The Men Who Stare at Goats
The Men who Stare at Goats ~ Take a whole lot Coen brothers flavor and mix well with the typical content of late night radio’s Coast to Coast AM, and you’ve got The Men who Stare at Goats.
Director Grant Heslov and screenwriter Peter Straughan want very badly to be the Coen brothers that it hurts. You can feel it through the screen. And just about the only good thing that can be said about this particular factor of the film is that this is much much better than the Coen’s last project, Burn After Reading. Though they both had George Clooney, I don’t think you could pay me to see Burn again. Goats, I’ll definitely see again, but I’ll wait ‘til it’s on disc.
The story is based supposedly on fact, but mostly based on the book of the same name by Jon Ronson, the notorious British gonzo journalist and documentary filmmaker who frequently stalks secret organizations and conspiracy theories. Crazy stuff, yes, but also enjoyable. Hey, if I didn’t love this stuff myself I would be a C2C AM fan, and would consequently get a lot more sleep.
In this semi-autobiographical semi-truthful film, Ewan McGregor, Jedi Knight from those Star Wars flicks, plays a fictionalized version of Ronson who meets up with George Clooney – a real live super-soldier Jedi warrior with psychic powers who’s on a secret mission for the government in Afghanistan. From there, hilarity and an amusing montage of flashbacks ensue. The juxtaposition alone of McGregor not buying the Jedi talk is funny enough, but Clooney’s quirky Lyn Cassady is a hoot.
While the story falls apart late in the film, the performances are all high quality and entertaining. Another Coen favorite Jeff Bridges is very good as the new age Jedi master as is Kevin Spacey as another of his more smarmy students. The interplay between all the actors is cohesive, especially with Clooney and McGregor when the flick is in its buddy movie phase. This is good stuff. Recommended, but be prepared for a wacky ride. Heck, this could be a Coen film, a good one.