Sunday, November 8, 2009

11-8-09: Richter's and The Men Who Stare at Goats

My buddy Dan and I realized that it had been quite a while since we had gone to a bar then watched a crazy movie, so we re-started that tradition by visiting Richter's in New Haven and then seeing The Men Who Stare at Goats, starring George Clooney and Ewan McGregor.

Richter's is a great old tavern/bar on Chapel Street near the Green, about a block away from the Yale campus. Because of its proximity to Yale, you tend to get a lot of Yalies in there during the school year. That's not necessarily a bad thing in general, as they're a lot quieter and classier than what you'll find at a few other bars in New Haven like Black Bear and some of the clubs. The downside of Yalies is that, if you're not a Yalie, they won't talk to you. They're so exclusive that you really shouldn't bother unless you know a friend of a friend from somewhere else.

But the half yards are something else. They come in a glass that's shaped like an elongated hour glass and required a special wooden holder to keep it stable while upright. It's a real chore to drink, but well worth the $9 for the experience. I'd say it's about 36-40 ounces of beer. I ended up ordering one of Radeberger Pilsner. It was quite good.

We then hoofed it a few blocks to Stella Blues to grab one more round (I had a Guinness) before seeing The Men Who Stare at Goats at the Criterion theatre.

Overall, it was an OK movie. The premise is pretty much that an underachieving reporter, played by Ewan McGregor, goes to the Kuwait to get a war story. He runs into George Clooney's character, whose name he recognizes from an interview he did of a guy back home who claimed to be a "psychic warrior" for the U.S. Army in the 80's. McGregor's character ends up following Clooney's character into Iraq to help Clooney achieve some "mission," while learning about the strange Army unit Clooney had belonged to.

In the end, it has its wacky parts, and the story doesn't really work. I thought it was goofy enough to enjoy after a few beers. Good, brainless fun, but not for true movie lovers.

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