Thursday Screener

The Goob, Midnight Cowboy and The Wolfpack
Film+TV | 13 August 2020

The Goob by Guy Myhill, 2014

This article is part of HERO Dailies – Essential culture, curated daily and also part of Thursday Screener

HERO DAILIES: Essential culture, curated daily
THURSDAY SCREENER: Three films that should be in your watchlist

The Goob by Guy Myhill, 2014

In Guy Myhill’s 2014 debut work The Goob, we first meet the lanky teenage protagonist, Goob (played by street cast actor Liam Walpole), on the back of the school bus having just finished his final day. Freedom is calling, and yet his summer is stained by the omnipresent shadow of his mother’s violent, womanising live-in boyfriend, Womak; a cheating stock car racer.

But all changes when Goob’s insular world is challenged by two outsiders; camp, fun-lover Elliot (Oliver Kennedy) who enrages Womack with his frivolity, and summer worker Eva (Marama Corlett) who comes to town to work on Womack’s beet farm. Both give impressionable Goob a taste of a greater world outside his own, outside Norfolk, if only he can break free, both mentally and physically.

The star of the film, street cast up comer Liam Walpole – who when approached by the casting director had just finished working at a local chicken factory, living on the dole at the time – excels. Set against the backdrop of Norfolk’s stock racing scene The Goob slides itself perfectly amongst the canon of candidly raw and charming Brit flicks – alongside Shane Meadows and Ken Loach – as Myhill’s vision of social realism is articulated confidently alongside Simon Tindall’s stunning cinematography of the Norfolk hills.

The Goob is available to stream on BFI Player.

Midnight Cowboy by John Schlesinger, 1969

Released over 50 years ago, Midnight Cowboy is still the watermark for on-screen male friendships, released long before anyone dreamt up the word ‘bromance’. This is a story about pursuing dreams that are never reached, personified by the improbable gender-subverting character of Joe Buck (John Voight), the Texan cowboy who moves to New York with a view of making a living as a gigolo. 

Upon arrival, this naive yet totally likeable stud is swindled and scammed at every turn, and struggling to find his feet in a grim and seedy 1960s New York, he enters into an unexpected alliance with another street hustler, Ratso (Dustin Hoffman). The two scrape by on a measly living, stealing food and dreaming of a big break that will turn their hopeless situation around. There’s darkness throughout, plenty of urban squalor, with outstanding performances from both men that brought Academy Award nominations apiece.

Midnight Cowboy is available to stream on Netflix.

The Wolfpack by Crystal Moselle, 2015

When filmmaker Crystal Moselle clocked the six Angulo brothers weaving through the crowds on First Avenue in New York, all long hair, black clothes and eyes hidden behind sunglasses, she was so intrigued by this set of siblings Moselle chased after them. Little did she know that this decision would lead to one of the most acclaimed documentaries of recent years, The Wolfpack.

Delving deeper into the brothers’ background Moselle began to realise the extent of their story. Living with their parents in a 16th-floor, four-bedroom apartment on the Lower East Side, their father Oscar, an unemployed aspiring Peruvian musician, kept the six boys and their older sister Visnu, who suffers from the developmental disorder Turner Syndrome, in near-captivity for much of their childhoods, only giving them permission to leave the apartment maybe once a year, sometimes not even that.

Within this cluttered Lower East Side apartment, the boys found sanctuary in film and TV, igniting their imagination through acting out iconic scenes from films such as Reservoir Dogs and Platoon, feeding their much-needed escapism. Moselle’s documentary is a brilliantly heartwarming insight into a bunch of brothers sheltered from reality but dreaming big.

The Wolfpack is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

The Wolfpack by Crystal Moselle, 2015

Top image: The Goob by Guy Myhill, 2014

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