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The Men Who Stare At Goats (2009)

George Clooney , Ewan McGregor , Grant Heslov  |  R |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (260 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges
  • Directors: Grant Heslov
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Overture Films/Anchor Bay Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (260 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002VECMAE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,706 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Men Who Stare At Goats" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Goats Declassified: The Real Men of the First Earth Battalion
  • Project “Hollywood”: A Classified Report from the Set
  • Audio Commentaries
  • Character Bios
  • Deleted Scenes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Hard to define but easy to enjoy, The Men Who Stare at Goats is the preposterous yet more-true-than-not story of a small-town journalist named Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) who, trying to prove himself in Iraq, stumbles upon a man named Lyn Cassady (George Clooney) who claims to be a psychic spy for the U.S. Army. With dazzling cinematic efficiency, the movie bounces back and forth between the origins of the New Earth Army--a squad of American Jedi warriors--and Bob and Lyn wandering through war-torn Iraq, pursuing a mission that turns out to have been assigned by a vision. The movie shifts from giddy comedy to melancholy as a portrait of human pettiness, manifested in military paranoia and corporate greed, unfolds. The ending loses a bit of steam, but most of The Men Who Stare at Goats is a delight--unusual yet satisfying, funny and thoughtful in turns. Jeff Bridges plays--of course--the addled yet charismatic founder of the New Earth Army, while Kevin Spacey plays--of course--the weaselly, manipulative psychic spy who turns what was meant to transform the world for the better into a mechanism for propaganda and worse. Adapted from the bestselling nonfiction book of the same title by British journalist Jon Ronson, The Men Who Stare at Goats niftily balances surface lunacy with serious undercurrents, buoyed by excellent performances from all involved. --Bret Fetzer

Stills from The Men Who Stare At Goats (Click for larger image)









Product Description

In this comedic look at real life events that are almost too bizarre to believe, reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) discovers an experimental top-secret wing of the U.S. military called The New Earth Army, trained to change the ways wars are fought through New Age psychic power.   In search of his next big story, Wilton tracks down Lyn Cassady (Academy Award® winner George Clooney), a shadowy figure who claims to be a member of this legion of “Warrior Monks” with unparalleled psychic powers who can read the enemy’s thoughts, pass through walls, and even kill a goat simply by staring at it.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 80 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
George Clooney, Ewen McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Robert Patrick, Stephen Root, Stephen Lang...THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS has an one of the best cast lineups of any 2009 film (a year in which a lot of good actors made a lot of good movies). The film is based around a supposedly true plot: "psychic warriors" trained to fight terrorists, led by a hippie soldier, attacked by an arrogant Army officer, and infiltrated by a bored investigative reporter and a former psychic soldier. It makes for a great story, and overall, GOATS succeeds brilliantly; it is a delightful, at times dark film (the last 20 minutes or so get so dark, you'll wish the whole film had been this gutsy) that proposes a lot of questions, and doesn't bother answering them (like any good satire should).

However, something's lacking. Peter Straughan's script isn't up to par; and Grant Heslov's directing seems at times undecided. The acting is fine--Clooney is understated; Bridges is himself; Spacey is delightfully off-kilter; and watching McGregor deadpan the question "What's a Jedi?" is just good geeky fun--but the film itself doesn't live up to the cast's combined talents. The end result is a film that's certainly an enjoyable watch, even laugh-out-loud funny in spots (though it's overall a subtle comedy; this isn't slapstick, it's satire), but doesn't have the lasting effect something with this weight should. The ending is ultimately a let-down; a lot of build up for very little. That's not to say the movie isn't worth your time; if you enjoy intellectual comedies, you'll definitely want to check it out. However, unlike others of the genre--DR.
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55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
An extraordinarily talented and experienced international law enforcement officer watched this on loan from me before I saw it, and hated it. Now that I have watched it myself, I understand--if you have not been deeply engaged with CIA and all of its idiocyncrasies including remote viewing, acoustic-kitty, the pigeons that came before Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), and then over to SOF (Special Operations Forces) where "unconventional" had to go covert to survive the straight-leg generals with no clue, you will simply not appreciate this movie.

DanD nails it--this is satire and also a brilliant documentary of what can only be decribed as a well-intentioned long-running Goat F..k. The movie is a collage of several different real initiatives including the First Earth Battalion (I knew a couple of the principals, decades ahead of their time); the Peace Warrior initiative, and of course Remote Viewing, the CIA's notorious MKULTRA and LSD for unwitting victims, and so on.

At one point in the movie the two principal actors are discussing the remorse--the angst--over having used his power to actually kill a goat with his mind, and the other guy pops in with "Silence of the Goats." That just about sums it up--this is, for someone steeped in the well-intentioned lunacy of the past--a perfect five, and I have to believe that the world-class actors that decided to do this did it knowing that it would be misunderstood by many, but a real hoot among the veterans of the seventies and eighties.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated War Satire Delivers on DVD March 22, 2010
By Cubist
Format:DVD
After making serious political films like Syriana (Widescreen Edition) and Good Night, and Good Luck (Widescreen Edition), it's nice to see George Clooney starring in a political satire that is funny but still has something to say as it shows the absurdity of the war in Iraq. The Men Who Stare at Goats falls under the truth is stranger than fiction category as it presents a story populated by eccentric characters and tall tales, some of which might be true. Regardless, it is an entertaining film with a wonderfully oddball sense of humor. Don't be put off by the setting. Although it takes place in Iraq, The Men Who Stare at Goats is not weighed down by the baggage of this war.

There is an audio commentary by the film's director Grant Heslov. He points out certain characters that are composites but is quick to explain that what they say comes from Jon Ronson's book The Men Who Stare at Goats. He sometimes spends too much time telling us where certain scenes were shot which gets tiresome pretty fast. Heslov's focus is mostly on the nuts and bolts of filmmaking but done in a fairly dry and uninteresting way.

Also included is a commentary by the book's author Jon Ronson. He points out the scenes that are based on real incidents and talks about meeting the actual people that the characters are based on. He also explains who the composite characters are and tells all sorts of fascinating anecdotes.
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Topic From this Discussion
Funny
I have read many of the reviews of this movie. I realize that I am part of a smallish group, maybe just like the Jedi's in the movie are a smallish group. Either you get it or you don't. This is one of the best movies I've ever seen, period.
Mar 3, 2011 by Phoebe Saffold |  See all 2 posts
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