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Movie Review: 'Goat' Tackles Touchy Subject of Frat Hazing

by Todd A. Smith


Ben Schnetzer and Nick Jonas (L-R) star in “Goat” (Photo Credit: The Film Arcade).



Brave Territory 



The subject of fraternity hazing is a touchy subject especially for members of fraternities.

Spike Lee lightly touched on frat hazing in “School Daze.”

And the “Neighbors” franchise focused on the lighter side of fraternity and sorority life.

However, “Goat” goes where no man has gone before to quote “Star Trek.”

The film starring pop star Nick Jonas as a protective older brother to his pledging little brother attacks how dangerous hazing can be head on with no apologies.

Brad (Jonas) is the cool and popular brother and Brett (Ben Schnetzer) is the socially awkward and nerdy brother.

Brad is Michael Jackson and Brett is Tito.

Big brother desperately wants little brother to share in his popularity, even inviting him to college summer parties when he is still in high school.

However, knowing that he does not fit in with the cocaine and other vices, Brett leaves the party early to head home.

Unfortunately, he gives a ride to two strangers that he meets outside of the party.

The duo eventually assaults Brett, steals his ATM card and code, and makes off with his car.

The incident has Brett contemplating passing on college, but he eventually decides to join Brad at Brookman University and join his fraternity, Phi Sigma Mu.

As it seems in many fraternities, the pledge process gets crazier and crazier each year.

From being threatening with sex with a goat to physical abuse, the pledges of Phi Sig go through literal hell during hell week with no guarantees of acceptance.

For some people like his roommate, getting into the fraternity with Brett would change his life forever at Brookman.

His popularity is because of the frat.

Furthermore, his success with the coeds is because of the frat.

The same can be said about Brett even though Brad pleads with him to realize that frat life is not for him.

Brad has already experienced the frat life and knows that it is not as important to life as people on the outside looking in think it is.

And he is becoming increasingly frustrated with the behavior of his chapter brothers.

The question is will his frustration lead to change or will it be ignored?

Although “Goat” starts off slow and appears to be just another frat boy film, it eventually develops into something much deeper and much needed.

Many filmmakers are scared to touch the reality of true hazing for fear of repercussions and ostracism, especially if they are in a fraternity.

However, screenwriters David Gordon Green and Brad Land deserve props for going there.

Additionally, Jonas is developing into an adequate actor, which seems to be the goal of many pop stars.

Unfortunately, “Goat” seems to meander along for too long before it gets down to the true nuts and bolts of the film.

The message of “Goat” definitely needs to be heard.

However, it takes director Andrew Neel too long to get that message across to moviegoers.

The message in “Goat” is atypical.


But all of the usual frat boy partying and pledging is too typical to earn as much screen time as it is given.






This article was published on Friday 23 September, 2016.
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