[Screen It]

 

"THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS"
(2009) (George Clooney, Ewan McGregor) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Extreme Moderate Extreme Mild Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Extreme None Mild None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Mild Heavy Heavy Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: After his wife leaves him, a newspaper reporter turned war correspondent learns all about a secret division of the U.S. military while tagging along through 2003 Iraq with an American man who claims to be a psychic soldier.
PLOT:
It's 2003 and Bob Wilton (EWAN McGREGOR) is a reporter for the Ann Arbor Daily Telegram who has to cover weird subjects, such as Gus Lacey (STEPHEN ROOT) who claims he's a former psychic spy trained by the military to kill animals with his mind. Bob thinks he's crazy, but forgets about it when his wife runs off with his editor.

In response and to prove something to himself, Bob goes over to the Middle East to cover the American invasion of Iraq, but finds himself stuck in Kuwait unable to get across the border. That is, until he meets Lyn Cassady (GEORGE CLOONEY), a man that Gus happened to mention as being the most powerful of the psychic warriors. It's only when Lyn realizes that Bob is something of a kindred spirit does he give the reporter the scoop on what he's about.

It turns out Army man Bill Django (JEFF BRIDGES), having learned in Vietnam that some soldiers purposefully avoid shooting the enemy, came up with a new philosophy for winning wars. Namely, that was through peace rather than war with the New Earth Army, approved by Brigadier General Dean Hopgood (STEPHEN LANG) and consisting of various soldiers with psychic abilities, such as Gus, Lyn and others. But things changed with the addition of Larry Hooper (KEVIN SPACEY) who was jealous of Lyn's abilities and related accolades.

Back in the present, Lyn informs Bob that he's really not retired, but instead is on a covert operation. The two then head through the desert where they end up freeing local hostage Mahmud Daash (WALEED ZUAITER), and later run into military contractor Todd Nixon (ROBERT PATRICK) and his men, all as Bob learns about the secret and bizarre division of the U.S. military.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might be interested, especially if they're fans of anyone in the cast or goofy-looking satires.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language, some drug content and brief nudity.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • EWAN McGREGOR plays a newspaper reporter who becomes a war correspondent after his wife leaves him for his editor. While waiting to get into Iraq, he meets Lyn and becomes his traveling companion, learning all about the New Earth Army. He uses strong profanity, drinks, and isn't always happy about the situations in which he finds himself.
  • GEORGE CLOONEY plays the most powerful of the psychic soldiers used by the U.S. military and claims to be retired, but is traveling through Iraq on a mission he keeps close to the vest. He uses strong profanity, drinks, and must contend with his best days seemingly being behind him.
  • KEVIN SPACEY plays another psychic soldier who was jealous of Lyn in the past and thus sabotaged the New Earth Army program by giving another soldier LSD. He smokes cigars a few times and uses profanity.
  • JEFF BRIDGES plays the hippie-style leader of the New Earth Army who believes in military victory through positive vibes and psychic abilities rather than conflict. He cusses, uses LSD (and submits others to the same), drinks, and must contend with his vision falling out of favor.
  • ROBERT PATRICK plays a type-A leader of a military contractor unit working in Iraq.
  • WALEED ZUAITER plays an Iraqi man who's a fellow hostage with Bob and Lyn.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated comedy. Profanity consists of at least 25 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Non-explicit, sexually related dialogue is present, as are several instances of nudity (bare breasts, male bare butts).

    Several people are shot in a Vietnam flashback (a little of that has bloody results, while a pile of dead bodies is briefly seen in the same scene) and others in a brief gun battle in Iraq, while a scene ends right before a handgun suicide. Some slapstick style material occurs, while there's some violence against animals played for comedy. Some fighting and other contact occurs, and some people are threatened with guns.

