The Goob (2014)
Note1: This film was recommended to me by a friend. ‘Short and sweet, just like Helena,’ he said. ‘And the landscape, it reminds me of Pannonian Plain. Not that I’ve ever been.’
84 mins long, “The Goob” is short alright. But as for sweet, I guess it is as sweet as both Helena the novel, and Helena the character. In other words, not exactly sugar-coated.
Note2: True-blue rites of passage, “The Goob” has all the essential components for assembly of a troubled teenagehood: the sense of stuckness, the general shortage of support and guidance, the need to escape, the scarcity of inner and outer resources to pull off a change, and the obligatory twat who makes the hero’s already miserable existence nigh intolerable. I used to think the angry young men spiel was totally overrated, especially in the world where girls were systematically encouraged to pout and smile (because if you don’t, people may think you’re a witch – and we all know what happened to witches, right?), but having two sons has made me realise the turn that frown upside down dogma gets pushed down everyone’s throat, regardless of sex.
Note3: All troubled teenagers tend to have one thing in common, a certain kind of knowing that sets them apart from both their environment and their peers. The sap is rising, they’re ready to bloom – but what’s the point of blossoming into hostility? Better to supress, keep it all in, wait till it’s safe, freeze up. Goob never speaks of leaving. It probably never even occurs to him that he could – with Elliot, or Eva, or even alone. Helena, on the other hand, talks about it all the time, but sabotages every exit-opportunity that comes her way.
Note5: The film thrives on tight dialogue and acting. The cast – well, it is entirely possible that each and every one of them was born with more than one soul. Watching Womack sitting alone at the edge of the party, then pulling himself up into that solitary stud grind, is a profoundly humbling experience. No matter what shithole you’re in right now, no matter what shitstorm is about to hit, you can’t help but feel that, just for a moment there, you get to know God, and He is other people.
Note1: First of all, I am sweet. Not my fault most palates are so used to the sugar & spice saccharine sweetness they can no longer tell the difference between the fake shit and a genuine article.
Note2: Goob annoys the crap out of me, largely on account of not having a single dream to his stupid name. And what’s with all the mummy love. Boys in love are tedious, but boys in love with their own mother are just gross and should be shot. Put everyone out of their misery. I like the dancing boy, think his name’s Elliot. He’s a bit of a village idiot, always grinning like a baby that’s been dropped on its head one time too many, but there really isn’t anyone else I even remotely like, and Olga told me to try and be as positive as I can muster. So there. I mustered.
Note3: “The Goob” is a noisy film: the clatter of Goob’s moped (that – incidentally – sounds a lot like the engine on the old wooden fishing boats on the Danube); the rumble and roar of stock car racing; the crackle and fizz of migrant workers’ parties. The pressure is building – but what’s the point? What difference, a few more cracks on this seductively desolate landscape? If Grace hasn’t entered it by now, chances are it never will. Goob knows this. Helena knows this. They just do.
(This was actually Olga’s Note4 – I stole it without her even, like, noticing; some people have no eye for detail and should never be allowed to operate on brains, or write. Anyway, this note was untypically spot on, especially the part where Olga admits that I know everything.)