REVIEW: THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS

 

CAST

George Clooney (The Monuments Men)
Ewan McGreggor (Beginners)
Jeff Bridges (Tron: Legacy)
Kevin Spacey (Horrible Bosses)
Stephen Lang (Avatar)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Waleed Zuaiter (London Has Fallen)
Stephen Root (Get Out)
Glenn Morshower (Transformers)
Nick Offerman (21 Jump Street)
Rebecca Mader (Lost)

George Clooney in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)In a short prelude, U.S. Army General Hopgood is painfully thwarted in an attempt to pass paranormally through a solid wall by simply running into it. The film then follows Ann Arbor Daily Telegram reporter Bob Wilton, whose wife leaves him for the newspaper’s editor. Seeking an escape, Bob flies to Kuwait to report on the Iraq War and to prove to his wife and himself that he is a man. However, he stumbles onto the story of a lifetime when he meets a retired U.S. Army Special Forces operator, Lyn Cassady, who reveals that he was part of a U.S. Army unit training psychic spies (or “Jedi Warriors”) to develop a range of parapsychological skills including invisibility, remote viewing, and phasing. The back story is told mainly through flashbacks.George Clooney and Kevin Spacey in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)In 1972, Army officer Bill Django, after accidentally falling out of a “Huey” helicopter in Vietnam’s Bình Dương Province, found his newly recruited men to be unable or unwilling to fire on a female Viet Cong soldier before she shot him in the chest. He then underwent a fact-finding mission prompted by a vision where the Viet Cong soldier says, “their gentleness is their strength.” The bulk of Django’s mission immersed him fully into the New Age movement so that, when he returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 1980, he had long braided hair and a tattoo of a third eye surmounted on a pyramid on his chest.Jeff Bridges in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)Facilitated by the credulous General Hopgood, Django led the training of a New Earth Army, with Lyn Cassady and Larry Hooper as his top students. The two quickly developed a lifelong rivalry because of their opposing views on implementing the New Earth Army’s philosophy. Lyn wanted to emphasize the teachings’ positive side, such as the ability to resolve conflict peacefully, whereas Larry was more interested in the “dark side” and its military applications.George Clooney and Kevin Spacey in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)Prompted by a doodle in Bob’s notebook (of an eye on a pyramid), Lyn takes him into Iraq. They are kidnapped by criminals who want to sell them to insurgents but escape with fellow hostage Mahmud Daash. They are rescued by a private security detail led by Todd Nixon. The trio flees when the detail is caught in a firefight fiasco with another American security detail. Bob and Lyn then continue on Lyn’s alleged “mission”, stating he had seen a vision of Bill Django.George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, and Waleed Zuaiter in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)After taking the wrong fork in the road their car is disabled by an IED. The other fork in the road actually leads to al-Qaim, Lyn’s destination, but neither of them was able to read the Arabic on the roadsigns. Bob and Lyn wander in the desert where Lyn reveals that he had stopped a goat’s heart to test the limit of his mental abilities and believes this evil deed has cursed him and the rest of the New Earth Army. It’s also revealed that Hooper conducted an unauthorized LSD experiment which resulted in a soldier killing himself, and therefore forced Django out of the Army. Eventually, Bob and Lyn are rescued and rehabilitated at a camp run by PSIC, a private research firm engaged in psychic and psychological experiments on a herd of goats and some captured locals. To Lyn’s dismay, Larry runs the firm and employs Django, now a depressed alcoholic. Bob spends time with Django and learns the ways of the New Earth Army. They spike the base’s food and water with LSD and free both the goats and captured locals, in an attempt to remove the curse. Following this, Lyn and Django fly off in a helicopter, never to be heard from again, disappearing into the sky “like all shamans”.George Clooney and Ewan McGregor in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)Bob returns to work as a reporter and writes an article about his entire experience with Lyn. However, he’s frustrated in that the story’s only portion to be aired on the news is how the captives were forced to listen to the Barney & Friends theme song for 24 hours. This dilutes his story to the level of a joke, and Bob vows to continue trying to get the bigger story out. In the film’s final scene, Bob exercises his own psychic abilities and, following some intense concentration, stands up and runs headlong through a solid wall in his office.George Clooney and Kevin Spacey in The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)The Men Who Stare at Goats is a very fun movie to see. It is a movie for casual movie goers and film aficionados alike.

