- Product Rating -

Art House Asshole : Goat

| September 30, 2016

You know how when you’re wanting to go to the movie theater and you look up all the films that are showing and there are alway at least three that you’ve never heard of, let alone have any interest in seeing? Well, good news! I’ve seen those movies. I spend most of my theater experiences in art house theaters watching those movies that you’ve never heard of and then never watch. Yeah, I’m that hipster asshole. My goal with this is to spread information out about these films, that way you can decide one of the following. “That actually sounds pretty cool! I want to see that now!” or “Man, I’m glad I decided to go see the new superhero movie!”. So without further ado, here is my article and review of Goat.

Between this film and White Girl, it has been made clear to me that being a young college age person is where you are probably going to die. Which isn’t a pleasant thought for me as I am a young college age person. So if I die in the next four years or whatever, know it’s not because of whatever the police are saying. It’s because I’m a young college age guy.

I should start this review by stating my opinion on the subject matter. If you are unaware, Goat is a psychological drama about fraternities. Before I say anything else about this film, know that I am very anti-greek life. I think that the greek system should be abolished and that it does close to no good for everyone involved. That being said, I didn’t feel like this film was as extremely anti-greek life like I thought it would. The film at the end of the day wasn’t against greek life, but the people that are drawn to greek life.

Goat, directed by Andrew Neel of King Kelly fame, follows a young college age guy who decides to join his brother’s fraternity after a traumatic experience. I would say more, but I don’t think there is much else to say. From that one line, you can probably guess exactly where this film is going. Hell Week happens and just like you would imagine, things don’t go well. Then things happen because of Hell Week, something that also shouldn’t be a surprise. None of this should be surprising because this film follows the exact structure as every other frat-house drama ever made.

The film is written by David Gordon Green. David Gordon Green I think writes some fantastic indie films. If you haven’t yet already, go watch George Washington and Prince Avalanche. Both of those films are written by David Gordon Green and are some of the best indie filmmaking I’ve seen, and not in the weird pretentious way either. David Gordon Green also made Pineapple Express and Your Highness but we are going to conveniently forget those films for the time being. This is why I am somewhat surprised at how bland this film is written. Like I said earlier, if you have ever seen any drama about frat-life then you’ve seen all of the beats of this film. Specifically, I point to 2014’s The Riot Club. The Riot Club is a god-awful film based on a fantastic play. I will say right now that I liked this film a lot more than I liked The Riot Club. But halfway through this film I actually looked up to see if this film was based on the same play because you could argue that this film is straight up plagiarism. This film hits the exact same beats at the exact same moments. The original part of this film is the traumatic event at the beginning of the film, but that really doesn’t play into the large frat story as much as you think it would. I was expecting, and hoping, that something would come from that part to make this film unique but nothing really ever happened.

The rest of the film is equally as bland. The film doesn’t break any real ground. There is no real component of this film that I can say is great. Everything in this film is done so averagely that I feel like I will forget this film ever happened by this time next week. The acting is better than I was expecting, especially from Nick Jonas. But no one has a real stand out performance. The lead, who I would also like to point out was in The Riot Club (I know this is coming out of nowhere but I just looked him up and I think it’s hilariously ironic that he was in both films), was also good. James Franco was touted as the second billed person but he has two minutes of screen time literally. I honestly don’t know why he is in the film besides one point the film is making that has no purpose to the greater story. The cinematography is bland. The direction is bland. It feels like everyone one set knows what they’re doing, but no one really cares.

Going back to one of my earlier points, the film isn’t anti-frat. I feel like the filmmaker thinks that frat houses can be really good. Which I agree with. On paper, fraternities can be a great way to make connections, live with your friends, do good, and do all of these great things that can help your future. The problem is that lifestyle attracts Frat Bros. And that is what I think the director is saying. The film hints, not very subtly, that the hazing and Hell Week that the main character is going through mirrors his traumatic experience at the beginning of the film. You see the brutality the pledges have to go through. Now that I’m thinking about it, there was one thought provoking scene between the leader of the frat and Nick Jonas’s character where the discussion is based on “are we going too far?”. That scene is very brief and goes by quickly. I might be looking too far into it but I do think this is the best scene in the film. How I put the scene together was that it was showing why the frat gets progressively more aggressive every year. Linking Hell Week as a revenge that everyone goes through but everyone then wants closure on as well. I might be looking too close to the film but that is what I was seeing.

Goat does to masculinity what King Kelly did to femininity. I haven’t seen King Kelly in a couple years, but I think that the two would make an interesting double feature. I don’t think I recommend this film. I think that if you accidentally watch it then you won’t be mad, but I can’t see anyone truly loving this film. I think there are better Frat House Dramas, but there are a lot worse you could do as well.

About the Author:

Henry Jarvis is the youngest member of the Reel Nerds. His favorite films include Space Jam and Dude, Where’s My Car? and Lawrence of Arabia. He enjoys those pretentious art house films that Ryan hates. He sees a lot of movies! Honestly more than he should. He replaces his lack of social skills and meaningful friendships with his love of cinema! He’s also crying while he writes this biography for himself. His favorite directors are Andrei Tarkovsky, David Fincher, and David Lean.
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