10th April 2014
15-year-old Ellis lives in a luxurious home in the foothills of Tucson with his neurotic "new age" mother Wendy, a healthy trust fund and Goat Man - the local loafer and goat-herder who tends the family pool, prunes the garden and, in return, is allowed to live with them rent free. Oh, and he also grows a huge amount of marijuana on the side. That, and the fact he's the only real father Ellis has ever known.
There is nothing Goat Man and Ellis like more than to take extended hikes with their goats, Freda and Lance, and smoke their home grown dope on his many "vision quests" into the desert. So when Ellis makes the decision to leave Tucson and head to prestigious Gates Academy prep-school on the East Coast there are a lot of changes for everyone to adjust to.
Ellis is academically gifted and he excels at Gates Academy. However, Gates Academy was also the same prep-school attended by his obnoxious father (known as "F*cker Frank" around the household) and he's well aware that his father will soon be wanting to pay him a visit. But with Ellis discovering a whole new world of new friends and love interests, he soon realises that adulthood isn't going to be as straightforward as he hoped.
Whilst there's plenty of music to be heard in the 448 Kbps 5.1 soundtrack, there's actually very little here to get overly excited about. Dialogue wise, it does occasionally have to fight to be heard over the musical score - as does Ellis' monologue which usually accompanies the same music. Never the less, it does manage to provide some directional effects and the dialogue remains firmly rooted to the centre and front channels.
Picture wise, other than the splendid desert vistas which look excellent on a large widescreen television (I'm sure a Blu-ray edition would be even better), the rest of the images are nothing special. Whilst the dark and gloomier scenes are handled with ease - with no problems with either artifacting or black levels, again, there's nothing really there to challenge the encoding process.
Colour and contrast wise, it's nothing special and there's very little depth to the images, with most scenes looking washed out (although the desert scenes to help perk things up somewhat). Unfortunately, I suspect that a relatively small budget ensured that the sound and picture department was well down the production considerations.
The menu is pleasantly animated and scored with cut scenes from the film showing in a small cut-out, whilst an animated goat will wander across the screen dragging the next menu into view. Unfortunately, there's nothing else to talk about here and, unless you're Dutch, the Dutch subtitles aren't go to be of much use to a hard of hearing English person.
The value of the disc gets even worse when you realise that the American region one edition contains a number of Features and Deleted scenes. And there's me thinking that the days of needing to buy a multi-region DVD player were a distant memory. Things get even worse when you discover that the disc is full price and, without those extras, it looks rather poor value indeed.
Based on the novel by Mark Jude Poirier and from first-time director Christopher Neil, Goats is your usual coming-of-age drama with more than your usual set of weird parents. It even tries to throw in a little bit of comedy too - although, as the film progresses, that appears to get forgotten. Also, if fans of David Duchovny are expecting an occasional UFO or something akin to his character in Californication then you're going to be sadly disappointed. Even lovers of goats aren't going to be particularly happy either.
A bit like David Duchovny's beard, Goats is a bit of weird one. I really couldn't place what it was trying to achieve - well, other than getting me rather annoying with Ellis' neurotic mother and equally pointless teenage girl next door neighbour. It's all a bit messy and unsure what story it's trying to tell.
As such, the all important question should be whether to consider a viewing. To be honest, I'm not sure whether I can find one, but if you like something a little quirky then you might be tempted to take a peek - even if it's just to see David Duchovny's obviously fake beard.