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REVIEW: ANNIE (2014)

CAST

Quvenzhané Wallis (12 Years a Slave)
Jamie Foxx (Ray)
Rose Byrne (Spy)
Cameron Diaz (Sex Tape)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Suicide Squad)
David Zayas(Gotham)
Stephanie Kurtzuba (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Tracie Thomas (Cold Case)
Nicolette Pierini (The Punisher)
Patricia Clarkson (Easy A)
Michael J. Fox (Back To The Future)
Mila Kunis (Family Guy)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Bobby Moynihan (Revenge For Jolly)
Rihanna (Bates Motel)
George Clooney (Ocean’s Eleven)

In Harlem, Manhattan Island, N.Y.C, Annie Bennett lives in foster care with several other girls under the care of Colleen Hannigan, a bitter former singer who spends her days drinking or trying to find a husband. Annie spends Fridays waiting outside Domoni’s restaurant, believing her parents will come for her because a note written on a receipt from Domoni’s says they would return. When a city inspector checks on Hannigan’s treatment of the girls, Annie takes advantage of the situation; she manages to copy her social security number from his clipboard and heads off to get her information. Annie learns that there’s nothing more about her than what she already knows.Trying to save a Shiba Inu from bullies, Annie is nearly run over; however, she is saved by William Stacks, a germaphobe cell phone mogul running for mayor. Annie’s rescue goes viral on the internet, boosting Stacks popularity; per suggestion of Stacks’ campaign manager Guy Danlily, Annie moves in with Stacks to boost his popularity further. Annie enjoys her new surroundings, befriending Stacks’ assistant Grace Farrell. Annie also gets to adopt the stray dog from before, naming her Sandy. Bonding with Annie, Stacks reveals that he had humble beginnings in Queens; he never really knew his father due to his work hours, but believed he could understand him if he worked just as hard. Annie also helps Grace and Stacks begin realizing that they like each other romantically.Per Annie’s request, Stacks takes her and her friends in Hannigan’s foster care to see the premiere of MoonQuake Lake. Stacks is uninterested in the movie at first, but soon becomes a major fan, along with Grace. Per Annie and Grace’s insistence, Stacks joins in the after-movie party. After returning her friends home, Annie shows Grace her Friday routine of waiting to see if her parents will return; Grace sympathizes, agreeing to keep this a secret from Stacks. At Hannigan’s, the girls accidentally wake her; Hannigan snaps at them, saying rich people aren’t nice, and will ditch anyone they don’t like any more (recalling her own past). Slightly hungover, she laments about her situation of foster kids and her desire to reclaim stardom.When Annie is asked to read a speech during a charity event, she runs out, revealing that she doesn’t know how to read (despite being 10 years old and going to school). Stacks decides to get her a special-ed teacher, but Guy decides that Annie will only hinder Stacks’ campaign as his popularity isn’t improving any more. Teaming up with Hannigan, Guy plans to have imposters claim Annie as their daughter to boost Stacks popularity to the point where he wins; Guy will then share his payment with Hannigan. However, Guy plans to dump Annie back into the system after the election, not caring about her well-being. By the time Hannigan has second thoughts, Annie has already been kidnapped by the imposters; Hannigan tells Stacks about the plan, getting Guy fired. Stacks, Grace, Hannigan and the girls board Stacks’ helicopter; aided by the police, they chase the getaway car into the park. Annie, thinking Stacks arranged this (due to the kidnappers believing Stacks, not Guy, paid them), is upset and refuses to believe him when he tells her he didn’t know about the scheme. Stacks, to prove his innocence, announces to the press that he quits the mayoral race; Annie then helps Grace and Stacks admit their love. All three dance and sing happily.Later, Annie announces the opening of the “Stacks Literacy Centre”, to help children like herself, who couldn’t read. Everyone sings Annie’s Tomorrow; unhumorously, Hannigan attempts to continue singing after the song is done, only to receive stares that cue her to stop.Not sure why so many feel the need to bash this version of the movie just because they think they’re the top ‘original’ Annie movie fan of all time. Who cares if they made a new version…it’s not even close to being the same as the original. This one is  fun, and all of the actors/actresses are wonderful at acting and singing. I feel that the changes that were made were done so to reflect the times we live in…certain sayings from the original wouldn’t be related to as easily. Nothing wrong with liking both…they’re just movies, so I don’t think you’ll hurt the original Annie’s feelings if you decide to like this one just as much or more!!