    Bad attitudes are present, and some viewers might not like the film using intended violence toward animals as comedic material. There's purposeful (LSD and pot) and unintentional (LSD) drug use, while characters also drink and there's brief smoking. All sorts of potentially imitative behavior is present (including spiking others food/drink with drugs), as is some tense family material and thematic elements.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's a flashback featuring flashing lights, while later in the film, strobes flash around a boy kept locked in a small room.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some bouncy footage from inside a truck.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see Bob with an empty liquor glass.
  • Lyn and Bob have drinks, and Lyn then has another.
  • About prepping himself for his psychic work, Lyn tells Bob that he finds drinking helps.
  • During a montage of things Bill went through after his Vietnam experience, we see some people sharing a joint in a hot tub.
  • We see that Bill has written amphetamines on a list of useful things, and he comments on that.
  • Various people have wine with dinner.
  • People have drinks at a wedding reception.
  • Lyn has a beer.
  • We see a flashback to Larry secretly giving another soldier LSD as an experiment, accompanied by flashing lights.
  • Larry lies to his superiors about Bill using funds for hookers, but Bill then admits that allegations about him spending such money on drugs for him and his men are true.
  • Lyn injects himself in the shoulder with a syringe full of an unknown liquid (but based on a later revelation, it's implied it's medicine of some sort).
  • A comment is made about a subliminal message stating not to get drunk before firing a machine gun.
  • Larry states that Bill is probably burned out on the booze.
  • We see a bottle of booze by Bill.
  • Bob and Bill tell Lyn not to eat the eggs at a military installation as they laced them with LSD. We then see Larry and others reacting to that, with Bill saying he also laced the water, which all of them have had. They and others trip on that, except for Bill who states he's developed a massive tolerance to narcotics. A soldier tripping on LSD drives a tank through a fence, and Larry aims his handgun at Lyn, before putting it in his own mouth and then stating he's hungry and wandering off. Bob then comments on Lyn and Bill flying off in a chopper while tripping on acid.
  • Bob's wife and his editor have wine.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see flashback footage of Bill in Vietnam spotting a pile of dead bodies (with the accompanying sound of flies). Bill is then shot in the chest, and we see blood soak through his shirt.
  • During a montage of things Bill went through after his Vietnam experience, we hear of him getting a colonic irrigation, but don't see the act (just his pained/fearful expression).
  • About dealing with some kidnappers, Lyn tells Bob to imagine a bloody scene as part of his psychic disincentive aimed at them (no blood is seen).
  • Mahmud has a red abrasion mark on his face.
  • There's a little blood soaked through a bandage on Bob's head.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • While interviewing a man who talks about a ghost of a dinosaur and having psychic abilities, Bob writes "You are crazy" in his notes.
  • Some viewers might not comedic violence that's aimed at animals. That includes Gus showing a video from the past where he psychically causes a hamster to fall over in its cage. We also see a flashback where a Russian researcher applies electrodes to a cat (no shock is applied) and then holds a lit cigarette near a kitten, but no contact is made. Later, we see a flashback to a goat lab that was originally used to train soldiers or medics how to treat field wounds (we see one goat with a bandage on its leg, as well as a quick view of a gun being held to a dog's leg along with the comment that the latter didn't go over well, and thus the use of goats). We also see a goat tied up in the desert to be exposed to a nuclear blast, but don't see the latter. That's followed by another scene where Lyn stares at a goat, trying to kill it with his mind. After a few moments, the goat falls over to the floor dead.
  • While eating at his desk, Bob's coworker has a fatal heart attack, falls forward and his head hits the desk hard (some viewers might not like that played for comedy).
  • A kidnapper aims a handgun at Lyn and Bob after picking them up and then kidnapping them. We then learn that he and others have kidnapped Mahmud as well.
  • We see a flashback to Lyn as a child, dancing to music, when his dad spots him and states, "Stop acting so f*cking queer."
  • In a flashback at their wedding, Larry informs a newly married couple that it's not going to work for them (from his psychic view of their future).
  • Despite knowing his name, Nixon repeatedly calls Mahmud "Mohammed."
  • Nixon tells a joke of "What's the most common French expression?" "I give up."
  • We see a flashback to Larry secretly giving another soldier LSD as an experiment, accompanied by flashing lights.
  • Larry lies to his superiors about Bill using funds for hookers, but Bill then admits that allegations about him spending such money on drugs for him and his men are true.
