Based on an assumedly semiautobiographical novel and well-directed by a member of the Coppola filmmaking dynasty — Christopher Neil, nephew of Francis — Goats centers on Ellis (Graham Phillips, TV’s The Good Wife), who leaves the remote Arizona desert home he shares with his trust-fund hippie mom (Vera Farmiga, Safe House) for a prestigious prep school of which his estranged father (Ty Burrell, TV’s Modern Family) is a respected alum.
Ellis is sad because … well, lack of pot, mostly.
He’s also angry at the news he’s about to be a brother, but really, his troubles — and everyone else’s — just aren’t clearly defined.
Still, the cast does well playing such shapeless material, particularly David Duchovny (TV’s Californication) as a perpetually stoned pool man who’s the closest thing Ellis truly has for a dad; with an unkempt beard often spotted with yogurt and food, it’s a performance without vanity that deserves more notice, even if the movie may not. —Rod Lott