REVIEW: RED SURF

CAST

Georg Clooney (Hail, Caesar!)
Doug Savant (Desperate Housewives)
Dedee Pfeiffer (Falling Down)
Philip McKeon (Alice)
Rick Najera (MADtv)
Gene Simmons (Armed Response)

UntitledRemar and Attila are a couple of surfers who also deal drugs to make a living. They are trying to set up a final deal with local drug lord, Calavera, when their friend True Blue is busted by the cops. Blue talks too much in the police station and Calavera is out for revenge because of the betrayal.NGNIt’s a decent low-budget action film, with an urban late 80s/early 90s feel to it. However, the film lacks focus and a good script, and some parts are really quite corny. The main duo (George Clooney and Doug Savant) decide to save a friend who sold them out, and only one of them seems to have common sense. Some of the acting is a bit ordinary too, even from Clooney, but he still manages to transcend that leadership quality that he has with most of his characters in this movie as the alcohol-fuelled would-be parent and failed surfer in Mark Remar. Regardless of the overall plot, this is still pretty entertaining, particularly with the final shoot-out scene.

 

REVIEW: HAIL, CAESAR!

CAST

George Clooney (The Ides of March)
Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)
Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Frances McDormand (Fargo)
Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Alison Pill (Scott PIlgrim vs The World)
Emily Beecham (Bon Voyage)
Heather Goldenhersh (The Class)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Christopher Lambert (Highlander)
Fred Melamed (The Dictator)
Patrick Fischler (Old School)
David Krumholtz (Mom)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
Clancy Brown (Sleepy Hollow0
Robert Pciardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Natasha Bassett (Britney Ever AFter)
Dolph Lundgren (Arrow)
Robert Trebor (Hercules: TLJ)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)

