REVIEW: The Men Who Stare At Goats (2009)

Brittany revisits last year’s black-comedy about the U.S. Army’s New Earth Army, a unit that employs paranormal powers in their missions.


When I first heard about this movie, I just sort of blew it off and threw it aside because it didn’t really sound interesting to me. As time went on, hype for it built up, and I started to actually become excited for it because I read some reviews for it saying it was funny and the acting was decent. Boy were they wrong.

I finally watched it the other night, because I refused to see it in theaters, so I decided to wait until it came out on DVD and order it on Netflix. I almost regret wasting my 1 DVD at a time thing on The Men Who Stare at Goats. Though I LOVE George Clooney, I feel like he did this movie just to do something in his spare time.

The movie opens with the narrator and main character (next to George Clooney), Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor), beginning a story about his life. He tells how it used to be and where his true story began. The story sticks on him for a while, then finally it makes its way into the part when Lyn Cassady (Clooney) comes into the story. They meet in France at a cafe after Bob Wilton had just done a story about one of Cassady’s old friends from a special “psychic” unit of the army. After Cassady asks Wilton to join him on his business trip in Iraq and Wilton accepts, the story then does a HUGE back-pedal into years earlier. This part of the movie takes up actually a very large portion of it. It tells of the special army unit, how it was started, and what Lyn Cassady had to do with all of it. Many characters are introduced in this part of the story. Bill Django (Jeff Bridges) was the army officer who went away for a while to peace retreats to find a peaceful way to win war. And it all goes on from there. I won’t give any of it away to those of you who still want to watch it, so I’ll just leave it at that.

The acting in it is okay for what it is. George Clooney is pretty much good in whatever he’s in, but his character is written terribly. At first, I thought it was funny. Some of the things that happened made me laugh, but then it just got dry and boring. I could barely stand the way the other characters were, though all the acting was good for what it had to be. Jeff Bridges is humorous, even though his lines and his character are stupid. He plays the character well. Kevin Spacey’s character is the worst character in the movie, and he doesn’t do much to help it out. Playing the semi-villainous role of the movie, it didn’t fit because his character wasn’t funny, and the annoying lines and stupid drama his character brings to it just don’t fit with the rest of the movie, even if the rest of the movie wasn’t even good.

As you probably got from my paragraph about the acting and characters, the writing for the movie was really bad. Especially since it was advertised as a comedy. It’s more of a very stupid dramedy. Though it really can’t even be classified as that, because it’s not funny or dramatic. But there’s nothing else to classify it as. Basically, this movie baffled me with its stupidity. It’s mindless, though in the beginning you’re led to believe that there’s going to be some super creative story line and that it will be something to really think about and enjoy. It’s not. And although it is creative, because I’ve never seen a movie about killing goats with one’s mind before, it just doesn’t go anywhere at all. Not even close. The conversation is boring, the action is boring, and the “climax” of the movie is boring. The ending isn’t even relatively creative, and I was almost shocked by how bad the ending was.

Okay, so everything I’ve said about The Men Who Stare at Goats so far has been bad for the most part (except that it’s creative), but it’s not ALL bad. The beginning of it is actually decent, and like I said, makes you think that it’s going to go somewhere good. Though it doesn’t, at least it has its beginning. All in all, I had to force myself to sit through the rest of this movie, and I only did that because I was hoping that it would end with some brilliantly funny ending that would just leave me cracking up…or at least thinking about it. But the ending, just like the rest of the movie, didn’t cause any brain cells to even move in my head, except when they were telling my hands to CHANGE THE MOVIE QUICK. So, I guess you could say I’ve seen better.



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