  • Lyn discovers that the American military has kids locked in small isolation rooms where strobes flash and a Barney song repeatedly plays.
  • Bob and Bill tell Lyn not to eat the eggs at a military installation as they laced them with LSD. We then see Larry and others reacting to that, with Bill saying he also laced the water, which all of them have had.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material, but probably few others (based on the film's overall goofy rather than realistic nature).
  • A kidnapper aims a handgun at Lyn and Bob after picking them up and then kidnapping them.
  • While tripping on LSD, Larry aims his handgun at Lyn, before putting it in his own mouth and then stating he's hungry and wandering off.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Explosives: Carried and/or used to kill or threaten others and/or cause property damage (the latter in terms of bombs exploding). See "Violence" for details.
  • We see various forms of military vehicles and equipment, including a tank of sorts, an armored transport vehicle with a machine gun mounted up top, military choppers, and soldiers carrying machine guns and such.
  • A kidnapper aims a handgun at Lyn and Bob after picking them up and then kidnapping them.
  • We see a flashback to a psychic doing a knife demo, handling two and then jumping with them (and the implication that he accidentally stabbed himself, but we don't see that).
  • Nixon and his men aim their guns at Lyn, Bob and Mahmud upon first meeting them.
  • A comment is made about a subliminal message stating not to get drunk before firing a machine gun.
  • While tripping on LSD, Larry aims his handgun at Lyn, before putting it in his own mouth and then stating he's hungry and wandering off.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "One-armed f*ck-head," "F*ck you (m*therf*cker)," "What the f*ck?" "Stop acting so f*cking queer," "F*ck off," "F*ck the French," "That's f*cking funny," "Bull-f*cking-sh*t," "Holy sh*t," "Piece of sh*t," "I'm just kidding about this sh*t," "Oh sh*t," "That's bullsh*t," "Little pr*ck," "Tough t*tty," "Balls" (testicles), "Nut" (crazy), "Pretty damn hairy," "I wondered what the hell I was doing," "Sick bastards," "What the hell do you know?" "You're an/you idiot," "Freaked out," "Dance, G*ddamn it," an incomplete "Oh for the love of..." and "The silence of the goats."
  • Hopgood runs toward a wall and attempts to will himself through it, but bounces off it and lands on the floor.
  • We see a montage of things Bill went through after his Vietnam experience, including jumping off a roof (we don't see the hard impact below, but it's implied).
  • Lyn demos a small, ordinary looking device on Bob to prove how effective it is (all played for comedy). Lyn hits Bob on the arm with it, slices his face, hits his arm again, and then pokes him in the eyes.
  • Lyn has a tattoo on his chest, as does Bill, while miscellaneous people have different tattoos.
  • We see some of Bill's psychic training, including a person walking barefoot across hot coals, while another drives blindfolded.
  • We see a flashback to a psychic with a large sandbag hanging from his scrotum (we don't see the latter, just the bag and accompanying rope).
  • We see a flashback to a psychic doing a knife demo, handling two and then jumping with them (and the implication that he accidentally stabbed himself, but we don't see that).
  • Nixon tells a joke of "What's the most common French expression?" "I give up."
  • We see a distant view of a psychic with a cable attached to his chest (pulling the skin out) and a heavy weight on the other end.
  • We see a flashback to Larry secretly giving another soldier LSD as an experiment, accompanied by flashing lights.
  • Larry whacks Lyn on the forehead with a "death touch" (supposedly delivering a fatal blow that could take years to finally do the job).
  • Bob and Bill tell Lyn not to eat the eggs at a military installation as they laced them with LSD. We then see Larry and others reacting to that, with Bill saying he also laced the water, which all of them have had.
  • While tripping on LSD, Larry aims his handgun at Lyn, before putting it in his own mouth and then stating he's hungry and wandering off.
  • Bob runs toward and then disappears through a wall.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of playfully presented, suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 25 "f" words (1 used with "mother"), 14 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals ("pr*ck"), 1 for breasts ("t*tty"), 3 damns, 2 hells, 1 crap, 1 incomplete S.O.B., 9 uses of "Jesus," 2 of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "God" and "Oh Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a montage of things Bill went through after his Vietnam experience, including naked hot tub encounters, where men and women share hot tubs (we see bare breasts). In the first view, Bill appears bored and is turned away, but in a later view, he's engaged with the others, but no sexual activity occurs.
  • We see a flashback to a psychic with a large sandbag hanging from his scrotum (we don't see the latter, just the bag and accompanying rope).
  • We see a flashback to Larry secretly giving another soldier LSD as an experiment, followed by a later distant view of that man walking outside, fully nude (rear view), randomly firing a handgun.