In 1951, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is the head of physical production at Capitol Pictures and also works as a “fixer” to keep the scandalous behavior of its stars out of the press. He often has to fend off inquiries from Thora and Thessaly Thacker (both played by Tilda Swinton), twin sisters and rival gossip columnists. The Lockheed Corporation has been courting him with an offer of a high-level executive position, but he is unsure about taking it. When unmarried synchronised swimming actress DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) becomes pregnant, Mannix arranges for her to put the baby in foster care, and then adopt it without revealing herself as the mother. The studio’s major production is Hail, Caesar! A Tale of the Christ, an epic set in ancient Roman times and starring Baird Whitlock (George Clooney). During a shot, Whitlock drinks from a goblet of wine that was drugged by an extra (Wayne Knight); he passes out while rehearsing lines by himself behind the soundstage and is abducted. A ransom note soon arrives, written by a group calling itself “The Future,” demanding $100,000. Mannix arranges to get the money from the studio’s Accounting Department, as “petty cash.”
Whitlock awakens in a beach house and finds his way into a meeting of The Future, a Communist cell. The members, who introduce themselves as mostly writers in the motion picture industry, explain their doctrine to him and begin to win him over to their cause. At the same time, Thora threatens Mannix by stating she will release an article about a scandal involving the earlier film On Wings As Eagles, which gave Whitlock his break-out role. Mannix successfully negotiates for her to postpone the story by a day in exchange for information about the romantic life of singing Western film star Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich). Doyle is cast in a period drama helmed by posh director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) in an attempt by the studio to broaden his appeal. After Doyle’s initial performance is hopelessly incompetent, Laurentz visits Mannix and asks him to remove Doyle from the project so that Laurentz can preserve his artistic vision for the film. Mannix informs Laurentz that Doyle’s role is non-negotiable and convinces him to coach the young actor to give a better performance. Doyle comes to Mannix’s office and admits that he feels the part is too far outside his comfort zone. Mannix reassures him that he has the needed acting abilities and tells him about Whitlock’s kidnapping.
That evening, Doyle attends the premiere of one of his own Westerns with starlet Carlotta Valdez (Verónica Osorio), per instructions from Mannix. Doyle is initially disappointed that his lone singing scene is depicted in a comedic manner, rather than as heartfelt as he intended. However, after seeing the audience react positively to the scene, Doyle warms to it himself. Doyle and Valdez visit a nightclub, where the pair are genuinely developing chemistry until they are interrupted by both Thacker sisters, each looking to get a scoop on their relationship. Doyle suddenly spots the briefcase containing the ransom money, recognizing it because he had lent Mannix his belt to keep it closed. It is being carried by Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum), the star of a sailor musical comedy depicted earlier in an elaborate dancing scene. Mannix and Moran meet with a surety agent, Joseph Silverman (Jonah Hill), an average man whom the studio has used to solve public problems; he has a solid reputation as completely dependable, reliable, and discreet. He will agree to provide foster care for Moran’s child, preserving her image. Moran, who expressed frustration with her previous two marriages with a mobster and a Hollywood type, finds herself strongly attracted to Silverman.
Doyle follows Gurney to the beach house in Malibu but, after walking in the front door, finds only Whitlock inside. The rest of The Future’s members have rowed a boat containing Gurney offshore so that he can rendezvous with a Soviet submarine and defect to Russia. The members of The Future give him the money for the Communist cause. As Gurney boards the submarine, his dog jumps into his arms, causing him to drop the briefcase, which sinks into the ocean. Doyle takes Whitlock back to the studio just before the police arrive at the beach house to arrest the group, after Mannix’s investigation led him to the house. Whitlock tries to explain his new-found Communist leanings to Mannix, who cuts him off sharply, slapping his face numerous times, and orders him to finish his role in Hail, Caesar!; the actor is chastened, but encouraged by a final directive from Mannix to be a movie star.
Mannix is notified the next morning that Moran married Silverman who will adopt the child with her. Mannix announces he has decided to reject the Lockheed offer and continue working at Capitol. Thora then meets with Mannix and informs him that the column she plans to publish about On Wings As Eagles will reveal that Whitlock got his major role in the film by having sex with Laurentz. However, Mannix has deduced that Gurney is her source for the piece and persuades her to not run the story since Gurney is a Communist who has defected—which would cause her own reputation to suffer by association. Mannix leaves the worried-looking Thora, secure in his station in life.I think that you need to be something of a film buff to really enjoy this Coen Brothers offering, which is an affectionate homage to the history of Hollywood. There are references to the influence of McCarthyism and nods to many genres, from the ‘B’ Western to the biblically based epic. Most of the comedy is gentle and occasionally subtle, not to say understated. It is both easily worth 5 stars and thoroughly recommended.

REVIEW: TOMORROWLAND: A WORLD BEYOND

CAST

George Clooney (Ocean’s Eleven)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle)
Raffey Cassidy (Dark Shadows)
Tim McGraw (The Blind Side)
Kathryn Hahn (Anchorman)
Keegan-Michael Key (Due Date)
Chris Bauer (The Devil’s Advocate)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Garry Chalk (Dark Angel)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Michael Rowe (Arrow)

An adult Frank Walker and Casey Newton relate to the audience their experiences, beginning with Frank’s visit to the 1964 New York World’s Fair as a child. In the flashback, he meets David Nix, an official who is unimpressed with Frank’s prototype jet pack. Frank does draw the attention of a young girl named Athena. Seeing his potential, Athena gives Frank a pin embossed with a “T” symbol and tells him to follow her aboard the fair’s “It’s a Small World” attraction. Frank sneaks onto the ride, where his pin is scanned and he is transported into a futuristic cityscape known as Tomorrowland. He falls from a ledge, but straps on his jet pack in mid air and lands safely before Nix and Athena.

