I wasn't too sure what to expect going into this movie, but I knew it looked good. So I guess, in that sense, the movie exceeded expectations. There's really not a plot. Not only is the movie non-linear, but it's more of a character study than a plot-driven film. Basically, all I can say is that after his wife leaves him, Bob (Ewan McGregor) decides to do some field journalism in Iraq. While there, he meets Lyn (George Clooney), recognizing his name from an earlier interview he conducted with another man (Stephen Root). Lyn, apprehensive at first, eventually takes a liking to Bob and takes him under his wing as they travel through the desert-land of Iraq. Lyn explains his past with a secret military unit known as the New Earth Army, developed by Bill Django (Jeff Bridges). The unit specialized in psychic, peace-driven, non-lethal warfare techniques that made the men into super-soldiers--or, as commonly referred to in the film, Jedi. Kevin Spacey plays a man named Larry who joins the unit and is an eventual catalyst to its downfall (not a spoiler, as the voice-over narration basically tells you this when he's introduced).

Like I said, the movie is very non-linear. It bounces back and forth through time constantly, but it isn't distracting. The only time I was confused was the beginning, as it starts in 1980 but, after the opening scene, it goes to present day without saying 'present day' (unless I missed it). But I quickly caught on (the TV showing George W. Bush speaking as President helps). Though I suppose it isn't really present day, as the "present day" of the movie is actually something like 2003. But I digress.

The non-plot of the movie doesn't really hurt it, either. I only felt one moment of drag, which is about a 5 minute span of film near the end when the movie turns a bit too serious and feels like it needs to start wrapping things up. But then, right when you start feeling that, it starts wrapping things up. So it's all good. Well, as much as you can 'wrap up' with this movie.

The best thing about this film was the writing. It was very clever, very smart, very witty, very funny movie. And it's totally a nerd movie wrapped up in a "non-nerd" casing. The entire movie is filled with nerdy references, the most common of which is Star Wars. And every time I heard things like "warrior monk" or "shaman," or when they constantly talked about things like "level 3 invisibility" or "level 2" something else, I couldn't help but think of things like Dungeons and Dragons. The nerd part of me (which is a pretty big part) wanted to squeal with glee at nearly every other line in this movie. It's just hilarious. There's no other way to put it. Oh, and the satire of the film is good, too, though the ending might be somewhat controversial to those with a more conservative outlook.

And what helps pull off the comedy is the straight-faced way that these guys, led by Clooney, pull it off. You can clearly tell that everybody is having tons of fun with this movie. Clooney is at his comedic best here, and even Spacey has some out-there moments that are so bizarre they're funny. Of course, Jeff Bridges is good in whatever he does. But there are a couple smaller roles that are great. Stephen Root and Robert Patrick make fun cameos, while Stephen Lang has a small but memorable role as he steals every scene he's in just by smiling. And then there's the straight man, Ewan McGregor, who is the Sancho Panza to Clooney's Don Quixote.

I mean, that's really the best way to explain this movie. It's a modern day Don Quixote. Don Quixote thought he was a warrior of legend in his day--the knight. Lyn Cassady thinks he's a warrior of legend in our day--the Jedi warrior (sans light saber). And Ewan McGregor is the one riding around with him, getting into trouble, constantly getting hurt, but sticking by his new friend and eventually coming over to his way of thinking. And in the end, it's up to the viewer to decide if it was all real or BS. And I loved it (I might even go so far to say it could be one of my new favorite movies, and definitely in my Top 10 of the year).

Royale With Cheese

(P.S. As a warning, there is a scene that might be a little too close to home for some people. If you were affected by the tragedy of Ft. Hood, there is a scene in this film that depicts a military base shooting, though in a comical fashion... but after recent events, some might not take to it real comically).

(P.P.S. I almost forgot... I thought it was funny and ironic that Ewan McGregor, at one point, asks the question "What's a Jedi?" Not to mention the constant Jedi/Star Wars references made to, from, and/or around him. But then again, it might have been purposeful casting as an in-joke of sorts).


  1. Stephen Lang was great, glad to see you recognize him. With this movie, Public Enemies and Avatar looks like he is finally getting the mainstream work he deserves.
    If you havent seen "Gods and Generals" go out and rent it, his portrayal of Stonewall Jackson is amazing. Especially when you consider this is the same guy that played Ike Clanton.

  2. I haven't gone to IMDb to confirm, but I'm assuming Lang is the first guy we see, the one that attempts to go through the wall? If so, yeah, he was pretty funny. Nice juxtaposition between his appearance and the type of character he was playing.

    I'm a bit surprised at how much you liked this overall, though. It had its moments, but I'd place it squarely in the "pretty good, not great, not terrible" range. I guess I just didn't find it as overwhelmingly funny as you, though I did appreciate its geekiness and the constant Star Wars references.

  3. Yeah, Lang is the first guy you see, and you see him a few more times throughout the movie.

    I know, it seems like I'm in the minority who absolutely loved the film. Most are like you in their thoughts. But it's like the opposite of The Hangover. You thought that was overwhelmingly funny, and I thought it was just pretty good.

  4. So you're saying I'm just some sheep that follows along with whatever everyone else is thinking? How dare you!


  5. Fletch: You are the King of the LAMBs, are you not? :P


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