Reviews, Reports + Comments

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review of film: “THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS”

2009, 11-09



Grant Heslov.


Jon Ronson (book)
Peter Straughan (screenplay)


George Clooney
Ewan McGregor
Jeff Bridges
Kevin Spacey
Stephen Lang
Robert Patrick
Waleed Zuaiter
Stephen Root
Glenn Morshower
Nick Offerman
Tim Griffin
Rebecca Mader
Jacob Browne
Todd La Tourrette

Brad Grunberg

MPAA Rating:

Rated R for language, some drug content and brief nudity.

“I’m a journalist.”
“I’ve been reactivated. I’m on a MISSION.”
“We have to dream a new America.”
“You will be a psychic weapon.”
“We fight with our mind.”
“The hooker thing is definitely a lie!”

MY Rating: 

Rating:  7 of 10 stars (based on an advance screening of the 94-minute film) .

                               HIPPY-DIPPY ANIMAL “MAGNETISM”

This is (once again) a story that’s supposedly based on some “TRUE” elements--  most of which are somewhat strange.  Reporter Bob Wilton (played by EWAN MCGREGOR) wants to get away from reminders of his failed marriage...

...  He chances to meet an Army special agent Lyn Cassady (GEORGE CLOONEY) who reveals how he once belonged to a secret detachment whose goal was to use PSYCHIC & “PARANORMAL” (rather than military) means to end wars…

  George tells him the history of the group— about the flower-carrying instructor of the unit, Bill Django (played by JEFF BRIDGES), & how he worked with Brigadier Gen’l Dean Hopgood (STEPHEN LANG) to try to train OTHERS (like George) to develop their psychic & metaphysical powers to control others and be able to do things such as “passing” thru walls…

  If it sounds akin to an outfit being run by a HIPPY-like person, that’s pretty much what it boils down to.  There’s also an antagonist in the outfit named Larry Hooper (KEVIN SPACEY) who himself wants to control the unit…

  One of the “proofs” of the psych power of the guys was an ability to “kill” other creatures (such as goats) by simply strongly STARING at them, & George at one point relates the story of his own efforts at that…

  Ewan is fascinated by all he hears, & urges George to reveal more to him.  As the two interact, they at one point start to meet up with the then-“CURRENT” versions of the guys talked about – Jeff, Kevin, etc. --  who are now involved in plans to use their powers in the IRAQ conflict…

  This is a COMEDY, but of a “situational” type rather than with a bunch of funny lines.  The actors seem to be clearly having FUN with their roles, & acting “straight” (seriously in their characterizations) rather than “over-the-top” (exaggerating their naturally-somewhat-hard-to-believe parts)…

  But, while generally humorous, it’s fairly silly, isn’t all that hilarious, & that’s why I’ve rated it more as a mild “diversion” (with some “different-than-usual” characters) than as anything special… 

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