The narration then shifts to the present, where Casey Newton sneaks into a decommissioned NASA launch pad in Cape Canaveral, where her father Eddie is an engineer. She sabotages the machines that are dismantling the launch pad and returns home, where Athena, who hasn’t aged a day since 1964, sneaks another pin that is programmed to Casey’s DNA into Casey’s motorcycle helmet. The next night, Casey attempts to break into the NASA compound again, but is arrested. At the police station, she sees the pin among her personal items, and discovers that upon contact, the pin instantly shows her a view of Tomorrowland that only she can see. She briefly explores the vision until the pin’s battery runs out.

Assisted by her brother Nate, Casey finds a Houston memorabilia store related to the pin. Upon meeting the two owners, Hugo (named for early science fiction publisher Hugo Gernsback) and Ursula, Casey is questioned about it, and when she says she knows nothing else about it, they attack her. Athena bursts in and fights Hugo and Ursula, who are both revealed to be robots. The two girls escape as the robots self-destruct, destroying the store. After stealing a car, Athena reveals that she is an Audio-Animatronic robot, and the one who gave Casey the pin, revealing that she needs her help to save the world. Athena drives Casey to Frank’s home in Pittsfield, New York and leaves her there.

The reclusive Frank declines Casey’s request for an audience, but she manages to lure him out of the house and sneak in, locking him out. Frank re-enters through a secret tunnel and tells her angrily that he was thrown out of Tomorrowland and cannot go back. He also asks if she would like to know the exact moment of her death. Casey ponders whether accepting the truth about her time of death would actually be the cause of it, and while she admits that she would like him to tell her, says that she probably would not believe him, preferring to make her own destiny. When she says this, a monitor showing the probability of the end of the world changes its reading from 100% to 99.9994%, which startles Frank. Robot agents appear at Frank’s house ordering him to turn over Casey or be killed.

After evading the robots and reuniting with Athena, the trio uses a teleportation machine that Frank invented, and transport themselves to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. They enter a room with mannequins of Gustave Eiffel, Jules Verne, Nikola Tesla, and Thomas Edison. Frank explains that the four men were the founders of Plus Ultra, a group of inventors dedicated to finding other dreamers and inventors who shared the hope of shaping a better future, which eventually led them to discover a new dimension where Tomorrowland was founded. The trio enter a rocket hidden underneath the tower, which launches into outer space and travels to another dimension, arriving at a now-desolate Tomorrowland. Nix appears to greet them, and takes them to a building linked to a tachyon machine designed by Frank that can show images from the past and future, from which Casey learns that a worldwide catastrophe will happen in the near future. Because of this discovery, Frank lost all hope and was banished from Tomorrowland. Casey does not accept that the world is destined to end, and the future slightly changes as a result, a fact that Frank glimpses, but which Nix ignores before ordering them arrested.

As they await being sent back to Earth, Casey realizes that when the tachyon machine tells the public that the world is coming to an end, it causes the people to accept the apocalypse. This in turn makes the end of the world all the more possible, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Destroying the device could avert the apocalypse. Nix opens a portal to an uninhabited, uncharted island, attempting to exile them to live out the last days of the world there, but Frank refuses, seeing that Nix has simply given up on Earth and intends to allow the apocalypse to happen. A fight ensues and Frank tries to use a bomb to blow up the machine. Mistakenly, the bomb goes off outside the portal and the explosion pins Nix’s leg under debris. Nix retrieves a plasma gun and aims at Frank. Athena, who was able to see it happening beforehand due to the tachyon images, jumps in front of him and is damaged beyond repair, which activates her self-destruct sequence. In her last moments of consciousness, Athena instructs Frank to take her to the machine and reveals that she loved him. Her self-destruction bomb destroys the machine, which kills Nix as well.

Back in the present, Frank and Casey’s audience are revealed to be androids like Athena, who are entrusted with new pins and instructed to bring other “dreamers” to Tomorrowland.This is a great, ambitious, original sci-fi blockbuster from Brad Bird, with a strong vision. It’s a throw back to when the summer blockbuster wasn’t just a glorified advert. A time when summer blockbusters took ordinary people on extraordinary adventures. Adventures to other dimensions, other places and other ‘lands’.

