Peter Bogdanovich‘S Goals is a completely unique product of film history, set in the middle of old and new Hollywood. It’s the kind of angry and cynical thriller that would become popular in the 1970s, while also demonstrating a clear admiration for the classic studio films of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The film isn’t just about those things, it’s a by-product of it. Goals is Bogdanovich’s first feature film, a film starring the classic horror icon Boris Karloff and was produced by the Legendary Roger Corman, a character who made incredibly transgressive films and paved the way for many New Hollywood characters. If you’re looking for a solid thriller, don’t stop here Goals. But if you’re a film buff looking for something more, perhaps a fascinating piece of film history that’s way ahead of its time, then you couldn’t do better.
Goals is a crime thriller from 1968 that was released at an extremely formative time for the film business. 1968 was generally a great year that paved the way for New Hollywood by being packed with one after another of groundbreaking releases. Special effects were revolutionized by 2001: A Space Odysseythe limits of horror were broken Rosemary’s baby And Night of the Living Deadand over there in his own corner, Goals quietly messed things up.
Targets is the perfect collision of old and new Hollywood
Goals follows two separate storylines that are just waiting to collide. One tale follows Byron Orlock (Boris Karloff), an aging horror actor who has become disillusioned with the business and wants out of it as soon as possible. at the screening of one of his films. Another follows Bobby Thompson (Tim O’Kelly), a young man who is married, lives with his wife and parents, and spends his free time collecting and shooting guns with his father. Early on, he shows signs of mental disorder and eventually goes on a gunfight through Los Angeles leading to Orlock’s screening.
Goals is a tough watch today. We live in a world where mass shootings seem to happen every two weeks, so making a film about a shooter doesn’t seem like anyone’s first choice. If you know anything about the film, you’re probably aware of its violent nature, so the direction the plot is taking won’t surprise you. However, if you’re watching for the first time, you should know what you’re getting yourself into.
If you don’t know where the stories of Orlock and Thompson are going, the first half of the film will seem disjointed. Orlock spends the first half of the film trying his best to get out of the film industry, with his scenes playing out like standard classic drama (they can even be a bit silly at times). Thompson’s story, on the other hand, feels a lot more like a modern film. The scenes that accompany him at home, in the gun shop and on the way from one shoot to the next are more like the films of David Fincher And Martin Scorsese than the other films Corman has produced. Early in the runtime, Thompson controls himself as he slowly loses touch with reality and even tries to get help from his wife, but he does so at an inconvenient time. It seems this has been happening for some time, and soon after, Thompson commits violence.
Bobby Thompson was a new breed of movie villain
In 1968, it wasn’t common for films to focus on characters like Bobby Thompson. By and large, horror movies were still about monsters and radioactive beasts, not realistic killers. Goals even acknowledges this fact. Screenwriter Sammy Michaels plays in one of the first scenes of the film (Peter Bogdanovich) tries to convince Orlok to read his latest screenplay and take part in his next film. Orlok refuses and defends his decision, stating that no one fears his brand of classic gothic horror anymore and that his works are labeled “High Camp.” He then slams down a newspaper with a headline that talks about a recent mass shooting and exclaims that it’s the real world that’s scaring people now. Bogdanovich knew exactly where the film industry was going. It’s obvious that he could sense a disinterest in things like the colonization of the Universal monsters, incorporated those issues into his script, and capitalized on them by having Frankenstein’s monster play Byron Orlock.
Boris Karloff always reigns
Boris Karloff is fantastic Goals. By 1968, his long career as a horror icon stretched back decades. He was a well-established exponent of the genre, appearing in countless chillers and monster films throughout his career. Of course, his pivotal role was as Frankenstein’s monster in the Universal Monster films, but he also notably played Imhotep The Mummyand appear in Corman’s Edgar Allen Poe adjustments. Like Karloff, Orlok is a horror icon. Everyone knows his name, he’s the absolute magnet for a car show, and when he turns down Sammy Michaels’ offer, Michaels says he’ll offer the role VincentPrice. Byron Orlok is a big deal!
Boris Karloff plays the role as he probably felt in real life. He’s somewhat flattered at the praise he’s receiving (depending on who gives it), but overall he’s tired and just wants to leave Los Angeles to go back to England. It’s fun to watch Karloff play such a real character for once. For most of the film, he shows his charm as an older guy who just can’t be left alone by nagging industry giants. There’s even a short gag where he jumps at his reflection, he’s really having fun in this movie. For Karloff fans: Goals is a must-watch, if anything, to see how he tackles what comes closest to being an autobiographical role.
“Goals” is another variant of Peter Bogdanovich
As for Bogdanovich himself, Goals is a minor anomaly in his filmography. Given that he only directed comedy and drama, it’s interesting to see that he started out with such a dark and depressing thriller. That being said, Orlok’s earlier scenes before confronting Thompson are funnier than they’re given credit for and seem somewhat consistent with what’s to come for Bogdanovich. The film was low budget, and while it’s even remotely comparable to other Corman films, it was likely produced quickly.
Despite its traditional cinematography and the small amount of money behind it, Goals has a few visually inspired moments. After Thompson kills his family, the camera stays low to the ground, slowly pans across the floor, over random household items, and finally lands on an explanatory note he left behind. There’s a masterfully lit and framed shot of Thompson seated behind the drive-in screen, his eyes on unsuspecting onlookers. In the film’s final moments, we see Orlock approach Thompson from afar, while in the projected film his character approaches the screen, eventually cornering the shooter from either side. Goals Visually, it’s mostly standard film, but here and there Bogdanovich’s eye is given some room to shine.
Peter Bogdanovich began a long career as a director, actor, screenwriter, and even worked in the fields of criticism and film history. A multi-talent in the industry, he would influence countless future filmmakers of all stripes and die in January 2022. Boris Karloff would close the curtain soon after GoalsThe film was his last North American production and ended in February 1969. A fitting and thoughtful night out film. As for Corman? Well, he’s just doing what he’s always done: at 96, he’s still making B movies. With these three hugely influential Hollywood personalities colliding like lightning in a bottle for just one project, few films are quite as compelling a piece of cinematic history as Goals.