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Archive for November 9th, 2009

No goats. No glory.

The Men Who Stare at Goats

Directed by Grant Heslov who co wrote Good Night, and Good Luck with George Clooney, The Men Who Stare at Goats, can only be described as bizarre. The film purports to be based on the true storey of the U.S. Army’s First Earth Battalion. A group of psychic soldiers who use paranormal powers in their missions and refer to themselves as Jedi warriors. So how did producer George Clooney get Star Wars alumni Ewan McGregor to co-star with him? Maybe it was a phone call that went something like this:

  • George – Hi is that Ewan?
  • Ewan – Yes who is this?
  • George -Hi Ewan this is George
  • Ewan – George who?
  • George – Clooney, you remember me, I used to be a doctor then I killed the Batman franchise.
  • Ewan – Oh hi George, How’s it going?
  • George – Good thanks, look I have this film I’m producing and Brad is busy with the wife and kids.
  • Ewan -So you thought of me, what’s it all about?
  • George – Well I play a Jedi warrior.
  • Ewan – Are you taking the piss? Is that Ashton Kutcher?
  • George – No its me, George, honest.
  • Ewan – Okay so what’s it really about?
  • George – It really is about Jedi warriors.
  • Ewan – Sorry George, I have done my time on that one I want to make real films.
  • George – It is a real film with none of that green screen crap.
  • Ewan – go on.
  • George – Well I’ve got Jeff Bridges to play the Jedi master and Kevin Spacey is interested in playing the Jedi who goes to the dark side.
  • Ewan – Oh that’s good, he isn’t a bad actor is he, I had to make do with that Hayden kid.
  • George – So are you interested?
  • Ewan -Well I was going to go on a bike ride with John Boorman’s kid.
  • George – You’ve already done that crap.
  • Ewan – Okay I’ll think about it.
  • George – I forgot to tell you it’s a true story.

Whatever happened the film got made it, set in 2002 George Clooney plays Lyn Cassidy a former member of the aforementioned Earth Battalion. Ewan McGregor plays a journalist who travels to Iraq to cover the war following a separation from his wife. A chance meeting between the pair starts an unusual mission that may or may not be destiny. As the mission plays out see flashbacks of the origins of the formation and fall of the Earth Battalion. Ultimately the film is disposable fun, but fun is the key word, it is often hilariously funny and at its best it is reminiscent of the Coen brothers. Ewan McGregor plays his part well, Jeff “The Dude” Bridges is always watchable and Kevin Spacey plays his part with relish but this is Clooney’s film all the way. His character seems to draw on all his past performances and you can see parts of Everett (from O Brother, Where Art Thou?), Mr. fox, Danny Ocean and Jack Foley in this character. I don’t see the film appearing many peoples list of favourite films but equally I don’t think many viewers will be disappointed by it.

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