The Men Who Stare at Goats trailer, you guys:

On the one hand, I’m glad that they turned Jon Ronson’s book into a movie, because Jon Ronson’s book was great, and Jon Ronson is great, and it’s great when great things happen to great people. On the other hand, they should have just made this a documentary. Jon Ronson is actually very personable and entertaining. He could have carried the movie. Instead of Ewan McGregor and his Nowhere Man Voice. What is that accent? He’s like an alien whose transcoder only has one setting. “Just talking normal like a human being from the city of Earth. Nothing weird about the way I am talking, no way.” Also, if it had been a documentary, then the very weird and hilarious details from the book, which are real, would have been super weird and super hilarious because of how when things are real then there is no willful suspension of disbelief, there is just belief and disbelief mixed together, because that is life, jump into life. Instead, it has a semi-generic, strangely common-place military farce feel to it (has anyone else noticed how common-place military farces have become? It’s a real catch-22).

But, you know, wish they had made it into a documentary in one hand, and buy your ticket to the movie they did make with the other hand, and see which one is in a bucket of popcorn first, as the old saying goes.

Comments (45)
  1. The Big Lebowski 2: Burn After Reading.

  2. el  |   Posted on Aug 28th, 2009 +6

    Gabe, I don’t know why you’re a blogger. You should be a movie studio exec with all these great ideas

  3. It was a documentary. Well an episode of Jon Ronson’s Crazy Rulers of the World series. So yeah.


  4. You know my Mom kinda thought this movie looked a little too zany for her until they started playing “More Than a Feeling” at the end. Then she was like: I must see this movie film at the local cinema as soon as I can. Yes. I will.

    • I had nearly the opposite reaction, but I’m still going to see it.

      • To clarify, “More Than a Feeling” is super awesome, but it, along with the “adventure” line, seemed to subtly shift the tone in an awkward way. In no way am I against “More Than a Feeling.” I cannot stress that enough.

  5. You’re really gonna have an issue with a comedy starring Clooney, Bridges, and Spacey? Does the sun ever shine?

  6. “…wish they had made it into a documentary in one hand, and buy your ticket to the movie they did make with the other hand, and see which one is in a bucket of popcorn first”

    Care to weigh in on this, funtastik?

  7. it’s got the long-haired jeff bridges so you know it’s gonna be good

  8. I will never not like “More Than a Feeling” for whatever reason. Anyway, this definitely looks like something I want to read first, only in part so I can be That Girl who is like “The book was way better.”

    Also, Gabe, I see your point about how it looks like another military farce film, but do you think all the hilarious-but-true parts would have been really touched on if it weren’t an adaptation? I haven’t read the book, but don’t you think the documentary would just be a bunch of “and then he said, ‘The hooker part is definitely not true.’ It was so funny!” JW.

  9. I’m just happy to see Kevin Spacey in a movie I’d actually watch.

  10. I wonder if they cast ewan just so george clooney could say “a Jedi warrior” to him.

  11. This looks good, and a fun cast too – so even though I read Gabe’s post before watching the trailer, and letting the cynic rise up with preconceived notions, I was won over – good for that – and I actually did LOL when Bridges jumped off the roof…besides, it’s Friday, why nitpick.

  12. BD  |   Posted on Aug 28th, 2009 +2

    This was a documentary, and Jon Ronson did carry the movie. He is charming and wimpy and makes for a hilarious juxtaposition against the maniac military guys that often scare the hell out of him.

    At first I was really excited for this movie, but then I watched the documentary a second time and thought how there was no way you could capture the surreality of these people he finds and talks to in a narrative movie. Actors acting will just make it seem fake and cartoony.

    Check this clip out. This is a REAL guy that was high up in our military!

    Clooney just won’t be the same thing. But they had to remake Dogtown and Z Boys with Heath Ledger to get the kids to pay attention, too.

  13. Hollywood Law 7536: Clooney with mustache = comedy. Clooney sans mustache = drama. Repeat as necessary.

  14. I have to join you on the Slightly Unsatisfied team. While the casting is fun and it looks funny, it seems to have the fairly serious and dark conclusion Ronson comes to (although to be fair, the trailer doesn’t show the ending). Remember the Barney song part? In that empty train car? So depressing.

    • Ugh, I meant “it seems to LACK the fairly serious…”

      • You’re surprised the trailer doesn’t show everything?

        • Considering I wrote “to be fair, the trailer doesn’t show the ending”, no, I am not surprised the trailer doesn’t show everything. I am concerned with the tone of the trailer, and what that means about the movie as a whole.

          • Ok, but it’s not really so strange for the trailer to only show upbeat, wacky, funny stuff. The fact that it looks like a fun comedy will make more people want to see it, even people who might not have even heard of the book. It would be lame if they left out serious parts too, I just think that a lot of the time trailers try to sell a very different product than what the movie actually is. The exact same thing happened with In Bruges. (Why does that movie always come up?)

          • No, you’re right, it’s the whole “get butts in the seats” routine. I just really liked this book and am nervous about the movie only playing up the cuh-razy shit. I should reserve judgment until actually seeing the film.

          • The one thing I can say to Clooney’s credit is that dude is pretty politically motivated and I doubt that he’d get involved with a project that totally glossed over those aspects of the story.

  15. This looks like another Fast Food Nation. It’ll probably end up being sort of alright, not an embarrassment, but lacking to anyone who read the book.

  16. I’ll see this, although the (ironic) Jedi lines bug me for some reason. MacGregor almost pulls a Ferris Bueller when Clooney says, “A Jedi Warrior”.

  17. JD  |   Posted on Aug 28th, 2009 +4

    Wait, people are underwhelmed by this trailer? This trailer is the goods (unlike the movie The Goods, which is the bads). Seriously, there’s nary a blue, furry Gungan in sight… this looks awesome.

  18. Cryaboutit  |   Posted on Aug 28th, 2009 -3

    You know if you’re old enough to type you’re old enough to know THAT THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE! I wish people would quit pointing this out EVERYTIME there’s an adaptation. So what! Don’t read the book first. And if you did, don’t cry about it. You don’t have to go see it. Jaysus.

    I, for one, think it looks fantastic! O- diddly -O i do. And if the movie’s good, i might read the book later. SO, there!

  19. “(has anyone else noticed how common-place military farces have become? It’s a real catch-22).”
    I like this line!

  20. Does Ewan McGregor have a “will not mustachio” clause in his contract? Because it looks like everyone else in this film is…

  21. Jeff Bridges in a ponytail? I AM THERE!

  22. I’ve been looking forward to this but i didn’t realize they stuck Clooney in there. He ruins everything.

  23. Holy goats! (sorry.) Is it fucking Good Friday on Videogum today? Pure genius all over this place.

  24. Did someone say bucket of popcorn?!

  25. ewan is only in this because of his ‘star wars’ experience, right? they needed something to help those jokes make sense to the audience? yes? no? hell.

  26. I think this actually was a documentary, non? Just checked, yes it was. But somebody should definitely make a movie of “Them”.

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