The Men Who Stare At Goats

By Bob on April 29, 2010 6:00 AM

If you think the title of The Men Who Stare at Goats is confusing, just wait'll you see the movie. Don't get me wrong, I love quirky. I celebrate quirky. I have quirky in my DVD library and on my Netflix Instant Queue. But this movie commits the one unpardonable sin of quirky: "Thy Shall Not Be Boring". 


Sadly, Boomers, even the great George Clooney can't be interesting, funny, or sexy (OK, Charlotte disagrees with that statement) all the time. In The Men Who Stare at Goats he misfires on all cylinders.


The movie stars Clooney along with a superb supporting cast of Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey. The premise is plausible (somewhat). It seems that several years ago, the US military created an elite cadre of "psychic spies" or Jedi warriors as Clooney calls them. These Jedi warriors were trained to fight with their minds instead of guns.


This is more like Ishtar meets Endless Summer (without the surfing).   


The idea being that in the FUTURE all wars would be fought like this. It was our government's way of getting ahead of the warrior curve. Since the project was abandoned, the misguided mission created a juggernaut of Jedi GI's all psyched up with nowhere to go.


That's pretty much where the movie goes: nowhere.


McGregor plays a cuckolded journalist with a promiscuous wife, who leaves town in search of the BIG STORY. Like Hemingway and other famous writers, newspaperman Bob Wilton (McGregor) goes off to war to find the story that will put him back in the arms of the woman he loves, or at least on the front page.


That's when he finds the not-so-famous Lyn Cassady (Clooney) drinking alone in a Persian Gulf pub.  He connects with Clooney and arranges to "embed" himself on his unauthorized mission. The pair goes off into the desert to find who-knows-what and get just as lost as the plot.


If you're thinking Lawrence of Arabia, think again. This is more like Ishtar meets Endless Summer (without the surfing). Confused? You bet your ass you're confused. Amused? Maybe a chuckle, if you're the chuckling kind, but not much more.


Along the way we're treated to flashbacks of Jeff Bridges training the Jedi warriors for the New Earth Army and Spacey, being, well, spacey.  Bridges channels The Dude from The Big Lebowski. If you've seen the trailer (located just below for your convenience) then you've seen the funniest parts of this movie.


By the closing credits you're not sure what you've seen. Is it a metaphor on modern day geopolitics? Could it be a cautionary tale on the military industrial complex? Nah, it's lunatics with a Hollywood budget and George Clooney attached.


A famous line from The Big Lebowski (quirky done right) describes the plot of this movie better than I ever could:


Maude Lebowski: What do you do for recreation?
The Dude: Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback.


If you're a Boomer from the 60's who really DID stare at goats on some long-forgotten psychedelic adventure, then this movie is for you. For the rest of us, it's just a bad trip.


The Boomer Brief recommends Netflix for your movie rentals.  The monthly rental packages start at only $4.99 - and you can cancel at any time.


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Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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Windy City

It's been almost 18 years since Alison Krauss gave us a solo album, but the wait is over with Windy City. The release (her fifth solo studio album) features ten covers of classic songs (and some bonus tracks) she picked with producer Buddy Cannon.

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