Tropic Thunder

“I had several completely opposite films to choose from this time. I’d actually been set on one at the beginning of the project, then changed to being dead set on another, and then changed it again a couple days ago when this shirt made its way to the front of my closet. It’s okay to skip the “”movie I should know better”” in favor of the “”awesome one I love but haven’t seen in a while””.

Everything about this movie is comic genius. Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr play big shot Hollywood actors, the worst spoiled brats in the business, and they travel to Asia to film a war movie. The movie is going way over budget and it’s only the beginning. Something goes wrong and they find themselves in the actual jungle facing real insurgents. Except these guys think it’s all just part of the movie.

The casting is probably the most brilliant part. First off, Stiller and Black are just smart bets as the action star who can no longer sell tickets and the funny man who spends more days in rehab than out. They’re doing their thing that they’re known for and anchor the movie. You’ve got Matthew McConaughey as the slick talking enabler of an agent. There’s some now well known names that were introduced in this film: Steve Coogan as the n00b in over his head director, Danny McBridge as the trigger happy effects guy, Jay Baruchel and Brandon T Jackson as naive actors who don’t know what they’re getting into. But the real gems are the against type roles. Tom Cruise unrecognizable as producer Les Grossman, showing us that he doesn’t always have to be pretty and that he can in fact be funny. But even better is Robert Downey Jr as Kirk Lazarous, actor extraordinare. This American plays an Australian playing an African American. You know how brilliant it is? He got an Academy Award nomination for the role. Seriously. This film got an Oscar nod, and not just in one of the smaller categories, but in one of the above the line prestigous categories. He was up against Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Michael Shannon, and Josh Brolin, who all lost out to Heath Ledger. You have no idea how happy it makes me that a film like this could get major Academy recognition.

Such quotable goodness. “”I don’t drop character til I done the DVD commentary”” “”I don’t know what it’s called. I only know the sound it makes when it kills a man”” “”I’m the dude, playing a dude, disguised as another dude”” And of course, this whole exchange

Anybody ever notice Ben Stiller’s tendancy to play characters whose names sound cool in the movie, but no one would ever go thru life with it? Tugg Speedman. White Goodman. Okay maybe it’s just those two, at least as far as first names go. Throw last names into the mix and you’ve also got Greg Focker and Derek Zoolander.

Funny side story. Back at my old apt, when I bought my old surround sound off the BFFF, Tropic Thunder was the first movie I watched. Having no idea what was about to happen, the vampire cat Lestat had the misfortune of sitting down in the center of my bed, which was the sweet spot where all the audio hit. And then one of the violent scenes happened. Gunfire everywhere. Sound coming from all corners of the room. Kitty freaked the \m/ out. I laughed hysterically. It didn’t take her long to get used to it, and now she and her brother (he wasn’t around then) are rarely phased by any sounds coming out the speakers. Even now, Lestat is sitting in the middle of the floor. Not bothered by the sound. Just giving me a pathetic look in hopes of food.”

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