Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Goats Beware: Clooney new tricks up his sleeve that may cause your heart to stop

George Clooney brings audiences back in time with his new film, “The Men Who Stare at Goats.” Based on the nonfiction book by Jon Ronson, “The Men Who Stare at Goats” follows journalist Bob Wilton as he goes to Iraq in order to find his next big story.

Humor is aplenty in this wonderfully crafted film by Grant Heslov. A satirical take on the U.S. military during the 1980s, “Goats” is a laugh-out-loud comedy with plenty of inside jokes and LSD-driven bouts of insanity.

While the plot is a bit ridiculous – did the U.S. Army really invest money into developing Warrior Monks who could kill goats just by staring at them? – the casting of the film is spectacular.

Ewan McGregor stars as Bob Wilton, accompanied by veteran actor George Clooney, who plays Lyn Cassady, an eccentric man who claims he was part of an army military operation dedicated to exploring psychic abilities as a weapon during the war.

McGregor and Clooney light up the screen with their impeccable timing and easy relationship. Both actors play their parts so perfectly that it is difficult to find fault with their portrayals. Any issue with the characters is attributable to the screenwriting, not the acting ability of the two.

McGregor brings realism to such an extravagant story. As the film’s narrator, he completely immerses the audience into the tale, voicing thoughts and questions as an intelligent, yet desperate and naïve journalist.

Clooney portrays the character of Lyn with a practiced ease only the former “Sexiest Man Alive” could pull off. Lyn is both comedic and contemplative, constantly flashing back to his time in the New Earth Army.

Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey round off the cast as two other Fort Bragg and New Earth Army members. As Bill Django, founder of the New Earth Army, Bridges embraces the hippie-influenced background of his character and once again proves to be a wonderful actor. Spacey, as Lyn Cassady’s former rival, Larry Hooper, reminds audiences everywhere why he has won two Oscars. His stern-faced performance in the beginning and ridiculous LSD-induced wanderings in the end only add to the excellent performances of the ensemble.

The beauty of this film is that comedy has been woven into almost every aspect of the film – the setting, character interaction and character personality. George Clooney has once again made a film that appeals to both college students and their parents.

The protagonist of the film, Wilton, becomes wrapped in this unbelievable story told by Lyn Cassady, causing this normal, recently divorced journalist from Michigan to be captured by terrorists, stranded in the desert and eventually involved in a secret military operation. The resulting events and experiences are humorous simply due to their absurdity.

The funniest moments in the film are sprouted by the character of Lyn Cassady. Lyn so firmly believes that he has super powers that Wilton is almost forced to believe what he says due to his intensity alone.

In a nod to McGregor’s previous work in the Star Wars series, Lyn consistently refers to the trained specialists as “Jedi Warriors.” While at first mention, the irony of Lyn having to explain what a “Jedi Warrior” is to Obi-Wan Kenobi himself is rather side-splitting; the repeated use of the term grows old rather quickly though.

Even when the movie is over and the credits have run, “The Men Who Stare at Goats” will leave you happy, barely able to breathe and wanting more. And, if you have the time and seem to find yourself thinking about staring at a goat or two (or hamsters, for those who doubt their abilities), here are a few things Wilton would remind you of. First, “More of this is true than you would believe.” Second, “Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.” And finally, the most cruel and unusual punishment used to torture prisoners of war is subjecting them to the endless singing of “I Love You” by Barney and Friends. Remember, America, Bill Django wants you to be “All you can be.”

Nora Drapalski can be reached at [email protected].

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