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The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)


Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 206
Fresh: 106
Rotten: 100

Critics Consensus: Though The Men Who Stare at Goats is a mostly entertaining, farcical glimpse of men at war, some may find its satire and dark humor less than edgy.

Average Rating: 5.2/10
Reviews Counted: 45
Fresh: 21
Rotten: 24

Critics Consensus: Though The Men Who Stare at Goats is a mostly entertaining, farcical glimpse of men at war, some may find its satire and dark humor less than edgy.


Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 238,446


Movie Info

Reporter Bob Wilton is in search of his next big story when he encounters Lyn Cassady, a shadowy figure who claims to be part of an experimental U.S. military unit. According to Cassady, the New Earth Army is changing the way wars are fought. A legion of "Warrior Monks" with unparalleled psychic powers can read the enemy's thoughts, pass through solid walls, and even kill a goat simply by staring at it. Now, the program's founder, Bill Django, has gone missing and Cassady's mission is to find … More

R (for language, some drug content and brief nudity)
Drama , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Jon Ronson , Peter Straughan
In Theaters:
Mar 23, 2010
Box Office:
Overture Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Men Who Stare at Goats

All Critics (206) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (106) | Rotten (100) | DVD (9)

All in all, Goats would have been groaningly familiar, even back in the 1960s.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Top Critic

It's a disappointment.

Full Review… | November 9, 2009
At the Movies
Top Critic

Everyone involved seems to have had a pretty good time, but this one looks like it was more fun to make than it is to watch.

Full Review… | November 9, 2009
At the Movies
Top Critic

The narrative flips and flops ruin the comedic flow.

Full Review… | November 6, 2009
New York Daily News
Top Critic

If this is what a Hollywood liberal conscience looks like, it's a glib and useless thing.

Full Review… | November 6, 2009
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

This is grizzled, wild-eyed Clooney, not the suave sophisticate, and it's a nice change of pace.

Full Review… | November 6, 2009
Detroit News
Top Critic

It's Heslov's sarcastic, assuming tone, not the actors, that makes Goats so intolerable, and it begins immediately with the opening credits.

Full Review… | March 5, 2014
Stop Smiling

Even at a brief running time of 87 minutes, the film feels stretched, leaving you as "the person who blankly stares at the screen"...until it's finally over.

Full Review… | September 24, 2012

The oddity of its subject matter can't quite find a suitable groove between weird believability and preposterous put-on.

Full Review… | September 30, 2011
American Profile

A genuinely funny film packed with acting talent (...) well worth 90 minutes of anyone's time.

Full Review… | February 3, 2011
What Culture

although Clooney's charm factor helps Cassady rise above the caricatures created by the rest of the cast. ... it won't necessarily elevate a mediocre film into one worth watching.

Full Review… | January 31, 2011

The Men Who Stare at Goats makes [True Lies] seem like a sensitive and balanced take on American/Middle Eastern relations.

Full Review… | October 21, 2010

The film aspires to the kind of quirk the Coen Brothers do so well. It delivers quirk in droves. It just stops short of the big yucks.

July 4, 2010

The slapstick is broad and the jokes are scattershot, but the satirical digs at the self-delusion directing much of American foreign policy are well aimed.

Full Review… | May 12, 2010

Una comedia satírica y anti militarista mucho menos graciosa de lo que prometía.

Full Review… | April 25, 2010
Uruguay Total

A series of barely tethered surrealistic shenanigans perpetrated by coasting A-listers.

Full Review… | March 30, 2010
Lessons of Darkness odd movie that falls in between the cracks of dramedy and military satire. While it has a fine cast and some terrific moments, this story of an experimental U.S. military unit with allegedly psychic powers never really gets off the ground.

Full Review… | March 26, 2010
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Strained and uncomfortably buffonish. Everybody (except Clooney) is mugging when they should've just tried acting. Real satire draws blood. This one nudges you in the ribs.

Full Review… | March 19, 2010
Philadelphia Weekly

Silly psychics make good characters but don't have enough to do

Full Review… | March 18, 2010
Movie Habit

While this often hilariously haphazard film draws you in, you're ultimately left trying to discern fact from fiction.

Full Review… | March 2, 2010
FILMINK (Australia)

Despite this offbeat film's shortcomings, one can't help but admire director Grant Heslov and his influential pal Clooney in bringing to the screen yet another timely reminder of war's ludicrousness and ultimate futility.

Full Review… | March 2, 2010
Sunday Times (Australia)

The film meanders in a nonsensical way and never reaches a satisfactory conclusion. It's got a Coen Brothers edge to it and will leave many viewers scratching their heads.

