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Ellis heads to an equally gorgeous New England prep school his own absent straitlaced rich father Frank (Ty Burrell) once attended. In fact, his dad had roomed there with the current headmaster, and so the bar is set high for Ellis. He smokes his courses (cut off from his cannabis connection), meets up with other potheads at the school, runs cross-country after some coercion from the hip track coach, declines a liaison with local dining-hall staffer Minnie (Dakota Johnson), who spends her time reading and making extra money off the student bodies. Ellis initially runs afoul of his father Frank during a terse, tense Thanksgiving, but later the pair find their peace and bond.
Ellis has to decide where to spend summer break, back in Arizona or with his dad, his step mother, and infant half brother.
Well, the critics pretty much gleefully savaged this Sundance film, citing its meandering plot, lack of action, and hybridized comedy-drama tone and comparing the actors and the plot to goats. Cynics are always ready with barbs, but I have to say, this is a fun movie when you don't want 3D special effects, overbearing soundtracks, mutilation and mayhem, and twisted plot lines. In other words, "Goats" affords one the chance to just kick back, watch a story without any secret message or theme.Read more ›
I watched it again on PPV a few weeks ago and it was as good as I remembered.
Funny and not too boisterous or obvious, this film snuck up on me and the 1500 other people at Sundance, and turned out to be a real charmer. Duchovny is kind of genius as Goat Man, both weird and believable. I liked Justin Kirk a lot, too, and Ty Burrell's nervous restraint is fun to watch.
This movie is really about 15 year old Ellis (Graham Phillips) who is surrounded by a most colorful family. He is ready to go his own way from Tucson to Gates Prep School on the East Coast, the same school his father, Frank (Ty Burrell), went to before him and the area where he has been living now.
His mother, whom he calls Wendy by name, (Vera Farmiga, who shines in this) is a mix of the spiritual and New Age philosophies floating around in her own self-absorbed reality bubble. If you can rope in Wendy's personality in a couple of sentences you are far better spoken than I.
Goat Man (David Duchovny) or Javier, take your pick, is a 'botanist' and an experienced goat-trekker, who is hired by Wendy to keep up the place along with her. Residing in the pool house, he tends to his ever growing garden and ... goats. These two have raised Ellis in an offbeat style, along with a huge amount love. Once you do get to know them they quickly become very genuine.
Quite simply, Ellis leaves for school and is greeted with an alternate way of life that he easily learns to excel in. While there, he meets up with his father for the first time in years of absence. Frank has been avoiding his ex-wife Wendy.
Frank is re-married to Judy (Keri Russell) now, with a baby brother on the way. Their lifestyle is easily recognizable as affluent.Read more ›
However I did turn it back on the next night and found that it managed to rise above the stereotypes it created in the beginning. Not only were the New Agers ripped apart but the East Coast "strait" guy who went to Prep School was intially dismissed as an uptight jerk. The only sympathetic character was "Goat Man" the resident hippie, who somehow escaped being lumped in with the New Agers and, due to his massive consumption of home grown pot, was Mister Mellow. Having spent considerable time in that area of the world with spiritual seekers and pot growers I think that there are some serious misconceptions about all of them.
However, moving on....I did like the lead character, Ellis Whitman, played by a wonderful young actor, Graham Phillips, enough to tune back in to see what happened to him after he left Arizona and went back east to attend the same Prep School that his hated dad had attended. This is not very well explained since it's obvious that Ellis isn't at all fond of the man who apparently deserted him early on. He has grown up with his mother, Wendy, (played beautifully by the wonderfully charming Vera Farmiga,)a ditzy, childish, self-centered but very rich woman and her landscaper/pool cleaner guy, Javier, aka Goat Man. Goat Man is the surrogate father figure and has given Ellis a great deal of love as well as dope.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quirky and funny, with lovely characters that are not as easy to figure out as you first think.Published 1 month ago by Saffy
I bought it to see Dakota Johnson, who I love, but enjoyed this quirky and interesting story. Well acted by all.Published 2 months ago by Denae
Story goes nowhere, name is appropriate since by the conclusion of the film you will have felt as if your mind wa eaten by goats for the last 90 minutes. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mark Hasselblad
I loved this zany film. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but if you were raised in the 1960's and had any contact to speak of with what is known as "counterculture",... Read morePublished 4 months ago by harborsparrow
Really a funny, and entertaining movie. Blurayis high quality!Published 4 months ago by Rob Taulbee