, Where’s My Car?”, “Mr. Woodcock”, and “Movie 43”. I feel by appearing in a lesser known film that only got a limited release, people can finally see the true acting talents of Sean William Scott, and not just assume he’s playing some doofy or moronic character who likes to smoke weed.


The character of Doug Glatt was inspired by a real life minor league hockey player named Doug Smith, who also was an enforcer.  The film itself is a loose adaptation of the book “Goon: The True Story of an Unlikely Journey into Minor League Hockey”.  There’s no doubt in my mind that Doug shares similarities with characters from other ice hockey movies such as the Hanson Brothers from the 1970’s cult classic Hockey film “Slap Shot”, and also Dean Portman from “D-2:The Mighty Ducks”, as they are also both enforcers on a hockey team.                              

   I would also say that Doug has a lot of similarities with Adam Sandler’s character Bobby Boucher from “The Waterboy” because both are sweet-natured simple men, who are fans of their sport and get recruited to join a losing sports team after the coaches witness them commit an extreme act of violence against an opposing player.  Both of their parents disapprove them playing their sport, and both have found a girlfriend who is first attracted to them because of their physicality of play.

Bobby Boucher from "The Waterboy"


Doug fights Ross Rhea
In the final game of the season and with the playoffs on the line, Doug and the Highlanders must face off against the St. Johns Shamrocks, and their brutal enforcer Ross “The Boss” Rhea.  Rhea promised to “lay [Doug] the f*ck out” if they ever met on the ice.  In one of the most brutal hockey fights ever seen, Doug knocks out Rhea—with a broken ankle no less—and then skates off to the locker room to have his ankle treated.  Doug’s showing of toughness and bravery inspires his roommate/teammate Xavier LaFlamme to play his heart out and goes on to score a hat trick that wins them the game.  While waiting in the locker room with his girlfriend Eva, Doug reflects on the fight he just had with Rhea uttering, “I think I nailed him”.

*”Goon 2: The Last of the Enforcers”, the sequel to this film is scheduled for release in 2017, I will post a follow up to this Character Analysis once it is released and I get a chance to see it*

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