"Hippy Soldiers & New Age Comedy"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(PaPa, FRFR, P, LLL, VV, NN, AA, DDD, M) Mostly mixed pagan worldview with strong New Age elements as story is based upon psychic warriors who are trained to combat enemies with their minds and New Age practices such as praying to “Mother Earth,” some patriotic elements of pro-American behavior during wartime; 33 obscenities & 14 profanities; violence includes gunfire, people are shot, man tripping on LSD commits suicide, some punching, a one-armed man chokes another man, car explodes from a land mine, some comedic violence as a man thinks he can run through walls and he runs into them, and it is implied that a soldier hangs a sandbag from his scrotum for training purposes as well as shots of war-torn Iraq; no sexuality, although the narrator tells how his wife left him for another man; upper male nudity, upper female nudity, and several shots of rear male nudity; some alcohol use in several scenes; drug use includes depicted LSD use, depicted steroid use, depicted pain-killer use as well as discussions of marijuana use; and, lying, profiteering, implied adulterous affair, terrorism and human trafficking in Iraq, and drug use as well as experimental psychic warfare training for soldiers is a government-authorized project.
THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS follows Bob, a down-on-his-luck news reporter, as he journeys to Iraq with Lyn (played by George Clooney), a special-forces psychic warrior, in order to fulfill a psychic mission in the Middle East.
“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
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