Monday, November 09, 2009

Movie review: The Men Who Stare At Goats

I know, I get out almost every Tuesday for poker league and once a month on most months to go to my whiskey club, but every now and then, a guy just wants to see a guy movie with the guys and maybe tip a few cold, tasty, bubbling beverages.

I had beers with the guys in a bar on a Friday night!

The occasion was the new movie "The Men Who Stare At Goats."

I often wonder how I should write movie reviews. Several people had tweeted messages to me that I needed to write one for this movie. Have you seen the trailer??? It's HILARIOUS! But trailers are sometimes just compilations of the funniest scenes and when you get to theater, you realize...yep, the trailer was pretty much it. Just for reference, here's the trailer again:

Amongst my guy friends, this movie was a must see. That doesn't happen all that often any more. Most of the movies we see are rated G or at best PG-13. I mean, holy cow, this was an R rated movie...and the trailer basically promises that there's not one second of romance or "chick flick" anything. It's all dude.

3 of us made a plan to meet at a bar, have a couple of brews, listen to some horrifically bad female singer butcher songs we hated when they were new. I mean they did a cover of "500 Miles" by the Proclaimers. Who does this in public? why would you torture us this way? I mean, for the love of Pete...that song sucked the first time, now, you sing it different keys? Ok, the singing sucked big giant rocks, but the beers were awesome (I should review beers more often, a good excuse to drink them, don't ya think?). Nummy good independent breweries. Mmmm.

We left the sounds of sing death behind and moved to the theater. Did you know that the theater we went to serves tap beer in a 32 ounce cup? Holy shit! I got a bottle cuz it was smaller. Someone needed to be a grown up. Of course the other 2 guys got the 32 oz. cup (seems like there must be a bigger word then cup)...never drink beer at a bar, then go to the theater and order one that big. Once the seal was broken, guys our age will need to get up and run a few times...just sayin'.

So, how does one write a review of this movie without basically giving away the movie? I have no idea. Let me just start with saying I really enjoyed it. It was very funny. All of the actors were great and I think there's a good chance I might just go again. Now, if you don't want to read any further, that's fine, at least you know where I stand and can judge for yourself the movie but please stop back later and compare notes, kay?

I'm removing my spoiler filter now. Quit reading if you don't want to know anything...

The movie starts by looking at the life of Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor). He's kind of a loser. He's a journalist in a small town along with his wife. In the course of his journalistic pursuits, he interviews a local man, Gus Lacey (Stephen Root). Gus lives with his mother. He's also pretty much a loser and a crack pot. He claims to be a remote viewer and has been watching the Lock Ness monster from his home here in Michigan. Yeah. When asked about these abilities, he goes on to tell the story of his time in the army. He was in an elite group of psychic warriors trained by our government, the best of which was a soldier named Lyn Cassidy. Um...kay.

Bob's pretty sure that he wants something more from his life. His wife, figures out she wants to be a tramp and shack up with another guy. So Bob does what any loser does that wants to prove his manliness, he travels to Iraq to be an embedded journalist.

When he gets there, he quickly realizes that being in Kuwait, living in a hotel is not really all that much adventure. Of course, he's calling the Mrs back home and trying to impress (or scare her) with all the great danger he's in. Not sure, but since the call we here is interrupted by her boyfriend she really doesn't care.

The movie takes a turn when Bob is getting some English lessons from a waiter, he notices that the guy at the table next him reading the newspaper has the name Lyn Cassidy (George Clooney) embroidered on his shirt. Hm...

Bob quickly springs into action and finds out that this is indeed the Lyn Cassidy he's heard about. Lyn goes on to start telling him about the First Earth Battalion. Lyn says he's been reactivated and is on a special mission into Iraq. Bob can't wait! He's gotta know more! He'll tag along with Lyn and Lyn will be his big story.

What happens from here on out explains the whole First Earth Battalion, the members, it's founding, it's philosophy, all while these two men travel in a hostile country. The hi jinx and stories are hysterical but the joy I got from this movie was it just wasn't a slapstick funny thing after funny thing ha ha. There's something more here.

This movie is really a story about men becoming disillusioned with the foundation of what they thought made them who they are and finding a new, more insightful understanding of who they are and why they are here.

*Spoiler Alert! One thing you notice about Lyn is that most of the time, he's never really demonstrating any psychic ability. Sure, he does a cloud burst (he stares at a cloud until it magically disappears...over a desert), but almost all instances of "Jedi powers" are easily explained and coincidences abound. Giving everyone around you LSD can sure make you seem special.

In the end, they accomplish their mission: they find out who. They find their own inner strengths. Lyn flies off into the sunset and Bob gets his big story...which of course is dismissed by everyone in the news biz, but who cares. He doesn't really because he's not got the inner strength of know who he really is to himself.

It was this deeper story that made the movie so entertaining for me. I love movies that show great personal journeys of discovery.

Would I see it again? Absolutely. Will I watch it at home? Absolutely. Will I drink to tall glasses of beer in a bar, head to the theater and drink a 32 oz glass of some domestic mass produced beer? Maybe. I guy gets thirsty.

Have you seen this movie yet? Are you planning on it? What did you think??? If you write a review on your blog, let me know, link it here, I'd love to read it! You think 32 oz glasses of beer are too big to serve...well, I don't know what you can do about that. Just let me know about this movie!


WeaselMomma said...

This movie is on my must see list, so I guess I really am much more on of the guys than a chick. I stopped reading before any spoilers but am very happy to see you posting.

PJ Mullen said...

Very cool, the wife and I are planning to see this in two weeks when she has a weekend off from work. And, you're totally right, the Proclaimers song sucked the first time round.

surprised mom said...

I really want to see this movie! Even the title makes me laugh. I know I'll be able to talk The Mister into seeing it with me. Maybe I can talk him into taking me to a bar, sans the bad singing of terrible songs. I didn't read after the spoiler alert, so it will still be new to me.

Wolynski said...

I like "500 Miles", but then I have no taste - I like Abba, too.

Stopped reading before the spoiler. Don't go to movies, but have Netflix - I see everything, but later.

Very good blog.

seashore subjects said...

I haven't seen it, but am planning too. How can you pass up a movie with such a great title?

Tom said...

Haven't seen it, probably won't. Review sounds good though.

As for what to call the 32 oz beer: I'd start with "Tankard" and maybe even "Vat". "Mug" is too small, as is "Flagon". Yeah... I'd go with "Vat".