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The Men who Stare at Goats, serious soundtrack, farcical direction

The Men who Stare at Goats, serious soundtrack, farcical direction (photo)

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Finally got to see “The Men Who Stare at Goats” after months of anticipation. I wrote about it back before even a trailer could be found, but the real world crazy shit the film’s based on was more than enough to wet the palate. Along with the incredible cast, it was probably too much – it’s not often you can anticipate a film that long and have it pay off.

I found the telling of the story to be dodgy and non-committal. Mostly, director Grant Heslov couldn’t take the First Earth Battalion or the Army’s psychic warfare experiments seriously. This makes for some hilarious consequences but overall depletes the film of the weight I’d hoped for. It could have used a dose of whatever author Jon Ronson (who wrote the book) was on. He struck a more ominous tone in the BBC series he directed on the true subject matter, a tone the film never took.

Still, as a farce, and as a kind of buddy movie it’s a real good time. The characters are colorful and always getting jacked – two criteria for me. A prosthetic-armed girlfriend usurper is great visual comedy. Ewan McGregor sets himself up with a great line about feeling like a Hobbit in the Shire. Clooney is amusing if restrained, though again visually hilarious especially in shaggy haired flashbacks. Spacey is an ass. Bridges is brilliant as usual, perfect in the role modeled after real life looney tunes genius, Jim Channon. It all starts off well, and then the top notch soundtrack by music supe Linda Cohen (“There Will Be Blood,” “Be Kind Rewind”) kicks in – I dug. I’m not yet tired of “More than a Feeling” and “Goats” may use 70’s rockers, Boston, better than any other film I’ve seen.

But composer Rolfe Kent (“Sideways,” “The Lucky Ones”) drops the ball. I can’t readily recall a film with such a sudden quality drop off, and at such a crucial moment in the film. After all that great music, the score takes over and completely muddles the climactic scene. It screams for Syd Barrett or Nico but we get muzak. It’s confounding. Go out and see this funny film, but don’t expect a combo of “Three Kings” and “O Lucky Man!” as I did.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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