I am sometimes a very overdramatic person. That's just a fact. However, "GOAT" IS SUCH A GOOD MOVIE. Every frat movie that I have seen shows the happy side of fraternities- parties, getting drunk, hanging with your new brothers, etc. However, this movie showed a completely different side of the fraternity --- one where intimidation and hazing reign supreme. The pledges would do whatever it took to be able to join the frat, doing disgusting and horrid acts to be accepted (ex. having mud and food dumped on them). The "Hell Week" the pledges went through was already bad enough -- but imagine if one of the people watching this happen was your own brother? That's where this movie starts to get interesting. The whole movie has significance but what I want to focus on is the male stereotype that's portrayed in frat movies and how "GOAT" twisted it.
The movie focuses on Brad (played by Ben Schnetzer), the nerdy brother of the frat member Brett (played by Nick Jonas). Driving home from attending one of his brother's frat parties, he gets assaulted and is almost killed. He doesn't defend himself at all -- he ends up curling into a ball and crying while two guys beat the crap out of him. So when he goes to another frat party his brother is throwing, everyone knows what happened. But it's cool though, "because now you have us to protect you," one of the frat members says. The fact that Brad didn't try to defend himself plays a big role in this movie. No matter who you are, no one likes to look weak in front of others, especially people you want to respect you. There's a stereotype with guys that they always have to be strong and ready to defend themselves and anyone they care about. Brad did the exact opposite -- making him feel like not just less of a man, but less of a person. The abuse that he went through that night haunts him throughout the movie and influences everything he does. The guys in the frat Brad wants to join see him as a wimp (but won't say it to his face) and Brad slowly starts to hate himself more and more. Add in the fact that his brother is already a frat member and you have a mess on your hands.
Brad officially decides to join the frat after finally arriving to Brett's college that fall. He is already friends with most of the guys, but Brett constantly reminds him that "that isn't going to help him. Being my brother isn't either." Brad truly has to face "Hell Week" along with a couple of other pledges (including his roomie) -- without the security his brother gives him. The first day starts off with them being forced to drink BOTTLES of alcohol, being forced to do hundreds of pushups with alcohol and food being poured on them, and all sleeping together tied up by ropes, arms interlocked. The only person who doesn't sleep in this situation is Brad's roomie who sleeps in a cage (you'll see why). The week only gets worse and worse from there. Brad joined the frat to be with his brother and friends and to gain what seemed like "protection" after the assault he went through that summer. During "Hell Week", however, Brad endured pain much worse than the assault he went through -- because the frat brothers are PSYCHOS and his brother was silently watching it all happen. Watching him be showered with insults. Watching him get the crap beat out of him. Watching him not being treated like a human, but a piece of trash. Brett was watching it all -- and seeing his brother being treated this way was changing how he saw the frat he was supposed to love and honor.
When you see guys in the typical frat movies, they are all happy, lit, drunk, and ready to party. When "Hell Week" is finally over, that's what you think the rest of the movie is going to be -- just one big party. "Surely the worst is over..." you are probably going to think. Nope. It's just begun. The pledges continue to be hurt and messed around with by the official frat brothers. They continue to say that everyone has been through this and that everything will be fine. But at this point, it doesn't seem like just casual hazing (which isn't allowed in the first place) -- it seems like torture. Torture far worse than what Brad went through. Brad didn't know the guys that assaulted him. But to have people who have know you and supposedly "care about you" treat you this way?? And your brother not protect you -- the person who is always supposed to be there for you, the person you are literally connected by blood to??? It's worse than anything he has ever been through. The pledges start working out more and doing more things for the frat brothers. They want to prove themselves. The giant question of the movie to me is...for what? Why do you HAVE to endure this pain? Why do you HAVE to join this frat? Why do you HAVE to please people that treat you like you are worthless? The answer that all the pledges give is..."Because I have nothing else." I feel like that is what the low-key message of "GOAT" is -- that we do things that we know are wrong and that we know don't bring us joy because we want to be accepted. We want to be seen as "the cool kids." We want to gain what we think is happiness even though it's just more pain and heartbreak in disguise. We want to be strong and tough and look like nothing affects us. News flash: it does. And we shouldn't be afraid to show it.
Seriously. Watch this movie. Tell me what you think and make sure to subscribe in the "Contact" section!
Peace Out Girl Scout,
Maddie The Media Princess