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Movie Curiosities

The online diary of an aspiring movie nerd

The Men Who Stare At Goats

ByCuriosity Inc.

Nov 20, 2009

The acting was superb, the writing was very good and several of the jokes were quite funny. Still, the movie could have been far funnier.

But the real problem I have with this movie is that it’s so unfocused. Grant Heslov was presented with a premise with rich thematic material and it’s like when asked which theme he was going to focus on, he just replied “All of them!” And so we have a movie that deals with history repeating, the absurdity of arms races, the capitalist angle of the current Middle Eastern wars, the effect that belief has on reality, vice versa, military incompetence and even a bit of how imagination is needed in time of war, straight out of Baron Munchausen. Alas, Heslov cast his net too wide and all of these issues are addressed almost exclusively in quick and shallow ways. I can respect that, but not as much as I would have respected going into deep satiric detail about one or two issues.

During the movie and after, I was comparing the movie to my favorite black comedy political satire (second only to Network, that is), Thank You For Smoking. And in every way, Smoking remains the superior movie. Not only was it funnier, but the satire inĀ Smoking was far tighter in focus and way more effective.

Given the talent behind this movie and the depth of the premise, the movie could have and should have been greater than it was. This disappoints me. However, I will grant that your mileage may vary on this. You could do a lot better than this movie, but you could also do far, far worse. For instance, I know that I would rather pay to sit through this movie five times than go to one free screening of New Moon.

By Curiosity Inc.

I hold a B.S. in Bioinformatics, the only one from Pacific University's Class of '09. I was the stage-hand-in-chief of my high school drama department and I'm a bass drummer for the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers. I dabble in video games and I'm still pretty good at DDR. My primary hobby is going online for upcoming movie news. I am a movie buff, a movie nerd, whatever you want to call it. Comic books are another hobby, but I'm not talking about Superman or Spider-Man or those books that number in the triple-digits. I'm talking about Watchmen, Preacher, Sandman, etc. Self-contained, dramatic, intellectual stories that couldn't be accomplished in any other medium. I'm a proud son of Oregon, born and raised here. I've been just about everywhere in North and Central America and I love it right here.

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