In this comedic look at real life events that are almost too bizarre to believe, reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) discovers an experimental top-secret wing of the U.S. military called The New Earth Army, trained to chan... more »ge the ways wars are fought through New Age psychic power. In search of his next big story, Wilton tracks down Lyn Cassady (Academy AwardŽ winner George Clooney), a shadowy figure who claims to be a member of this legion of ?Warrior Monks? with unparalleled psychic powers who can read the enemy?s thoughts, pass through walls, and even kill a goat simply by staring at it.« less
Matthew M. from WAILUKU, HI Reviewed on 5/8/2011...
Fascinating movie... especially considering how accurate a reflection it is on real explorations. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
3 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
JB M. from WEST HILLS, CA Reviewed on 10/30/2010...
Incomprehensible, absurd and not funny. A truly sad waste of all the talents involved, esp. George Clooney.
3 of 7 member(s) found this review helpful.
Michelle S. (Chelly10s) from W HOLLYWOOD, CA Reviewed on 3/29/2010...
This doesn't seem to be a crowd favorite, but I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It's mildly funny, and the story is interesting considering it was based on truth. If you don't already know the real story, watch the featurette on the special features to give you an idea.
George Clooney did a great job. He was charming and likeable, as always. Kevin Spacey was not likeable, so he did a good job as well. Probably not a keeper, but I certainly think it's worth watching and reposting.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
The American Jedi Who Stare at Goats
Shopper | USA | 11/06/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A man's wife leaves him. The man happens to be Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor), a small town newspaper journalist. To impress his wife and make her see him in a different light, Bob enlists to Iraq as a war correspondent. Sipping a drink in a plush Kuwaiti hotel, resignedly waiting for the green light to cross to Iraq, he meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), a garbage can company representative in search of a contract (or so he says). Bob is immediately intrigued. Not so long ago, he heard of Lyn in the course of an interview with a retired army soldier. Lyn's supposed psychic powers prove to be too much for Bob the Journalist to resist and he joins Lyn on his sojourn into Iraq. In the process, he discovers the (brief) story of the American Jedi, the soldiers of the U.S. Army's New Earth Battalion; the psychic warriors...
As I am one of the few adult women in the US who consider Clooney's sex appeal only a click above Mr. Rogers', there was a single compelling reason for me to see this film: its title. Unfortunately, the film does not live up to it. Yes, there are goats, men, and plenty of staring, but... the zany comedy/satire one is expecting never actually materializes. For a comedy, there are not enough laughs. For a satire, the pun is too diluted and lacking of a consistent object. The story frequently changes direction, until you feel it is the director's wish to keep the main plot hidden from you. When the film's conclusion finally arrives with a whimper, it forces you to ask: was the hour and a half leading up to this ending worth my time? The answer, in my case, was NO.
Still, the acting is excellent. Bridges as the stoner and Spacey as the villain are satisfying (if not predictable). There are a few good lines that may elicit a chuckle here and there. As long as you do not expect a fast action comedy, or a wise, stay-with-you-long-after-the-viewing satire, you may be able to enjoy some parts of the film... "
Smart and enjoyable, but not as lasting as it should be.
DanD | 03/22/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"George Clooney, Ewen McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Robert Patrick, Stephen Root, Stephen Lang...THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS has an one of the best cast lineups of any 2009 film (a year in which a lot of good actors made a lot of good movies). The film is based around a supposedly true plot: "psychic warriors" trained to fight terrorists, led by a hippie soldier, attacked by an arrogant Army officer, and infiltrated by a bored investigative reporter and a former psychic soldier. It makes for a great story, and overall, GOATS succeeds brilliantly; it is a delightful, at times dark film (the last 20 minutes or so get so dark, you'll wish the whole film had been this gutsy) that proposes a lot of questions, and doesn't bother answering them (like any good satire should).
However, something's lacking. Peter Straughan's script isn't up to par; and Grant Heslov's directing seems at times undecided. The acting is fine--Clooney is understated; Bridges is himself; Spacey is delightfully off-kilter; and watching McGregor deadpan the question "What's a Jedi?" is just good geeky fun--but the film itself doesn't live up to the cast's combined talents. The end result is a film that's certainly an enjoyable watch, even laugh-out-loud funny in spots (though it's overall a subtle comedy; this isn't slapstick, it's satire), but doesn't have the lasting effect something with this weight should. The ending is ultimately a let-down; a lot of build up for very little. That's not to say the movie isn't worth your time; if you enjoy intellectual comedies, you'll definitely want to check it out. However, unlike others of the genre--DR. STRANGELOVE comes to mind, though it's probably unfair to compare any war satire to Kubrick's masterpiece--THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS doesn't stay with you once you're done watching. And that is a damn shame, because a film with this great a cast, and this interesting a premise, deserves--almost necessitates--a lasting presence. As is, we have an enjoyable intelligent comedy that is slightly less than the sum of its parts."
