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Monday, August 18, 2008

Tropic Em Effin' Thunder

Well leave it to Tropic Thunder to finally push The Dark Knight out of the top slot at the box office. I went and saw this movie on Saturday. I was really really really looking forward to this movie. I have mixed feelings about Ben Stiller, but that's mostly from personal experiences I've randomly had with the man. But over the years, one thing he has proven is that he writes well and is a truly funny guy. Apparently Tropic Thunder was something he was working on for the past decade.

I enjoyed the movie alot. I'm going to give one spoiler because it has to be said, and was already touched on when he was the guest on The Daily Show last week. Tom Cruise was the best thing about this movie. I am not a big fan of that man but I think his turn in this film just may have revived his career.

A close second is Robert Downey Jr. He seriously is one of my favorite actors out there now, again, like he was in the 90s with Chaplin and Short Cuts. Sure, there's this controversy of him wearing the black face. But the depth of the character that is playing another character is amusing and what keeps this performance in check, in my opinion, is that it's overtly theatrical. His character as Kirk Lazarus, the 5 time Academy Award winning Aussie actor is remeniscent of a cross between Daniel Day Lewis and Russel Crowe. His character that the aussie is playing in the fictional movie of Tropic Thunder, seems to have been based on bits and pieces of African American culture from blacksploitation films and sitcoms from the 70s. I believe that offers enough of a disconnect, given the time that has gone by, that it keeps this as entertainment and doesn't go into the racism category. At least for me. Plus...having the character of Alpha Chino there to keep this fake black man in check added a hilarious element to the film. It's almost like Ben Stiller acknowledged how wrong this was and put a real black man in the movie to stay on his ass.

Ben Stiller and Jack Black delivered, as usual. I wasn't too impressed beyond what I had already expected from either of them. That's not a bad thing. Like in Pineapple Express with James Franco, I feel Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr are the main reasons anyone should really see this movie.

The action was great. Nick Nolte was surprising, coming back to comedy after like three decades. I loved the elements in this film that obviously poke fun at Hollywood and the way things work behind the scenes. Now, given that last statement, I find it absurd that there's this controversy over the use of the word retard in the movie. Sure, retard is not a complimentary word. Ben Stiller's character "Tugg Speedman" had made a movie called "Simple Jack" about a mentally disabled person that went horribly wrong at the box office. This character reminded me of Of Mice And Men.

So what I gather is that people are up in arms about the use of the word retard and how Ben Stiller, and the movie, are mocking mentally disabled people. Where it seems to me that the movie is mocking those that use that term, the way Hollywood treats actors who play those types of characters, and is not necessarily making any direct insults or comments focused towards these disabled people.

Did that make sense? Hell, I don't care if it didn't. People will boycott what they wanna boycott.

Rounding out the cast is Danny McBride. Yeah that guy who was in the Foot Fist Way and Pineapple Express. Keep an eye on this guy. I think he'll be doing some really cool things in the coming years.

If I had stars, it'd get 4 1/2 out of 5 from me.

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