THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS. What an awful movie. I saw it last night. Normally I don’t review films or pass myself off as a critic, but, whoa. What was the problem there?
That’s the hard part.
I don’t know………
Something was the matter, that’s for sure. Do you know? I’d like to hear your thoughts.
Was it because I didn’t care about the people? I kinda liked Ewan McGregor, but never thought he ever moved away from the schlub-ness he was saddled with at the start.
George Clooney was sold as The King of this thought-war-stuff, but it took me half the movie to decide that he was really able to do what he said he could… which meant that I was uncertain if Ewan was on a wild goose chase — and was his chasing Clooney and finding he was a fraud the point of the movie? Finally, we buy that George can do what he says, but by then, the story was dead in the water.
George always said he was “on a mission” but we never see him doing anything on purpose… all is random and a bit silly. Then, at the end, he tells Ewan, “The mission is you.” in a gigantic cop out moment.
The Kevin Spacey character is introduced incredibly late. They give him no motivation for disliking George and Jeff Bridges and their program… he just shows up and hates them for no reason and wants to do mean things to them. He is such a weird character, and didn’t have much to do with the plot.
Jeff Bridges is playing a guy a lot like The Dude, which is okay, but he didn’t have much going on. He was just there, being silly. There was a lot of that, silliness… but for no real reason.
I never knew what was going on. Never cared, either.
Upon a lot of reflection and a soapy shower, I think I know what it was that got my legs to start hopping in the theater after fifteen minutes. The simplest thing in all of storytelling, or at least, it’s the first thing they teach you in screenwriting class: what does the character want? I never really had a clue.
Ewan McGregor seems to want to prove himself to his wife, but he doesn’t want anything for HIMSELF. Plus, she’s kind of a loser wife anyway… and the little we know about her makes us want him NOT to be with her… so why is he on this journey anyway? Why were WE on it?
In the end, it was boring. There was no plot. No driving, over-arching action… and I really disliked the movie. It wasn’t really way off the mark, just a little bit off, but all the little bits added up. I wonder if they knew they were in trouble while they were cutting, or did they find out when a paying audience saw it. If you have any thoughts as to why I / you didn’t latch onto a film I really wanted to love… please chime in.