Geeking Out | Goats: The Book and Movie
Each department at Bookmans comes with an employee that thoroughly loves their job and the product they specialize in. Some prefer video games, but couldn’t tell you who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. Others could tell you the names of every musician in almost every band, but won’t know Pyrex from Family Dollar. We each have our things and that’s what makes Bookmans so special. We all get to geek out about the things we love. Being a total book nerd myself, I have to shamefully announce I watched the movie Goats starring David Duchovny and fell instantly in love. It’s not often I’ll watch a movie over and over again, but there’s something about this gem of a film that keeps me coming back for more. To make matters worse, I found out the movie originated as a book and I felt even more shame for not knowing. Now, I have a new favorite movie and book combo, where I appreciate each one for entirely different reasons.
The premise follows the lives of a dysfunctional family living in the deserts of Tucson, Arizona! I love the desert, which is probably why I love the setting and the story so much. A single New Age fanatic mother, Judy, raises her son Ellis with the help of Goat Man, my personal favorite character. Goat Man is the hippie groundskeeper who grows weed in the shed by the pool, raises goats to trek drugs from Mexico into Arizona and gets Ellis stoned for the first time when he is 12. When Ellis leaves for college prep on the east coast, he attends the same school his birth father attended, whom he hasn’t spoken to in years. What follows is a roller coaster of events. From binge drinking gin and throwing up in the dorms to establishing romantic relationships for the first time, this is quite possibly the best coming of age story I’ve ever read.
Most times when you read the book and watch the movie, the movie very rarely holds up, but that’s not the case with this combo. This light-hearted film was produced by Christopher Neil, starring a very bearded and very attractive David Duchovny as our protagonist, Goat Man. It’s a laugh-out-loud, feel good kind of film that’s great for sick days, rainy days or having your friends over for a night in. Graham Phillips plays the charming role of Ellis Whitman. He’s both innocently naïve and rebellious and as we watch his character develop, it’s hard not to fall more and more in love with him. And then there is his mother, Judy. Judy, played by Keri Russel, is a distant parent who’s emotional and relies on Ellis to pay the bills and take care of the house while she gallivants around on new age adventures to cleanse the body and soul, when all she really needs is to lay low on the pill popping. Judy loathes her ex-husband Frank and when Ellis goes off to attend school at Gates, she becomes jealous and bitter. The film explores a family dynamic that’s very real and relatable and we simply can’t get enough.
Then there’s the book written by Mark Jude Poirier. Don’t worry we hadn’t heard of him before either. The book delves into the characters more in depth and thoroughly. Did we mention it’s beautifully written? We might be a little biased because the setting is in our own city, but it was entertaining to hear spot on descriptions of our summer heat, life so close to the border, the best burritos in the world and our very poor Spanglish. He even romanticized our 112 degree heat to actually make it sound lovely. Pure magic! The story is very Catcher in The Rye, but with copious amounts of marijuana and a little more hip. But it’s heartfelt and sincere and ultimately leaves you with a warm feeling in your gut. You’ll find yourself laughing on one page and flipping to the next in tears.
Whether you watch the movie or read the book (hopefully both), Goats will make you walk away feeling like you’ve learned a philosophical lesson. You just aren’t quite sure how to articulate it yet. Check our comedy or drama section for the movie and maybe stumble through general fiction to find the book. We guarantee it’s the best book and movie combo you’ll enjoy thus far.