Friday, November 6, 2009

The Men Who Stare at Goats

The Men Who Stare at Goats is just as bad as you would expect a movie titled The Men Who Stare at Goats to be. Which is a shame. With names like Clooney, Bridges and Spacey (10 Oscar nominations among them) it’s not unfair to expect something decent.

I’m wasting precious seconds of my life typing the next few sentences, but here is the plot. A reporter (Ewan McGregor) gets wind of a super-secret sect of the military, a group of soldiers who fight with their minds. They can walk through walls, turn invisible, put animals to sleep by thinking; real Jedi shit. McGregor goes to Iraq and meets up with Clooney, the main dude behind the Jedi mind tricks. Clooney is on a mission, I think. I don’t know. Jesus. This movie is so damn bad.

Honestly, I had no idea what was going on for most of the movie, and no I wasn’t tripping on acid like the characters do for a bulk of the film’s excruciating 93 minutes. Kevin Spacey shows up at some point, as a guy who is jealous of Clooney’s powers. But this is just pure, wasted talent.

I know why Clooney did it. The director, Grant Heslov, is Clooney’s production partner (Good Night and Good Luck) but you probably know Heslov best as the smart-ass CIA agent opposite Tom Arnold in True Lies. Either way, Heslov is saying nothing with his directorial debut.

I get satire, it’s actually one of my favorite comedy styles, but this is a mess. The film clearly wants to be compared to Dr. Strangelove but falls so flat that it’s nearly invisible. Perhaps I’m bashing too hard, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was actually excited about this movie. Having expectations shattered typically makes for a dreadful movie-going experience.

I’ll explain. I know Transformers 2 is going to be shit when I walk into the theatre. But a movie like Men Who Stare at Goats, with its witty trailer and powerful ensemble of actors, is the worst kind of film. You want it to be good, but it lets you down in every way. Because of that, this will surely be one of the very worst, most disappointing films of the year. F


  1. Couldn't have put it better myself, I agree with you 100%. The only thing I actually kind of liked about this movie was the ambiguity it had going that was absolutely ruined by the baffling last scene.

  2. Hmm, okay maybe you can tell me what the hell was going on the whole time. Because I have no idea.

  3. The script sounds like a collection of Wes Anderson lines that didn't work.

  4. I actually saw something in this crazy mess. I think the trick is at least pretending you're on heavy drugs, even if you're not actually going to do so.

    It's not great, or even good, assuredly. But I thought there were some parts (Clooney, mostly) that were watchable.

    1. Maybe I should give it another go. I do remember seeing it very late at night, and (obviously) being very underwhelmed. Ah who knows.

    2. Maybe. *shrug*

      If you still hate it after half an hour, you can always stop.