Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

film Home > Movie Reviews




Studio:Mpi Home Video
Director:David Zellner
Cast:David Zellner, Nathan Zellner, Caroline O'connor
Release Date:2008

By Wendy Ward | Posted 3/3/2010

THE MOVIE The Zellner brothers usually make shorts, and that focus influences their feature Goliath, a meditation on a man who loses his wife, job, and cat. Goliath writer/director David Zellner plays the man (who remains nameless), a sad sort whose trip to the cemetery for his ex-wife's aunt's funeral opens the movie with him thrashing about the carnations he brought. During the car ride home, you watch him first leave his wife a message--full of accusations and aggressive language about how she's treating him like shit--on her answering machine and then replace it with, "Call me."

He's alone and kind of pathetic, living in a messy home in an older Austin, Tex., neighborhood. His employers demote him to a job replacing an employee--who they then make him fire in one of the funnier scenes: he opens the poor guy's bathroom stall door, interrupting a mummifying of the toilet seat to can him. And when his beloved gray tiger-stripe kitty Goliath goes missing, your heart breaks for him--he runs the automatic can opener in the windowsill for fuck's sake. Chad P. Franklin (Nathan Zellner), a pedophile freshly moved to the neighborhood, offers him a dumping ground for all of his pain, and the 5-minute continuous scene where he and his ex-wife Abby (Caroline O'Conner) sign the divorce papers takes you along for that horribly dull yet life-changing task. May not sound funny, but the movie is, in a quiet, realistic way.

THE DISC Bonus features include a filmmaker Q&A as tongue-in-cheek sincere as the movie's tone: some questions posed at the Zellner brothers at Cinevegas Film Festival fade out to show footage of Nathan at the buffet. Deleted scenes include an 18-minute solo game of basketball with a running count of tries and buckets in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. The audition tapes of a prospective actor Carlos in "Behind the Scenes" hits the jackpot with break dancing on, yes, cardboard, in front of a banana-seat bicycle. Goliath is kind of a boys club, and the only woman in the movie is ex-wife Abby, but that closed circle encases the funny during the audio commentary with the Zellner brothers and Charles Bryant, who plays one of the dudes in the blue jumpsuits who works with the main character. David Zellner really brings out Bryant's slacker Austin attitude and stoner drawl by asking him a million questions, and Bryant is a talk machine: his dog that got hit by a car and the burial--drawing out the story of filming Goliath and his fate--living across the street from a crack house years earlier in the same neighborhood where the movie is shot, and how fat he looks on screen even though he's asked to expose his rotund gut. This guy is magic--loving the most disturbing scene in the movie, asking inane questions during this, the second time he's seen the movie, and hating the car they used in the last scenes.

E-mail Wendy Ward

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter