Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Join the New Earth Army!

Memorial Day weekend Netflix selection: The Men Who Stare At Goats starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges. Not much of a movie except for the research (the story isn't true but the background, about the US Military's bizarre new-agey special division in the seventies and eighties, is) and the casting. So a couple of things about the casting.

1. Given these parts, they assembled a dream cast for the movie. Jeff Bridges as a new-age military hippy, Kevin Spacey as an unpleasant manipulative officer, George Clooney as an alpha-male psychic. Something doesn't feel right about this. Either the movie was very expensive to make or there were some serious parties during the shooting because THESE GUYS DON'T TAKE PARTS LIKE THIS nowadays. Kevin Spacey started fighting that typecasting 15 years ago. From the producer's standpoint it's a pretty good strategy though; the milieu is so weird you don't want the audience distracted by Spacey playing a nice guy. Still, I bet free drugs were involved in putting it all together.

2. There are a lot of flashbacks to incidents thirty or forty years ago. Normally you'd cast younger actors in those parts but they seem to have used the actual George Clooney, Kevin Spacey et. al. And they look genuinely young! Not in that dye-the-hair-and-gauze-up-the-lens kind of way, but the thirty-pounds-lighter-without-the-crow's-feet kind of way. How did they do it? If it's digital then we have a serious problem for up and coming actors now, because there won't be a need to look for a younger William Shatner. We'll just prop up the William Shatner we have now. Is that the world you want to live in?

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