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