Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tropic Thunder

Tropic Thunder is a pretty interesting comedy concept... it's a movie about the making of another movie, with some of today's well-known actors playing the roles of stereotypical actors. Ben Stiller is the over-exposed action star whose popularity is fading... Robert Downey Jr. is the award-winning thespian from down under... and Jack Black is the comedian known mostly for fart jokes and incidentally hooked on drugs. Together with the rap-star-turned-actor and the young wanna-be actor, they are in the process of making a Vietnam War film telling a tale of tragedy and survival. When things seem to be falling apart quickly and the director is threatened to be removed from the film, he takes the advice of the veteran about whom the movie was based and puts the actors "in the shit" to get them motivated. With the help of hidden cameras and their pyrotechnics coordinator, the five actors are dropped in the middle of the Vietnamese jungle and "the shit" hits the metaphorical fan pretty quick. Tempers flare and drug-runners come into play to keep things interesting as their fictional war in the jungle turns into a real struggle for survival. I think that about sums it up, so let's get on to what matters...

Original Release: 2008
Running Time: 107 minutes
Hardee-Har-Har - $2
It's just funny people. It isn't in-your-face funny or entirely over-the-top funny... but just darn funny. When I wasn't laughing out loud, I was laughing on the inside. You get what you expect from Stiller, Downey Jr., and Black... but get more than your money's worth from some of the unexpected additions to the cast.

Acting - $1

Actors playing actors was fun to watch. You almost have to wonder how they research these roles or try to get into character... do they just call up their friends?? I'm sure Downey gave Black a tip or two on how to be coming down cold turkey. It was definitely done in a way that they were able to make fun of themselves and their compatriots, but I honestly think it was done well. Downey's split between the "actual" voice and persona of the Australian actor and the African-American soldier he went through surgery to become was brilliant. In the end though, it is a comedy and was not taken seriously throughout... nor should it have been.

Pump up the Jams - $1

Tropic Thunder had a pretty sweet soundtrack! With most movies you don't even really notice the music, and when you do you don't necessarily care. Several times while watching T.T. though, I found myself thinking "man, I love this song". It's a pretty eclectic mix of rap, techno and rock but it works quite well.

Shock Value - $1

The vast majority of this movie is pretty expected... what I DIDN'T see coming was the unbelievable supporting cast and cameos. Tom Cruise was on the screen for a good 5 minutes before I realized it was him. And he's not alone. I felt like every time I turned around there was another actor (big or small) that I didn't know was going to be in it.

Action and Ass-Kickery - $1

It's a movie about the making of a war movie... so yeah, there's a little bit of action here. I'm not giving it the maximum score though because of it was fake movie action and the other half wasn't incredible impressive. I mean... none of these guys are known for putting on a good fight scene, so I thankfully wasn't expecting much in that way. There's definitely a lot of shooting though and some nifty 'splosions so I'd be remiss not to give a dollar.
Total Rating: $6

I probably would have seen this eventually, but definitely wouldn't have picked it up so soon if a chica I know hadn't spoken so highly about it. And for that, I thank her. I really enjoyed watching Tropic Thunder and look forward to an upcoming Saturday morning when my roommate and I are likely hungover on the couch and I make him watch it too. I might even let his girlfriend join... maybe.

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