I was really amazed by Taylor Guterson’s first 2 pictures.

by Martin Hafer

Recently, I was flipping through Netflix bored and looking for something different. On a lark, I tried a film new to this service called Old Goats. The title was sure intriguing, so I watched this using their streaming service. Imagine my surprise that everyone in the film and the guy responsible for making it was brand new to movies, especially since Old Goats was really unique and well made.

Old Goats is the charming story of three very unlikely friends — David, Britt and Bob. Interestingly, the three guys in the film use their real names, and according to the filmmaker, Taylor Guterson, much of what you see is who these people really are. This gives the film an almost documentary-like feel to it, but the story also has fictional elements. What brings them together is that they’re all retired and have met through a local seniors social program. Despite their very different backgrounds, the trio seem to take great pleasure in just being together and there isn’t a lot in the way of plot in the film. This isn’t meant as a criticism as I enjoyed just watching the three as they tried to adjust to life beyond their careers, mostly because it didn’t seem like the folks in the film were acting. It was as if the audience is given a seat and allowed to watch these men in their everyday lives — and what a privilege it was.

Grade: A-

Burkholder stars Britt and Bob, though the story is a bit more fictionalized than Old Goats. Barry (Britt) is at his wits end with his friend who rents a room in his basement. This is because practically everything Teddy (Bob) does irritates Barry. This is made worse because Terry has dementia and he’s starting to slip a bit mentally. The film begins with Barry in a counseling session complaining about Terry, in much the same way that a person would complain about their spouse in couples therapy. Barry tells his therapist he wants Teddy out … as soon as possible! However, despite this, over time it becomes obvious that Barry really does love his friend and seeing Terry edging closer and closer to death is something with which he’s really struggling. It’s all very touching and although the film has some cute and funny moments, you might want to have some Kleenex handy, as the end is very bittersweet. Unfortunately, this new film isn’t yet available on Netflix and I’ll try to get you more information about where you can find this special film.

The bottom line with both of these films is that they really excel with their realism and charm. While young viewers might be less impressed, this 50-something-year-old film buff really appreciated seeing elderly folks who were vibrant, complex and realistic — not caricatures of the aged. New filmmaker Taylor Guterson shows an amazing ability to bring the most out of folk who aren’t professional actors, and has a deft touch in portraying them in an incredibly realistic yet interesting manner. I really look forward to seeing more from him and assume you will too once you see these movies.

Grade: A