THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS
Hippy Soldiers & New Age Comedy
Release Date: November 06, 2009
Starring: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor,
Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey,
and Stephen Lang
Runtime: 93 minutes
Distributor: Overture Films
Director: Grant Heslov
Executive Producer: Barbara A. Hall, James A.
Holt, Alison Owen, and David
Producer: George Clooney, Grant Heslov,
and Paul Lister
Writer: Peter Straughan
Address Comments To:Robert Clasen, Chairman/CEO
8900 Liberty Circle
Englewood, CO 80112
Phone: (720) 852-7700
Fax: (720) 852-8555
“This is a true story”. . . or so claims Bob, a newspaper reporter who is running off to the war in Iraq. Not for heroism. Not for patriotism. Not for the story of a lifetime. No, Bob is running off to Iraq because his wife left him for his editor.
Along his journey to the Middle East, Bob meets Lyn Cassady, a retired special-forces soldier who has been reinstated to fulfill a critical mission in the War on Terror. Hoping that Lyn’s journey might be the big news story he has been hoping for, Bob follows Lyn into the hotbed of Iraq. What Bob learns along their journey is the unbelievable story that Lyn was part of an experimental special-forces unit known as the New Earth Army.
Commissioned in 1979 as psychic warriors, the members of the New Earth Army were trained to combat enemies with psychic powers, read people’s thoughts, pass through solid walls and even kill animals by simply staring at them. Now Lyn has enlisted Bob, along with his burgeoning psychic warrior skills, to navigate the treacherous terrain of Iraq in order to find the leader of the New Earth Army, who has gone missing in the war-torn country.
Viewed simply as a comedy movie, THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS is hilarious. Structurally, the movie is very sound. It is laugh-out-loud funny, well-scripted and well-paced. George Clooney delivers a performance that is unlike any in his career, bridging the gap between the strong, leading-man type for which he is most well known, and the comedic character actor who is all-at-once unassuming and brilliant. McGregor holds his own to Clooney’s tour de force performance by providing the perfect “straight man” timing to Clooney’s comedic punch lines. Other well-known performers, such as Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges and Robert Patrick, round out this strong comedy ensemble.
That said, the movie is also unsettling. Jon Ronson’s novel of the same title claims to be non-fiction and, according to the author, a “true story.” In both the movie and the novel, the writer unearths the U.S. Government’s attempt to utilize supernatural and New Age abilities to combat its enemies. The founder of the New Earth Army is nothing more than a hippy-reject from the 1970’s who prays to “Mother Earth” and practices drug-induced Eastern mysticism. The movie strategically plays the New Age psychic powers as both a tongue-in-cheek comedy and as well as a legitimate supernatural power that can be wielded by those individuals with “third eye” Jedi type powers.
Apart from the obvious worldview problems, media-wise viewers should also know that the movie contains other objectionable content. There is a fair amount of violence, though some of it is used for comedic purposes, as well as a lot of drug use, mostly depicted LSD trips, an over-abundance of foul language and some unnecessary nudity. Though very well made and quite entertaining, especially for more mature audiences, discerning viewers may still choose to avoid this movie for more family-friendly fare. For a complete list of family-friendly movies, please visit, www.movieguide.org
Viewed simply as a comedy movie, THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS is laugh-out-loud funny and well scripted. However, the founder of New Earth Army is hippy-reject who prays to “Mother Earth” and practices drug-induced Eastern mysticism. The movie strategically plays the New Age powers as both comedy and as a legitimate supernatural power that can be wielded by certain individuals. There is violence, though some of it is used for comedic purposes, as well as drug use, foul language and some nudity. Though well made, discerning viewers may still choose to avoid this movie for more family-friendly fare.