Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The most important movie you'll see until the next movie you see

Wherein I haven't laughed this much since the South Park movie

Went to Tropic Thunder this evening and it was much more than I expected.

Let me get this out the way. Timothy Shriver is a very dangerous person who would happily destroy the foundations of this country. Plus, he doesn't know shit about comedy: But I was taught that mean isn't funny. Then you went to a bad school. It's never funny when good and decent human beings are humiliated. Have you ever watched network comedies or even most movies or read any form of literature? You have no right to be free from offense and freedom of speech requires people playing with language and speech and ideas that often cross the line. You have the right to not laugh but to insist that no one else gets to laugh is an even more offensive proposition than any name-calling I can think of. If this blog has any coherent political thought it's "back the fuck away from the speech codes."

Robert Downey, Jr. was the only reason I wanted to see this movie. The guy is just operating on a different level than everyone else. I can't think of anyone I'd be remotely interested to see play a white Australian play an African American. And Downey is brilliant. Even Jack Black and Ben Stiller, both of whom I prefer in small doses, never have a weak moment. Everyone works great in this movie, with the most surprising being Tom Cruise. Crazy dude steals the movie.

It's a surprisingly toned movie, trading the gross and outrageous with dark comedy and disquisitions on the acting craft that are both heartfelt and farce. If you're looking for influences, there's a bit of Conrad; or considering the insiderishness of the themes, skip Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now and head straight to the documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse. Other aspects of the film's lineage can be traced to The Stunt Man, S.O.B., and even All That Jazz with the studio discussion of how a dead actor is more valuable than a live actor. For me, every note this movie hit was pitch perfect and the soundtrack was badass. To wrap up I'll just point out that while Shriver threw a hissy over the use of "retard" he apparently had no problem with "pussy juice." In addition to the movie, the producers also throw in one fake commercial and three fake previews. Quite the bargain.

Here's where I planned to post Stiller's The Hustler of Money, I can't find it, so imagine a young Ben Stiller playing a young Tom Cruise at a bowling alley.


Blogger Outis said...

It's never funny when good and decent human beings are humiliated.

Yeah, this statement couldn't be more wrong.

8/14/2008 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger Outis said...

Other aspects of the film's lineage can be traced to ... S.O.B. ....

Whoa! You mean Julie Andrews flashs her tits in this movie? Isn't she a little old for that? (Although last time I saw her she was still looking pretty sharp.)

8/14/2008 12:34:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

For those reading at work, I accept your thanks for not putting pussy juice in the title.

8/14/2008 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

No nudity, whatsoever. Other than some faux rap video misogyny, that area was offense was left empty.

Speaking of Julie Andrews, have you watched "Mary Poppins" any time soon? All cinched up in that Victorian getup, it was quite the sexually charged performance. Ain't for nothing all the men do her bidding.

8/14/2008 07:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Leo said...

Downey was the only reason I wanted to see the movie, but reviews like this make me more interested.

Also, you're quite the prolific blogger lately - 4 posts in a day.

8/14/2008 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

little secret, the published time stamp is not necessarily the written time stamp. Having said that, I have no more Olympic excerpts ready to go and the next few days might be a dry spell.

8/14/2008 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Outis said...

Julie Andrews was incredibly babe-a-licious back then - and for a long, long time thereafter. But I remeber Mary Poppins more for its subversion of modern parenting techniques than for anything else.

8/14/2008 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger justkim said...

In 2003 I got to meet Dame Julie at a book signing she was doing at Disney. I told her how much I enjoyed her vocal performance on the original cast recording of Putting It Together (Whoa! Mary Poppins says "Fuck it"!) and for being so subversive through her career. She was very gracious, kind and beautiful, and she seemed to genuinely appreciate the comment.

8/14/2008 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger XWL said...

Sorry, no Julie Andrews anecdotes, but I did see Tropic Thunder this morning, and enjoyed the hell out of it. On The Daily Show Thursday, Stiller mentioned he's been kicking around this idea for more than a decade, I think this movie wouldn't have been nearly as good if it had been made any sooner. This cast wouldn't have come together at any point previous, and I can't imagine any other group of actors doing as well with the material.

I do have a non-celebrity sighting for today, though. Saw Kendra at the pizza place my friend and I frequent after seeing the early matinee most Saturdays. It was strange seeing her out of context, sounds like she's in the process of moving out of the Playboy Mansion, and I wasn't certain it was her until she laughed.

(ugggh, that laugh, the stuff of nightmares)

(and I wasn't eavesdropping, she just talks loud, and everyone else in the place was silent)

8/17/2008 12:23:00 AM  

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