Full Review… | March 2, 2010
Courier Mail (Australia)

It's more like a series of amazing anecdotes and crazy adventures than a fully formed story

Full Review… | February 27, 2010
Urban Cinefile

Like its intriguing title, this 'more of it is true than you would believe' satire about US intelligence, psychic spies, hippies and super soldiers is a trip to the wacky side

Full Review… | February 27, 2010
Urban Cinefile

Dancing With Goats

Full Review… | February 16, 2010

Audience Reviews for The Men Who Stare at Goats

A very strange movie but with a cast of actors that I love. So I fought through it and well it wouldnt surprise me if OUR MILITARY DID do stupid things like this.

John Manard

Super Reviewer

Supposedly based on a true story, this is just a load of rubbish. Would have been better making something up that was actually good.

Stuart Brooks

Super Reviewer

Grant Heslov is mainly known for his producing and writing collaborations on some of George Clooney film's. However, on this occasion he takes the directorial reigns leaving me wondering what might have come of this film had someone with more experience been behind the camera.
In the 1980's, reporter Bob Wilton (McGregor) stumbles onto the story of the 'New Earth Army', a bold, experimental unit formed by the U.S. It's purpose is to train so-called 'Jedi' warriors to use paranormal powers, including mind control, for the use in battle and to help in the interrogation of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Then he meets one of the unitâ(TM)s major players Lyn Cassady (Clooney), now supposedly retired, and tags along for a series of misadventures in Iraq.
Amazingly, this is based on a true story and with this prior knowledge and superior cast, you'd expect something quite special. Sadly, it doesn't provide it. It starts off, looking very good indeed but after the half hour mark I started drifting when the realisation came, that it wasn't going anywhere. The cast are excellent as you'd expect; Clooney, once again shows nice comic touches and expressions, Spacey is under-used but still manages scene stealing moments and Bridges is absolutely brilliant as the spaced out, hippie commander Bill Django - which is a little reminder of his iconic portrayal of "The Dude" from "The Big Lebowski". McGregor also does well, amongst these heavy hitters and has nearly developed a decent American accent. It's just a shame that their performances were not helped with something that resembled a script. To be fair though, there are still some nice comedy moments and there are many interesting components to the story but it lacks drive. Maybe it's because the assembled cast is so impressive that more is expected. Or maybe, it's because it's in the hands of a novice director - punching above his weight. Either way, it disappoints. This is a film that the likes of the Coen brothers could have taken to great heights. It has a similar sense for the brothers' off-beat humour but lacks their creativity.
A passable comedy, that amuses sporadically but relies too heavily on it four performers. It's them that maintain your interest but the material should have been delivered with more confidence.

Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

The humour and plot aren't really on the same page throughout and there's no way of telling whether an act is supposed to be serious or comical. But it'll entertain most people and it's faithful to it's source material.

Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

The Men Who Stare at Goats Quotes

Bill Django:
I just saw Timothy Leary.
– Submitted by rick b (2 years ago)
Larry Hooper:
We're not doing that one anymore, idiot!
Larry Hooper:
(Twizzlers) God I love these things.
Lyn Cassady:
I told you. I remote viewed you.
Larry Hooper:
THis could be the new age for Psychic research.
Bill Django:
I pray my boots will always kiss your face (earth).
– Submitted by rick b (2 years ago)
Lyn Cassady:
If the exact target of the mission was known, it wouldn't take a Jedi would it?
Larry Hooper:
Well sir, we do have the Goat Lab.
Lyn Cassady:
I'd used my powers for evil.
Lyn Cassady:
the Death Touch.
Larry Hooper:
Turns out there are certain people very interested in the New Earth Army.
– Submitted by rick b (2 years ago)
Bob Wilton:
I could hear the little man screaming inside me again. He was screaming like a little girl.
Lyn Cassady:
I mean, we (too) have kidnappers in America, always a few bad apples.
– Submitted by Preston S (2 years ago)
Larry Hooper:
I see a tin mug.
Larry Hooper:
No, its a man sitting in a chair [true, Lincoln's Monument]
Bob Wilton:
Only true human beings may carry the Eagle feather.
Bob Wilton:
As Bill said, the truth truely was with this one.
Bob Wilton:
Its been said he could do a tug of war with a dozen men and not move an inch.
– Submitted by Preston S (2 years ago)
Bill Django:
And remember, no solid food this week!
Bill Django:
Think cold, real cold. [as they walk on hot coals]
Bob Wilton:
They would be a force for good and peace.
Bob Wilton:
Then into the garden, a serpent did come.
Bob Wilton:
Right from the start, he [Larry] made himself unpopular from the start.
– Submitted by Preston S (2 years ago)

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