 

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/cc/AVeryMurrayChristmas_poster.jpg

CAST

Bill Murray (Ghostbusters)
Michael Cera (Youth In Revolt)
George Clooney (The Monuments men)
Miley Cyrus (Two and a Half Men)
Rashida Jones (Cop Out)
Amy Poehler (Vlades of Glory)
Chris Rock (Dogma)
Maya Rudolph (Grown Ups)
Jason Schwartzman (Funny People)
Julie White (Transformers)

4x17-a-very-crappy-christmas-south-park-21651796-500-375On December 24, Bill Murray waits in his hotel suite at the Carlyle gradually realizing that a massive snowstorm has caused most of the guests for his live Christmas special to cancel. As time runs out his two producers, Liz (Amy Poehler), and Bev (Julie White), coerce him into going on with the show as he is financially on the hook if he cancels. With minimal crew Murray goes live but in the middle of singing a song he begins to weep and then flees the studio. While trying to leave the hotel he sees Chris Rock whom he forces into performing “Do You Hear What I Hear?” with him. During a power outage Rock flees and the producers inform Murray that as the power outage is considered an Act of God the special can now be cancelled.
4x17-a-very-crappy-christmas-south-park-21651796-500-375
Filled with relief Murray goes to the Carlyle bar where he sings a song with an anonymous waitress (Jenny Lewis). After they hear the chefs shouting they go to investigate and realize that the French chefs (Phoenix) are overwhelmed as the fridges have stopped working and the food is about to go bad. Murray encourages them to bring the food to the bar so that the few patrons can eat it all. On his way back to the bar he passes a weeping bride (Rashida Jones) who informs him that her wedding was called off due to the cold and who is also upset because she has fought with her fiancé, Elliot.
A Very Murray Christmas
The French chefs sing “Alone on Christmas Day”, followed by the lounge singer (Maya Rudolph) performing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”. Afterwards the bride comes out wheeling a cake and asks Bill Murray about his theory of love. He asks Elliot and the bride to look at one another and think of the moment when they fell in love with each other. The couple sing “I Saw the Light” and become re-engaged. At 12:01 the remaining guests at the hotel wish each other a merry Christmas and then sing “Fairytale of New York” together. At the end of the song, Murray, who had been drinking heavily, passes out.
nedvmzemhebahl_1_bWhile unconscious Murray dreams that he awakens on a beautiful set in the middle of his Christmas special. In his dream he is joined by George Clooney and Miley Cyrus. As Clooney prepares martinis, Cyrus and Murray sing “Sleigh Ride” together. After a few more musical numbers between himself, Cyrus and Clooney, Murray reawakens in his suite at the Carlyle where he realizes it is still Christmas.A Very Murray ChristmasA Very Murray Christmas is a slight chore to get into, but once it relaxes, it’s actually an enjoyably somber affair. Murray never quite overcomes the “Christmas Blues” he feels at the outset, but that’s all part of the sad sack selling point.

REVIEW: BURN AFTER READING

CAST

Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly)
George Clooney (The Ides of March)
Frances McDormand (Fargo)
John Malkovich (Red)
Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Richard Jenkins (The Cabin In The Woods)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
David Rasche (Ugly Betty)
Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory)
Dermot Mulroney (New Girl)

