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The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson
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Nov 18, 2009

Read in November, 2009

Read the Stop Smiling Review of Grant Heslov's film adaptation of Men Who Stare At Goats

Postwar: The Messenger and The Men Who
Stare at Goats


Smugness marches on in The Men Who Stare at Goats, starring George Clooney and directed by his bestie, actor Grant Heslov. While I don’t think it’s too soon to mine the Iraq War for chuckles, this shrill, irritating, and incredibly self-satisfied effort mostly amuses itself. It’s not always fair to compare comedy to drama, but The Messenger, which also aims to show a side of the war you don’t see, is also funnier, thanks to its precise gallows humor and Woody Harrelson. In another one of his slapstick-throwback performances, Clooney mugs it up as Lyn Cassady, a Special Forces operator in Iraq who schools journalist Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) to the U.S. Army’s past and current employment of parapsychological tactics in combat. Through Lyn, Bob meets the experimental New Earth Army’s founder (Jeff Bridges), Lyn’s former partner (Kevin Spacey), and is kidnapped by a criminal gang in Iraq.

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