THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS. Excellently titled excellent fun

Allegedly, in Wyoming, the world’s largest percentage of hillbillies are claimed to be abducted by aliens.


5 February 2024

THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS. Excellently titled excellent fun

Supposedly, significant political decisions are made behind the scenes, and the world is ruled by an enigmatic financial oligarchy controlling everything and everyone. Allegedly, the moon landing was not a fact but a spectacular hoax, with the hand of master Stanley Kubrick involved. Supposedly, Lee Harvey Oswald killed President JFK by firing five shots from three different types of weapons and three different locations in less than 9 seconds. Allegedly, a strange creature subjected to autopsy in a 1947 video does not depict a plastic doll or a child with progeria but an extraterrestrial being from a crashed UFO in Roswell. Allegedly, the end of the world was predicted for 2012, despite Nostradamus’ prophecies extending to the year 4000. Allegedly, the U.S. government funded a group of people who stared at goats to stop their hearts with the power of their minds.

The protagonist of The Men Who Stare at Goats film is Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor), a man unfulfilled in life. Bob struggles in the trap of mediocrity, secretly yearning for great adventures and monumental deeds. He feels the need to prove to himself and others that he is more than just a third-rate journalist delegated by a third-rate newspaper to conduct strange interviews with peculiar people, not necessarily sound of mind. In his aid comes the sudden death of Ron, his colleague from the office. Despite not being the genesis of everything, this unfortunate incident serves as a catalyst for everything. The genesis of future events is rooted in the moment when Gus Lacey (Stephen Root) appears on Bob’s path—a man capable of killing a hamster with a glance. His conversation sheds some light on the dark side of the U.S. military, giving Bob access to knowledge available to very few. Remote viewing. Psycho spies. Killing animals with the power of the mind. Well, this should intrigue Bob. And it does. The little man goes to war, driven by the desire for future glory and the curiosity to explore the unknown. He embarks on a truly surreal adventure, encountering the New Earth Army, Jedi Warriors, and characters like Lyn Cassady (the excellent George Clooney) and Bill Django (the always excellent Jeff Bridges). He meets Lyn at the beginning of his journey and encounters Bill at its end, learning about this colorful character through Lyn’s equally colorful stories (formally enclosed in the framework of comic flashbacks)…

The Men Who Stare at Goats Ewan McGregor George Clooney Kevin Spacey

Lyn Cassady is a retired Jedi Warrior, once the best of the best. He is also an expert in the technique of dazzling eyes, a proponent of the Echmeyer technique (applied by him in a confrontation with Arab kidnappers), and a firm believer in the destructive power of the lethal Dim Mak strike (its phenomenon lies in never knowing when it will take effect). Bill Django, on the other hand, is a legendary commander of the first battalion of the New Earth Army, a fervent advocate and propagator of alternative combat techniques that involve not killing. Bill owes his rich experience to the New Age Movement, where for six continuous years, he engaged in Naked Sessions in Hot Tubs in Santa Rosa, arm wrestling in Sacramento, the Haunted Jogging Movement in Stockton, or even Colon Therapy with Higher Essence sessions in Monterrey. Bill is a Shaman who, with dedication, traversed the wilderness to return and win wars using only the weapon of love and peace, seasoned with a pinch of telepathy, telekinesis, and astral teleportation…

The Men Who Stare at Goats George Clooney Jeff Bridges

That’s enough regarding the characterization of the main characters who appear in the film. It’s worth mentioning another individual: Larry Hooper, cynically portrayed by Kevin Spacey, who is also excellent in this film. This concludes the outline of the plot, which I won’t delve into further, primarily out of consideration for those who haven’t seen the film and might be planning to do so. However, I would like to provide some explanation, perhaps subjective, or maybe not: despite all its merits, The Men Who Stare at Goats is not an outstanding film. It is simply good cinema with aspirations to be something better than it actually is. I suspect the director dreamt of a masterpiece, but it turned out as it did. Grant Heslov tackled serious factual literature (the film is an adaptation of Jon Ronson’s journalistic novel with the same title) and somewhat lost. He grasped an unusual topic, only to break it into pieces, discarding everything that is scary and tragic, leaving only what is cool and amusing. To give credit where it’s due, despite its flaws, The Men Who Stare at Goats is undeniably a fun and amusing film, excellently cast and performed (as previously mentioned).

The Men Who Stare at Goats George Clooney Kevin Spacey

The narrative layer of The Men Who Stare at Goats is weak, and the action consists mainly of a sequence of amusing scenes and dialogues, loosely connected. Certainly, there is some story holding everything together, but it’s not a significant thought that could give meaning to the narrative. This raises the suspicion that the director didn’t have the ambition to create something that could be considered a masterpiece. Perhaps he simply wanted to have fun, and it only seems to us that he had a deeper intention, which is why something might not have worked out as planned. Well, if he just wanted to have fun (along with the actors in not only the main roles), it must be acknowledged that this fun turned out exceptionally well…

The Men Who Stare at Goats Ewan McGregor George Clooney

Allegedly, thought is the cause, and matter is the effect, meaning that if you want something badly enough, it will be given to you. Allegedly, within the next 100 years, Poland will become a global power, and Russia’s dream of power has long since faded. Supposedly, the King of Pop is alive, though everyone thinks he’s dead. Allegedly, the U.S. government funded a group of people who believed they could pass through walls. Supposedly, in all these stories, there is more truth than we might think… The Men Who Stare at Goats

Words by: Boleslaw Dochunski-Duchonski



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