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The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)

 -  Comedy | War  -  6 November 2009 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 96,394 users   Metascore: 54/100
Reviews: 261 user | 267 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

A reporter in Iraq might just have the story of a lifetime when he meets Lyn Cassady, a guy who claims to be a former member of the U.S. Army's New Earth Army, a unit that employs paranormal powers in their missions.

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(screenplay), (book)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dave (as Todd Latourrette)
Brad Grunberg ...
Ron
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Storyline

A reporter, trying to lose himself in the romance of war after his marriage fails, gets more than he bargains for when he meets a special forces agent who reveals the existence of a secret, psychic military unit whose goal is to end war as we know it. The founder of the unit has gone missing and the trail leads to another psychic soldier who has distorted the mission to serve his own ends. Written by Rob Harris

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No goats. No glory.

Genres:

Comedy | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some drug content and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

6 November 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hombres de mentes  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,211,791 (UK) (6 November 2009)

Gross:

$32,416,109 (USA) (29 January 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jeff Bridges' character Bill Django is, in fact, based on Army Lt. Colonel Jim Channon, who wrote the First Earth Battalion field manual (which is shown in the film). Just like Django, Channon took a leave of absence (with pay) from the Army to go on a fact-finding tour of the New Age Movement in the mid-1970s before coming back and writing the First Earth Battalion manual. The movie, based on the book by Jon Ronson, combines two or three separate programs - the Army's Remote Viewing program (run by the Army's Intelligence and Security Command), the "Jedi" program run by the Special Forces, and Jim Channon's First Earth Battalion (which was a concept and a field manual rather than an operational unit). See more »

Goofs

After escaping captivity, Lyn and Bob chase down Mahmud in the pickup truck. In the shots from inside the truck, Mahmud is running in the middle of the road, only veering off at the last moment, while all other shots show him running on the side of the road. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Brigadier General Dean Hopgood: [with great concentration] Boone.
Lieutenant Boone: Yes sir?
Brigadier General Dean Hopgood: I'm going into the next office.
Lieutenant Boone: Yes sir.
Brigadier General Dean Hopgood: [breaks into a sprint, slams into the wall, falls over] Damn it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Although this film is inspired by John Ronson's Book The Men Who Stare At Goats, it is a fiction, and while the characters Lynn Cassady and Bill Django are based on actual persons, Sergeant Glenn Wheaton and Colonel Jim Channon, all other characters are invented or are composites and are not portrayals of actual persons. The filmmakers ask that no one attempt walking through walls, cloudbursting while driving, or staring for hours at goats with the intent of harming them... invisibility is fine. See more »


Soundtracks

I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night
Written by Nancie Mantz and Annette Tucker
Performed by Army Navy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A great way to spend a lazy afternoon with a couple of mates
13 November 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I'm going to say its definitely up there in the top few films I've seen at the cinema this year. It has been criticised for lacking more biting criticism of the US government, but I think people who are saying that are missing the point. It does have a fair bit to say about how stupid the US Military can be and how they like to blow money on obviously pointless ventures, but there is a whole other side to it.

I thought that the film was more about the human spirit and how that if you want to make a difference and want to do something you've got to really go for it no matter how stupid the aim. Obviously the idea of trying to be a psychic spy is unattainable and may sound ludicrous, but so may be the notion of trying to create world peace and help bring different people together over a united cause. The film was more about how these drifters and lost souls managed to find something that they found worthy of pursuing and really devoted themselves to it, and I think this message is more admirable than any side-criticism of the USA.

The film plays out mainly as a buddy movie with Geogre Clooney, who is doing his usual comic act very well, and Ewan McGregor as they head around Iraq not really knowing what they are looking for and getting into loads of hilarious antics along the way. I don't think I've laughed so much in the cinema this year, and the whole audience was laughing along as well.

I thought the structure was hardly groundbreaking, but done really well. Flashbacks involving Jeff Bridges and Clooney help add comic relief during some of the straighter scenes in the film and also at times are used to rack up the tension and reveal interesting insights. It is of course up to your interpretation if the flashbacks are 100% real, because they are told from the point of view of Ewan McGregor, recounting stories that were told to him by Clooney. This sorts out another common criticism that the film is extremely unrealistic, but there are some key scenes saying that Clooney might not be telling the whole truth that I feel have been overlooked.

It isn't going to be Oscar-fare or the greatest thing you'll ever see but with a good cast and a lot of laughs there isn't really going to be a much better way of spending a lazy Saturday afternoon with some popcorn and a buddy or two.


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