The Men Who Stare at Goats

Synopsis: A reporter, trying to lose himself in the romance of war after his marriage fails, gets more than he bargains for when he meets a special forces agent who reveals the existence of a secret, psychic military unit whose goal is to end war as we know it. The founder of the unit has gone missing and the trail leads to another psychic soldier who has distorted the mission to serve his own ends.
Genre: Comedy, War
Director(s): Grant Heslov
Production: Overture Films
  1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
94 min

- Boone?

- Yes, General?

I'm going into the next office.

Yes, sir.

Damn it!

My name is Bob Wilton.

I'm a journalist.

Part of my job is finding

where the story begins.

If you were looking at my story,

you might think it began

when I got a job at the

Ann Arbor Daily Telegram.

Or you might think it began...

...when I married

my college sweetheart Debora.

But you'd be wrong.

Because the real story of my life

began a few years back,

when my editor sent me

to interview a local guy,

he'd heard on the talk radio show.

The guy claimed to have

some kind of psychic powers.

That he could travel with just his mind

anywhere he wanted.

He called it "Remote Viewing".

The man's name was Gus Lacey.

What have you seen lately?

Lately, I've been watching

the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland.

Thanks, Mom.

Uh, and it turns...

I got it. I got it.

Mom, I got it.

Thank you.

It turns out...

It's the ghost of a dinosaur.

Okay. Wow.

So, when did this all

start for you, Gus?

It started when I was a kid.

Gus told me that

back in the eighties,

he was part of a top-secret unit

that got their training in the army.

In a program sanctioned

by the highest levels of government.

When I asked him what's the purpose

of this unit was, he said:

We were Psychic Spies, mainly.

That was our initial tasking.

Once they realized

what they were sitting on...

We were trained to kill animals.

- What? With...

- With our minds. That is correct.

Just by staring at them.

What kind of animals?

One of our unit's

stopped the heart of a goat.

Power... they unleashed in us.

Last week I killed my hamster.

You wanna see?

There! Look!

You ever seen a hamster

do that before?

- I've never owned a hamster, Gus, so...

- Just look! Look!

See the way it's glaring

at its wheel.

Yeah, I guess our hamster-owning

readers will know what's...

aberrant behavior and what...


- Oh, sh*t! Sh*t! He's down!

- Yeah, he's down.

At this point I'd been staring at him

for about three hours.

Bizarre, right?

What is that?

It didn't die.

You said, you killed it?

Yeah, well...

Mom said no.

She said:

"Don't show the hamster dying"

"Show the tape where

the hamster acts bizarre instead. "

You should have seen

the Skipper at work.

- Who's the Skipper?

- Lyn Cassady.

For me, after Bill he was the

most gifted psych I've ever met.

He was like an occultic force.

I think he runs a dance studio now.

The little man inside me

dismissed Lacey as a nut.

You know, the little man.

He's the one who says:

"Keep your head down. "

"Stay in your little town,

your little job. "

"You're a lucky guy,

your wife loves you. "

"You have everything you want. "

"You're not looking for

some great adventure. "

"But then, one day...

...when you least expect it,

"The great adventure finds you!"

Ron's sudden death

was the catalyst for everything.

Deborah told me later that

it had been like a wake-up call for her.

What people used to call:

"The memento mori".

Ron's massive coronary

had reminded her that was just too short to

waste any chance of true happiness.

And his death that helped her

to put everything in perspective.

A week after the funeral...

...she left me for my editor.

It seemed like such a tragedy

at the time.

We couldn't see beyond

our little lives... the great events of history

unfolding out there in the world.

I was like a child or a Hobbit,

safe in the Shire.

Or a blond farm boy

in a distant, desert planet,

...unaware that he was already

taking the first steps on the path...

...that would lead him relentlessly

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Peter Straughan

Peter Straughan (born 1968) is a playwright and author, based in the north-east of England. He was writer-in-residence at Newcastle's Live Theatre Company. Whilst there, Live staged his plays, Bones and Noir. Both of these plays have displayed Straughan's talent for writing dark, twisted and witty stories. His first ambition was to be a professional musician and he achieved this while playing bass guitar with Newcastle-based band "The Honest Johns". He spent four years touring and recording with the band through the late 1980s and into the early 1990s before leaving to take up full-time education at Newcastle University. While Peter was a student he was also a member of the band Cactusman. Peter wrote the song "Killer", which appeared on the CD album North of London, a collection of music by North East bands released through Newcastle Arts. Straughan co-wrote the 2006 feature film, Mrs Ratcliffe's Revolution and adapted Toby Young's memoir How to Lose Friends & Alienate People. He is the writer of the 2009 film, The Men Who Stare at Goats, and co-writer of the 2011 film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Adapted Screenplay, a screenplay he wrote in collaboration with his late wife Bridget O'Connor. O'Connor died of cancer, aged 49, in 2010, before the film was released. They were awarded a BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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