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The Men Who Stare At Goats Review

themenstaregoats f1eThere is a careful balance that all marketing strategists must perform in terms of building up their product (in the case of this review, I’m referring to a movie), so that people will see it and not over-hype it to the point where people feel seriously let down. Many movies suffer from the latter, must notably in my mind, being the abysmal Spider-Man 3, which had great publicity, trailers, and billboards all leading one to believe that you might get some kind of product which wouldn’t leave you wanting to ingest battery acid, whilst simultaneously throwing yourself onto a burning pyre. Still, I digress. Somewhere amongst my ramblings, I meant to say that the ad campaign for the movie The Men Who Stare at Goats was tastefully done, as was the movie.


I’ve known about this film for almost eight months preceding its release in theatres this past Friday. I’m not completely sure how I discovered it; the details are lost amongst the twisted wreckage of my fractured memory (and psyche!), but I’ve been looking forward to the film since then. The cast line-up is exceptional, featuring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, and Jeff Bridges. This alone should tell you something, given that Kevin Spacey for one, doesn’t do films that he doesn’t like; his tastes being fairly decent [with the exception of Superman (go kill yourself, Bryan Singer)], I was pretty damn excited about this. Still, you should be aware that this movie is not going to win an Academy Award. It isn’t mind blowing, and it isn’t earth shaking. This is exactly my point, really.



I wasn’t inundated with media promoting the film; ergo, most of my expectations were based solely on the short trailer I saw, and my own hopes for the cast. That being said, I was not let down, but fairly impressed. At its worst, I would say the slowest part of the movie is the opening twenty minutes, in which we get McGregor’s character’s back-story. McGregor is not a character who stares at goats, and I, therefore, care very little about what he was doing previously.


Surprisingly, or rather unsurprisingly, for those who have seen The Big Lebowski, Jeff Bridges really saves this film in many ways. Although he seemingly reprises his stoner/hippy character role, his talent as an actor is dramatic, and he and Clooney are wonderful together. Without saying too much for those who want to see the movie and be surprised, Bridges brings a character arc to a character I thought would be fairly two-dimensional by necessity. His transformation isn’t singular either; it happens to go multiple places, which is of course, what you would hope for from any decent movie.


Besides the obvious good acting choices of the A-List cast, we’re given a lot of humor in the movie, which plays so well off the few well chosen “Holy Shit!” moments. Several reviewers have commented poorly of this film, claiming that it has no “lasting or powerful impact.” My response is a simple, “No shit, dumbass.”


If you’re looking for new philosophical views, don’t see this movie.

If you’re hoping to cry over McGregor’s lost love, don’t see this movie.

If you feel the need to be emotionally torn apart, built back up again, then just devastated by emotion….don’t see this movie.


On the other hand, if you’re looking for some entertainment, most notably from Clooney, who, as always, is simply funny in any role where he isn’t smooth and sophisticated, then you’re probably going to get a kick out of this. As evidence, I present my friend and roommate, who I dragged to the movie with me. He expected to hate the film and instead laughed with me the entire time.


I’m not sure why everyone these days insists that a comedic movie need either be ridiculously perverse and juvenile humor or casual humor in a gripping epic emotional train-wreck, but if you want something which is simply smart, fresh, and not a little messed up, then The Men Who Stare at Goats will probably be a good bet for you.


Also, I still hate Bryan Singer for making Superman. I hope he never forgives himself.

Christian Roeber, Fanbase Press Contributor



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