Faced with a demotion at work due to a drinking problem, Osbourne Cox angrily quits his job as a CIA analyst and resolves to write a memoir about his life and career. When his pediatrician wife Katie finds out, she sees it as a justifiable opportunity to file for divorce and continue her adulterous affair unimpeded. Taking her lawyer’s advice, she copies financial records and several other files from her husband’s computer onto a CD. These files contain a rambling, meaningless diatribe by Cox on purported CIA activities.
When the CD gets left on the locker room floor of Hardbodies, a local gym, by a careless law firm employee, it falls into the hands of dim-witted personal trainer Chad Feldheimer and his co-worker Linda Litzke, who mistakenly believe the numerical data in the Coxes’ bank records, and especially, Cox’s diatribes, to be highly sensitive government information. After getting the data traced back to Osbourne, who thinks his memoirs have been stolen, Chad and Linda plan to give the disc back to him for a reward, with Linda planning to use the money to pay for plastic surgery. When a phone call and subsequent meeting with Osbourne provoke a furious reaction and go horribly wrong, Chad and Linda turn over the disc to the Russian embassy, offering more information in return for monetary compensation. With no other data to give them, Linda persuades Chad to sneak into the Coxes’ home to get more files from their computer.
Meanwhile, Osbourne’s increasingly erratic behavior, aggravated in part by his encounters with Chad and Linda, prompt Katie to move ahead with the divorce proceedings. She changes the locks on their house, forcing Osbourne to move onto the sailboat they have docked on the Chesapeake Bay. With her husband out of the picture, Katie invites her lover, Harry Pfarrer, to move in. A womanizing, multi-adulterous deputy U.S. Marshal, Harry is coincidentally also secretly seeing Linda. Harry finds Chad, whom Linda sent to find more files on Osbourne, hiding in a wardrobe in the Coxes’ home, panics, and fatally shoots Chad.
Two days later at the CIA headquarters, Palmer Smith, Osbourne’s former superior, and his director learn that information from Osbourne has been given to the Russian Embassy. The two men are perplexed, given Osbourne’s low-level security clearance, the material delivered to the Russians being of no importance to anyone, and the apparent motive of all involved parties remaining unknown. Smith is told to maintain observation until the situation “makes sense.” Harry, burdened by keeping the day prior’s events secret, gets into an argument with Katie and decides to leave the house. On his way out, he spots a man who has been trailing him for the past several days. After tackling him to the ground, Harry finds out that the man is a private detective hired by his wife Sandra “Sandy” to gather evidence for impending divorce proceedings. Sandy is shown to be having an extramarital liaison of her own. Harry is devastated and goes to see an agitated Linda, who confides in Harry that Chad is missing. Harry agrees to help find Chad.
The next morning, Harry and Linda meet in a park. Linda spots a former date on a nearby bench (ostensibly waiting to meet another online dating hookup), who has also noticed her and is clearly looking in her direction. Harry notices this and asks Linda if she knows the man. Linda, embarrassed to admit to a previous assignation, denies knowing him, which makes Harry suspicious. Linda provides him with more information about Chad’s disappearance. When Linda mentions the name “Osbourne Cox,” Harry figures out that Chad is the man he shot. He panics, realizes that there are strange men in the park (most likely the CIA people trailing Linda) and flees, assuming Linda is a spy. Linda then turns to Ted Treffon, the kindhearted manager of Hardbodies, who has unrequited feelings for her and has been critical of Linda and Chad’s scheming thus far. In her frustration, Linda exclaims that she hates Ted, which devastates him. Believing the Russians have kidnapped Chad, he agrees to go to the Coxes’ home to search Osbourne’s computer. Unemployed and having spent the past several days living on a small boat, Osbourne becomes unhinged when he finds out that Katie has emptied his bank accounts and, no longer having keys, decides to break into the house to get some of his personal belongings. Finding Ted in the basement, Osbourne initially takes him to be Katie’s lover. He soon realizes Ted’s affiliation with Linda and what he refers to as the “league of morons” he feels that he has been struggling against his whole life and kills Ted.
At CIA headquarters a few days later, Palmer and his director try to understand what exactly happened. It is revealed that while trying to board a flight to Venezuela, Harry was detained because his name was on a hot list and that the CIA is holding Linda, who is promising to “play ball” and “sit on it” if they will pay for her plastic surgery. A CIA agent shot Osbourne during his assault on Ted and the bullet has put Osbourne in a coma. The director instructs Palmer to let Harry fly to Venezuela (as that country has no extradition treaty with the US and therefore will not send him back) and pay for Linda’s surgery. The director and Palmer conclude that despite their oversight and the unusual events that have unfolded, there appears to be no lesson for the agency to have learned, be it moral, espionage or otherwise. “I guess we learned not to do it again,” the director concludes (despite not knowing exactly what they did) and closes his file. Meanwhile, staff at the Russian embassy have dismissed the contents of Cox’s ramblings in the files from his computer—arguably the one factor that started off the entire chain of events—as “drivel”.The writing is brilliant and the Coens weave the story in such a way that it reminds me of their previous movie, The Big Lebowski. In the end, as J.K. Simmons character sums it up himself, nothing really happens, but while watching it all unfold, you can’t help but laugh at the absurdity.