  • Larry lies to his superiors about Bill using funds for hookers, but Bill then admits that allegations about him spending such money on drugs for him and his men are true.
  • We see a distant view of Lyn and Bob walking along in hospital gowns that are open in the back, thus showing glimpses of their bare butts.
  • Some bad Iraqi propaganda is read, informing American soldiers that their wives are back home having sex with Bart Simpson and Burt Reynolds.
  • We see a shirtless soldier, while Bill partly tears his own shirt open, showing part of his bare chest.
  • SMOKING
  • Larry smokes cigars at least twice, while a miscellaneous person smokes a cigarette.
  • We see a flashback (played for laughs) where a Russian researcher holds a lit cigarette near a kitten, but no contact is made.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Bob learns that his wife is leaving him for his editor. We then see footage of Bob yelling, throwing a lamp and then a framed photo, followed by his one-armed editor having Bob in a headlock (via the editor's prosthetic arm).
  • We see a flashback to Lyn as a child, dancing to music, when his dad spots him and states, "Stop acting so f*cking queer."
  • Bob comments on Mahmud's neighbors telling him (Mahmud) that his wife left (after their house was robbed and shot up -- not seen).
  • The military father of a soldier who committed suicide (while on LSD) is briefly seen at a trial about that.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The film's allegation that parts of it are true (regarding military interest in using psychic abilities).
  • The film as a satire on the U.S. military.
  • We see a flashback to Lyn as a child, dancing to music, when his dad spots him and states, "Stop acting so f*cking queer."
  • We hear that a character has cancer.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Most of the following is played as goofy comedy/satire rather than graphic realism.
  • Hopgood runs toward a wall and attempts to will himself through it, but bounces off it and lands on the floor.
  • Gus shows a video from the past where he psychically causes a hamster to fall over in its cage.
  • Bob learns that his wife is leaving him for his editor. We then see footage of Bob yelling, throwing a lamp and then a framed photo, followed by his one-armed editor having Bob in a headlock (via the editor's prosthetic arm).
  • We see distant explosions in Bagdad from news coverage of the U.S. invasion there.
  • We see flashback footage of Bill falling from a chopper in Vietnam and landing hard on the ground. He then joins his men, sees a pile of dead bodies, and a person then shoots one of his men. The others fire back with machine guns, but purposefully aim high to avoid hitting the shooter who then fires and gets Bill in the chest, downing him (with blood soaking through his shirt).
  • We see a montage of things Bill went through after his Vietnam experience, including jumping off a roof (we don't see the hard impact below, but it's implied).
  • Lyn demos a small, ordinary looking device on Bob to prove how effective it is (all played for comedy). Lyn hits Bob on the arm with it, slices his face, hits his arm again, and then pokes him in the eyes.
  • While driving through the desert, Lyn accidentally drives into a rock, causing the vehicle to stop suddenly, with Bob's head hitting the windshield or dash, and Lyn's hitting the air bag.
  • Lyn flips Bob to the floor while demoing a move on him.
  • A kidnapper aims a handgun at Lyn, with that man or another repeatedly shooting at Bob as he flees. Lyn then rushes toward and dives onto an armed man. He hits him and then aims his handgun at another to stop him from shooting (all of that's played lightly by the film).
  • We see a flashback to a psychic doing a knife demo, handling two and then jumping with them (and the implication that he accidentally stabbed himself, but we don't see that).
  • While driving after Mahmud who's running away, Lyn accidentally hits him with his truck (but Mahmud is okay).
  • A backfire in an Iraqi city prompts a gun battle between two groups of security forces, with at least one person hit in the crossfire, and talk of others also being shot.
  • We see a flashback to Larry secretly giving another soldier LSD as an experiment, accompanied by flashing lights. We then see that man breaking furniture, followed by randomly firing a handgun outdoors, causing other soldiers to flee. That man then puts the gun to his head and shoots himself (not seen).
  • We see a distant view of Lyn and Bob driving along a desert road when an IED blows their car into the air and flips it over. Both men are injured but able to walk away and then through the desert (played for comedy).
  • We see a flashback to Lyn staring at a goat, trying to kill it with his mind. After a few moments, the goat falls over to the floor dead.
  • Larry whacks Lyn on the forehead with a "death touch" (supposedly delivering a fatal blow that could take years to finally do the job).
  • Larry throws a computer disc at a subordinate.
  • Bill falls off a platform but is okay.
  • A soldier on LSD drives a tank through a fence.



  • Reviewed October 29, 2009 / Posted November 6, 2009

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Animal Crackers] [Most Wanted] [Radioactive] [The Rental]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2020 Screen It, Inc.