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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW - The Men Who Stare At Goats

And I wanted to love this movie so much. I find myself constantly reminded that Hollywood’s political agenda is becoming more important than their quest for worthwhile art. (Sean Penn’s second Oscar anyone?) Although The Men Who Stare At Goats starts with a promising twenty minutes of humor it eventually spins out of control. What remains is a confused clump of shit that is never sure what to make light of.

Oh, I can praise the incredible cast, sure. McGregor, Clooney, the show stealing Jeff Bridges and Spacey all give praiseworthy performances. After all, these are men that could utter lines written by Mark Steven Johnson and still look great. But why waste such talent on this? They’re never inspiring. They never find conviction. They’re big, glamorous, bores!

As McGregor’s Bob Wilton follows the tree hugging, hippie taught, overacting, mentally deranged psychic warrior Lyn Cassady, (Clooney) we, the audience, get to laugh at the absurd idea of our government funding psychic forces. This should be funny in any time period. But whereas director Grant Heslov finds tragedy in disassembling the psychic military group in the 1960s, he considers its existence a crime in the new millennium.

I’m sorry? Did I miss something? The story was about a reporter following a crazy guy in the Middle East who claims he trained with Jedi. But when they find a newly reformed psychic military base, suddenly, we’re suppose to sympathize with these same, narcotic induced characters and hope they’re hippie ways will… Wait for it… Disassemble the same group updated for today. Why? Because the new group doesn’t connect with the hippie bullshit that the movie was mocking earlier? Or because this movie takes place during the Bush Administration and this is too good [easy] to pass up? Am I stepping on any toes?

Have you kept up with all of this? If not it’s okay. I expect my review to be as much of a mess as the film. Eventually, Clooney, McGregor and Bridges overthrow an entire base by spreading their beliefs of peace and love in the water supply. That’s right dogs and cats. The path to peace is apparently through LSD. Next, our “virtuous” heroes rescue captive Middle Easterners from the torture of Barney’s music on repeat. Never mind the probability that these men bombed and killed a fair amount of their own people. It’s humane and loving to let them go free! Well done. I’m so glad this flick appeals to my inner-pussy.

It amazes me how this movie went from mocking one thing and then using it to criticize another. It’s as if the film had no grasp on it’s issues what-so-ever. I’ve not seen such blatant hypocrisy since John Kerry’s political campaign. Uh oh! I brought politics in to this. How dare I? I’ll stop bringing it up if Heslov does, but maybe that’s giving him too much credit. In this case he simply threw some of cinema’s greatest actors in to a cesspool of incoherent political banter while developing them with the book of clichés. Clooney, McGregor, Spacey, Bridges—You can all part ways now.

* out of ****

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