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No Goats, No Glory

  • Jun 12, 2010

THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS is a film about the New Earth Army, a special forces outfit that was formed in the late 70s to become essentially "Jedi Warriors." They were to use the power of Mother Earth and their own innate psychic powers against the enemy in a new and non-traditional type of warfare and in essence change the world forever.  Now this might sound a little unbelievable to all you fans of Sargent Slaughter out there but that part of it is all true. There was in fact a New Earth Army formed in the very late seventies to do exactly that, and if you don't believe me you can either read the non-fiction book of the same title upon which this movie was based or watch the interviews with two of the men involved with the unit in the special features section of the DVD.  They even had some mild success killing goats with their minds. Well, one goat. it was standing next to the one they were aiming at but it still counts. Hmmm. Anyhow  I  guess even Uncle Sam was tripping out back then. Groovy, huh?

It seems that this is the kind of movie that you either hate or you love. I'm in the love camp. I love the silliness, and I love it even more because of the reality of that silliness-- and the fact that it just breaks me up thinking about all these macho army types sitting around talking seriously about bending spoons. Those who hate the movie have one thing in common and that seems to be that the film lacks direction, it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Everyone seems to like the back-story of how the unit was formed and how they trained well enough--no problems there. But after that most people claim that it comes off the tracks. And it does. The true story of the New Earth Army lacks a satisfying dramatic arc so what's a writer to do?  In this case he seems to have decided to tell the story of how a reporter became a Jedi Warrior. But he told it in such a loose manner that some of his audience was  unaware of it and others didn't get it at all.

I've thought about this for a while and I think I've figured out where the movie went wrong and unfortunately what ruined it for these many is also one of the most brilliant things about the film. How's that for a dichotomy?You see somewhere along the line (probably quite early) someone said " We should get Ewan McGregor! Who would make a better Jedi Warrior?" Perfect casting, a brilliant idea. The audience would love it, and they did love it. Except for the ones who hated it.

Maybe the Coen Brothers should have made this film.

HYPE FACTOR: Very High...second viewing necessary


Groovy Groovy Groovy No Goats, No Glory No Goats, No Glory Groovy

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April 09, 2011
I really enjoyed this one as well, great review.
September 26, 2010
I dont know if i want to see this. It looks wierd.
September 27, 2010
It's weird, but not as weird as it could be. The oddest part of it is that the Army really did this!
July 12, 2010
I haven't seen this one yet; it slipped my mind till I read your review. Sounds like I may like it a little if only for the comedy of it. Great review!
July 13, 2010
Thanks. I found it funny and I hope you will too. If not, there's always Clooney--although he lookds rather strange here. a little like Stacy Keach.
June 25, 2010
I'm with you on this one. I thought this movie was funny, the cast was great. I guess I get why people didn't like it, but I really enjoyed it. Great review! ha, I'm a recent Clooney-convert as well. :)
July 02, 2010
Me too. I have NO idea why it took me so long, but now I get it! I loved him in INTOLERABLE CRUELTY which is also a Coen Bros flick. I could really see Cary Grant doing that sort of role if he were contemporary with them. Maybe Clooney is Grant re-incarnated. That would explain a lot.
June 13, 2010
I have to say, this went to the bottom of my queve after this movie got mixed reviews. I was planning on seeing it but I got diverted somewhere else. Glad to see you finally reviewing again, Karen. I do like silliness and you know I usually see things from two view points...I think I may like this because of things that you've described. Great work!
June 13, 2010
Here we were divided along generational lines. I liked it, my daughter loved it, and I'm farily certain my mother (if she were still alive) would have loathed it.
June 13, 2010
Who was the jerk who rated this all 1s and then didn't even have the gall to post a comment? That's a cowardly way to vote whoever you are...

Anyway, Queenie, I see you segued off of my comment on how I felt about Ewan McGregor, who played a Jedi, playing a character who continually references Jedi. Too self-referential, I believe I accused it of being. I still hold true on that. I also think that Jeff Bridges and George Clooney should have been the focus of the film more than McGregor.
June 13, 2010
I probably would have set this film back at the time when the unit was developing, But for better or worse this is the way they decided to go. Maybe I've got the troll now and I'll be flagged. =)
June 13, 2010
Yeah, that was my general feeling to. Other than the scenes with McGregor and Clooney in the desert, the whole contemporary part of the story could have been taken out and I would've been happier.
June 13, 2010
I'm sure they had some sort of silly rational for setting it in the present but they really should have rethought that idea.
More The Men Who Stare At Goats reviews
review by . November 08, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
The Men Who Stare At Goats looks like an interesting film in and of itself.  The previews make it seem funny and enjoyable.  Almost like something ripped out of a Coen Brothers film.  And yes, there are some kooky and strange moments--and there's quite a bit of humor.  But when all is said and done, you'll walk out of the theater trying to contemplate what the movie was trying to say... if it was really trying to say anything all.  Is it intersting?  Sure.  Is …
Quick Tip by . July 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Smart, funny movie that carefully blends the comedy throughout. It is hard to believe that some of the most funny scenes are based on real events.
Quick Tip by . April 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Tries far too hard to be clever & quirky & just comes off as inane and weird. The acting is good, but the script & direction are weak.
review by . November 22, 2009
I missed the first 2 or 3 minutes of this movie, as I was waiting in line at the concessions stand stocking up on Popcorn for everyone who went with me to this movie. When I came back, my friend leaned over and whispered into my ear: "At the beginning they had a line that said, 'more true than you would believe.' "      They weren't lying.      The quirky title of "The Men Who Stare at Goats" fits perfectly with the quirky story and even …
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karen ()
Ranked #17
I am the poster child for inertia. Where ever I am is where I plan to stay FOREVER.   So much so in fact that it took me decades to understand the punchline about why   the chicken … more
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About this movie


The Men Who Stare at Goats is a 2009 comedy film by director Grant Heslov released in theaters on November 6, 2009. It is based on the book of the same title by author Jon Ronson, an account of Ronson's investigation of attempts by US military forces to use psychic powers
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Director: Grant Heslov
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: November 6, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Peter Straughan
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2010
Runtime: 94 minutes
Studio: BBC Films
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