That said, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Raging Bull seems to have served as a blueprint for this film. It’s all rather one-note here though: Terry gets pissed, both on alcohol and emotionally, has a temper tantrum, which is then followed by another hokey hockey scene, and so on. Maggs suggests his upbringing was the reason behind his mental state. That very well may be the case, but it doesn’t make the film any more insightful or original.
The few flourishes Goalie does have don’t help matters. Maggs uneasily blends mock-interviews with folks like athlete, referee, and broadcaster Red Storey (Sean McCann), who gripes about hockey having turned into a boxing match and waxes nostalgic about Terry. Such interludes distract from the already-thin narrative. Terry’s “poetic” narration is another unnecessary touch, out of sync with the rest of the film.
“…well-structured, handsomely shot, and features some impressive acting…there’s just not that much to make it stand out…”
The most awkward sequence, however, may be the one where young Terry discovers frozen puppies and then gets reprimanded by his father. “Thank God there are dogs in heaven,” Terry says. “If heaven doesn’t have pups running around, I don’t want to go there,” his brother agrees. Amen.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing terribly wrong with Goalie. It’s well-structured, handsomely shot, and features some impressive acting. The thing is there’s just not that much to make it stand out from the crowd either. For a hockey film, Goalie doesn’t quite land enough punches. If you want to see those, I suggest Michael Dowse’s much less self-serious Goon instead.
"…the NHL legend played for 21 seasons, winning over 500 games and receiving 400 stitches to the face."