Film Review – Old Goats
The older you get, the tougher it is to make friends. Family, jobs, responsibilities…life gets in the way. So to actually make new connections with people in your twilight years can be a rarity indeed. Old Goats is the story of three seniors who manage to make just such a connection.
Bob Burkholder, Britton Crosley, and David Vander Wal all play partially fictionalized versions of themselves. They use their own names, but how much of their characters’ personalities and upbringings are made up for the film is never clear. However, these are thoughtful old guys with distinct personalities who seem to enjoy each other’s company more than anyone else’s.
Bob is the most adventurous of the bunch. While demanding car rides from the other Goats, he still attends regular senior fitness lessons, picks up on various elderly women, and is working on publishing an autobiography about his colorful life. Britton is a soft-spoken recluse who’s been living on a small boat for over 30 years. He dreams of taking his “yacht” out on a world cruise, but is too overcome with his own shyness and fear to act on any of his dreams. David is probably the most pleasant and accepting of the group. Financially the most successful of the three, David has a sunny disposition. He genuinely likes both Britton and Bob. He enjoys spending time with guys his own age. But his high-maintenance wife is not responding well to his slip into retired contentment. She thinks he’s letting himself go.
Old Goats is an enjoyable portrait of late-in-life friendship. These guys are genuine and engaging. They bitch at each other all the time, but not in a showy Hollywood way. When Bob borrows Britton’s truck and doesn’t return it until a day later, Britton is understandably annoyed. It turns out Bob was off scoring himself a woman after paying way too much to get his book self-published by a potential con man. It’s a nice moment that shows that despite Bob’s big talk about his life, he’s actually just as confused about the modern world as his friends are.
Britton has probably the most heartbreaking story. His shyness has kept him without companionship for so long, he’s forgotten how to talk to or meet women. Some of the funniest moments come from Bob showing him how to use the internet to set up a profile on an online dating site. His foray into high-tech hookups pays off, though, as he starts an awkward relationship with the enthusiastically sweet Cynthia (played by Benita Staadecker). Their growing romance becomes the heart of the film.
Plot is not a big concern in this movie. Much like the pace of a senior citizen’s life, Old Goats is dealing with one incident in life at a time. Whether it’s the confusing world of finding porn on the internet, dealing with ineffective decoy models while duck hunting, or simply snapping at each other over a cup of coffee, these guys are leading the life of men who aren’t planning for anything anymore. But they still want some life out of life. They aren’t done yet.
A telling couple of scenes are set in a diner where it seems many groups of old men hang out. Panning around the room, you hear snippets of conversations similar to the one our characters are having. It gives the impression that most guys in their 70s and 80s are like this. They still want to get together, and still have a life.
Final Grade: B