Underrated War Satire Delivers on DVD
Cubist | United States | 03/22/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After making serious political films like Syriana (Widescreen Edition) and Good Night, and Good Luck (Widescreen Edition), it's nice to see George Clooney starring in a political satire that is funny but still has something to say as it shows the absurdity of the war in Iraq. The Men Who Stare at Goats falls under the truth is stranger than fiction category as it presents a story populated by eccentric characters and tall tales, some of which might be true. Regardless, it is an entertaining film with a wonderfully oddball sense of humor. Don't be put off by the setting. Although it takes place in Iraq, The Men Who Stare at Goats is not weighed down by the baggage of this war.
There is an audio commentary by the film's director Grant Heslov. He points out certain characters that are composites but is quick to explain that what they say comes from Jon Ronson's book The Men Who Stare at Goats. He sometimes spends too much time telling us where certain scenes were shot which gets tiresome pretty fast. Heslov's focus is mostly on the nuts and bolts of filmmaking but done in a fairly dry and uninteresting way.
Also included is a commentary by the book's author Jon Ronson. He points out the scenes that are based on real incidents and talks about meeting the actual people that the characters are based on. He also explains who the composite characters are and tells all sorts of fascinating anecdotes. If you want to learn more the people and events behind the ones depicted in the film, this is worth a listen if only to find out how much is taken from his book and experiences.
"Goats Declassified: The Real Men of the First Earth Battalion" features some of the actual military personnel depicted The Men Who Stare at Goats. They talk about some of their intentions. We also learn about how this top secret unit's techniques were brought to light. It's great to hear from the actual people as they tell their fascinating stories.
"Project `Hollywood': A Classified Report from the Set" takes a brief look at the origins of the film and how it got made. Several of the lead actors talk about their characters and there's footage of them having fun on location.
"Character Bios" is a collection of trailer for the film emphasizing several key characters.
Also included is four minutes of deleted scenes. There is more flashback footage some of which should've stayed in as it's quite funny.
Finally, there is a theatrical trailer."
The Best of the Best
Phoebe Saffold | 03/31/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Realizing that I am not a typical viewer, I don't expect everyone to fall madly in love with this movie. But I did. The first time I saw it I loved it. The next day I watched it again and fell even more deeply in love. I had tears in my eyes at the end. It is smart, well made, light and deep at the same time. If you are one of the people who fall in love with this movie, you will know that, like the Jedi warriors in the film, you are part of a self selected group, a group with a certain mission in life, however vague that may seem to you. Just by loving the movie you are doing your part. The last movie I loved this much was "Groundhog Day."
I am already making plans to watch the movie over and over until I have memorized all the dialog. It's that kind of movie, and I'm that kind of psychic nerd."
Five if you are former CIA or SOF, rest of world will not ge
Robert D. Steele | Oakton, VA United States | 05/07/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An extraordinarily talented and experienced international law enforcement officer watched this on loan from me before I saw it, and hated it. Now that I have watched it myself, I understand--if you have not been deeply engaged with CIA and all of its idiocyncrasies including remote viewing, acoustic-kitty, the pigeons that came before Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), and then over to SOF (Special Operations Forces) where "unconventional" had to go covert to survive the straight-leg generals with no clue, you will simply not appreciate this movie.
DanD nails it--this is satire and also a brilliant documentary of what can only be decribed as a well-intentioned long-running Goat F..k. The movie is a collage of several different real initiatives including the First Earth Battalion (I knew a couple of the principals, decades ahead of their time); the Peace Warrior initiative, and of course Remote Viewing, the CIA's notorious MKULTRA and LSD for unwitting victims, and so on.
At one point in the movie the two principal actors are discussing the remorse--the angst--over having used his power to actually killing a goat with his mind, and the other guy pops in with "Silence of the Goats." That just about sums it up--this is, for someone steeped in the well-intentioned lunacy of the past--a perfect five, and I have to believe that the world-class actors that decided to do this did it knowing that it would be misunderstood by many, but a real hoot among the veterans of the seventies and eighties.
The only thing not in here, certainly worthy of a sequel to this movie, is extra-terrestial encounters, leveraging extra-terrestial technologies, warnings from extraterrestials [humans now being in a state of quarentine for being stupid squared], and the exotic, wasteful, and generally hilarious methods used to keep Area 51 and related projects "secret."
See also: Peaceful Warrior (Widescreen) First Earth Battalion Operations Manual: Reprint of Original Manual from the 70's On the Psychology of Military Incompetence Psychic Warrior Psychic Warrior: The True Story of America's Foremost Psychic Spy and the Cover-Up of the CIA's Top-Secret Stargate Program Memoirs of a Psychic Spy: The Remarkable Life of U.S. Government Remote Viewer 001 Hidden Secrets: The Complete History of Espionage and the Technology Used to Support ItHidden Truth: Forbidden Knowledge Disclosure : Military and Government Witnesses Reveal the Greatest Secrets in Modern History Hidden Truth: Forbidden Knowledge"