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Tropic Thunder


I saw this flick over the weekend. Here's the short review: it's freakin' hilarious, gotta be the funniest movie in a long time, and everyone should go see it.

The long review (without spoilers for now):

The movie is about 5 actors trying to make a serious, Oscar-baiting Vietnam war movie. In order to get all of these egomaniacs to perform well and get along, the director and the veteran who wrote the book this movie is based on decide to drop them off in a real, dangerous Vietnamese jungle area and plant hidden cameras and movie explosives everywhere to capture their real emotions.

But basically this whole movie's main purpose is to make fun of Hollywood, movies, and pop culture. But not in that stupid Scary Movie spoof way, rather with really outlandish and incisive images and dialogue.

The cast:

- Ben Stiller, who co-wrote the movie, is an action movie hero star of the "Scorched" series. His career is waning as the Scorched sequels get worse and worse, and after his attempt at drama as Simple Jack, where he played a retarded farm boy. Tropic Thunder is his last chance at revitalizing his career.

- Some actor I'm not familiar is Alpa-Chino, rapper who uses his name and image to sell a drink called Booty Sweat and a candy bar called Bust-A-Nut (or something like that). As his lyrics point he out quite frequently, he "loves the pussy."

- Jack Black's character is a drug-addled comic actor and maker of low-brow comedies, including movies called Fatties, which his him playing different characters in fat suits who fart a lot (an obvious spoof of Eddie Murphy). His smack addiction and self-destructive behavior, coupled with his weight, are visual reminders of Chris Farley and John Belushi.

- some actor I don't know the name of but seen him before is the young unknown actor, and the only sane voice on the "set."

- and of course Robert Downy, Jr, in the comedic performance of a lifetime, as a 5-time Oscar winning, Australian method actor. His role in Tropic Thunder is a black character, so the actor Downy plays gets skin pigmentation surgery to appear African-American. Being method, he talks and acts like his character all the time. "I don't get out of character until I finish the DVD commentary."

- Nick Nolte is the Vietnam vet who wrote the book, Tropic Thunder on which their movie is based. Nolte plays this up as the extreme charicature of the grizzled, world wearied vet who doesn't sleep on beds because "they give me nightmares."

- Matthew Macona-however-you-spell-it, the pretty boy from Contact, is Stiller's character's agent

- Steve Coogan is the hapless director of the film who can't control his actors' egos. Incidentally, before the movie started playing, he was in a trailer for something called Hamlet 2 which looks very funny.

- and last and, believe it or not, certainly not least, Tom Cruise- yes, that Tom Cruise- as the slimy, sleazy, balding, hairy, puffy corporate mogul financing the film.

All are hilarious, possibly motivated by the fact that they get to make fun of everything that annoys them about the movie business. Downy and Cruise are especially great. Downy's character spoofs Russel Crowe and Collin Farrell with his "off-screen bad boy image," and Deniro and other famous method actors who take themselves way too seriously.

Yes this movie is facing some light "controversy." Downy is in blackface, of course, and some people hate that. And Stiller's "Simple Jack" thing is pissing off some mentally handicapped advocates. Of course there's no way anyone who saw this movie and isn't retarded (sorry, couldn't help myself) could see that they're not making fun of blacks and the mentally handicapped at all- they're making fun of Hollywood dealing with these issues.

There are also two specific visual images that made me rotfl. Won't get into it but you'd know what I'm talking about when you see it.

I'm just so happy this movie was made, as it really takes on everything I hate about mainstream Hollywood drama and the Oscars and all that crap.
Interesting. I saw the trailer for this an instantly dismissed it. The last several years Ben Stiller has spat out a lot of movies in a short amount of time, and they all sucked, so I assumed this was going to be another one. Perhaps Ill check it out
Yeah forgot to mention that I've never been a Stiller fan at all. I never really saw his old TV show, saw Something About Mary in the theater for free (false bomb scare in a theater during another movie got me a free ticket- New York is fun!) and just found it irredeemably juvenile, and never bothered with any of the rest.

I initially dismissed this one too until I heard a clip of dialogue on the radio of Downey's character telling Stiller's why he didn't get Oscar notice for Simple Jack. "You went full retard. Never go full retard." It was such a vicious yet accurate skewering attack on Hollywood "prestige" films that I had to see it.
I just got sick of seeing Ben Stiller AS Ben Stiller in every single friggin' movie. Night at the Museum looked like so much fun, but he sucked so much butt.
I just got sick of seeing Ben Stiller AS Ben Stiller in every single friggin' movie. Night at the Museum looked like so much fun, but he sucked so much butt.

Fortunately, the rest of the cast of Tropic Thunder rules. This one is all about Downey, Black, Cruise and Nolte.
Huh, I might give this a watch. I was going to pass on it because of the Stiller. I always seem to be watching his movies in spite of him, instead of because of him. I liked Dodgeball, but more for the puerile joy of seeing Rip Torn throw wrenches at people, and Gary Cole and Justin Bateman as absolutely hilarious sports commentators. Hated Stiller in it. I fell asleep in Zoolander.
This movie was hilarious! My only complaint is that it could have done without Jack Black's character. It seemed pointless.

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