Hazing is gross. Hazing is stupid. Hazing is something stunted man-children do when they’re not busy cultivating their woefully misguided world views. Thankfully, a mainstream movie is finally going to tackle the frat problem with some help from stars Nick Jonas and James Franco.
GOAT, written by Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green and helmed by Andrew Neel, centers upon two brothers (Nick Jonas and Ben Schnetzer) who both pledge the same fraternity. Based on the memoir of the same name by Brad Land, the film explores the impact of hazing through the eyes of an assault victim and its impact on family, friends, and beyond.
Franco, who co-produced the film under his own Rabbit Bandini Productions banner, also stars. The film has garnered widespread acclaim since screening at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. In a 2005 talk with Random House surrounding the memoir’s release, Land (portrayed by Schnetzer in the film) said his intent was to shine a light on the very real issue of violence in general, not solely in fraternity circles.
“GOAT is a story, first and foremost, one I tried to tell in a true and different way,” Land said. “I never set out to write a polemic, but I do hope people might read it and think a little more about the ways we hurt each other. Violence, in any form, is something each of us deals with—sanctioned, random, public, personal—they’re all expressions of the same base thing.”
GOAT hits theaters and digital platforms Sept. 23.