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Movie Review: The Men Who Stare at Goats

Alternate Title: Return of the Jedi

Story: This is a little film that sadly, is dead on arrival. So what happened? It had an interesting premise but director Grant Heslov did not seem to have a point of view. It rambled, zig zagged, was unfocused and downright disappointing. It was written by Peter Straughan and based on the nonfiction book by Jon Ronson.

A young reporter, who is going through a divorce, is looking for meaning and excitement in his life. He wants to get to Iraq and do some serious war reporting. Unsuccessful at that endeavor, he latches on to an older soldier who was part of special unit of 'monk-warriors' back in the 80's. These soldiers were trained to use their psychic power to thwart the enemy. Various methods were used in this cockamamie division including remote viewing, psychedelic drugs and staring down goats until their hearts stopped. (The silence of the goats).

If that sounds confusing, you can imagine watching it for 90 minutes. The film hobbles back and forth from past to present and is clumsy in its efforts. It is supposed to be an anti-war spoof but unfortunately it is a bust.



Acting: George Clooney as Lyn Cassady repeats his performance from Brother, Where art Thou? Lots of eye-popping and rolling. But then again, I like to just look at George Clooney. He does not have to do anything. Ewan McGregor as the young reporter plays his innocent (Moulin Roube) character and his accent is terrible. Jeff Bridges as Bill Django is The Dude, from the Big Lebowski (one of my favorite films). Kevin Spacey is nuts and has a terrible wig.

Trivia: Director Grant Heslov directed the short film Waiting for Woody (1998) about a Woody Allen fan. In 2006, Grant was competing for an Oscar in the same category as Woody Allen. He often works with George Clooney.
He and George Clooney founded the production company Smoke House after Clooney's production company Section Eight closed down. On the DVD commentary for Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005), George Clooney says that shortly after he met Grant Heslov in 1982, Heslov loaned Clooney $200.00 to buy his first set of head shots, and they have been friends ever since (and later writing and producing partners).

Predilection: None

Critters: Goats, gerbils

Food: Twizzlers, eggs

Sex Spectrum: Some brief butt shots and a few boobies in a hot tub.

Soundtrack: Eclectic (Boston's More than a Feeling is all I remember)

Opening Titles: A sequence about the young reporter.

Visual Art: It is filmed in the desert of New Mexico (instead of Iraq)

Theater Audience: Five old goats and me.

Weather: Hot

Drift Factor: I started drifting after 30 minutes.

Predictability Level: I did not care

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Neither

Length: 90 painful minutes