I like leaving movies unspoiled, although I care little about spoilers myself.
Unless there’s some killer twist involved, I don’t mind much hearing about scenes because how they are done can’t be fully captured in words, being part of the cinematic artistry. The Mona Lisa is some Italian lady faintly smiling with a landscape to her back; you still don’t get the effect of the composition though. Bruce Willis being a ghost IS a spoiler, and for those that don’t know I won’t mention the M. Night Shyamalan career-making drama that’s involved … That co-starred Haley Osment … was released in 1999 … with a title that rhymes with “6 pence”.
Tropic Thunder is worth admission and gas costs. If you don’t trust my discretion, you can stop reading now. For the faithful, I’ll elaborate.
This is the second Ben Stiller joint, by which I mean the second film he’s written and directed, with the first being Zoolander. “Joint” references the phrase “a Spike Lee joint” self-describing his own movie projects – and although he’s too much of a short angry black dude to write comedy – Stiller can (like many short angry Jewish men). Tropic Thunder shows an elevation in his filmmaking from it’s multi-layered blurring of the fourth wall. This is a comedy flick about the making of an action war drama with the meat of the sandwich is a parody of actors and Hollywood culture.
Sounds like a lot, and it is. The movies comes off as a little busy overall, too much of an ensemble for Ben to handle. Jack Black is underused despite being a third of the promotional poster and an established comedic actor. Kung Fu Panda gave me an overdose of the Motion Picture Academy’s recommended yearly allowance of Black anyway, so I‘m not cheated. Much of his tertiary comedy allotment was devoted to Tom “Fuck’in Bananas Star Baby” Cruise of all people, and …rightfully so. “Cruise is funnier than Black?” Yes, bitch, yes! His role makes up for a lot of the plot’s convolutions – if you‘re LOLing mission accomplished damn it.
Matthew McConaughey was sufficient, but Robert Downey was a big draw that delivered.
On an aside, I refuse to add “Jr.” after his name. Unless you’re a fan of the obscure films Rented Lips or Too Much Sun, when have you ever referenced RD senior? Notice above I didn’t write “Haley Joel Osment” either, it’s a name not a lordly title! As a fetus you got nominated for Best Supporting in the 6th Sense (yes, that’s the movie – suck it!), but I don’t need your complete etymological pedigree, toe-headed muthafucka.
Downey captured his role as a character actor in ridiculous role masterfully. A lot of folks have been up in arms about this being a new kind of black face minstrel portrayal – and it kind of is, but within the movie. He plays the Australian actor Kirk Lazarus’ skewed interpretation of black Creole sergeant Lincoln Osirus – in effect RD playing Gary Oldham playing Courtney Vance playing the Doc Johnson character in Hamburger Hill. It makes you want to slice out your own eyes with a Netflix envelope when diagramed out this way, but in action it’s funny from the way Downey lets the Aussie peak out from behind the black façade in tense moments. It’s not making fun of black people, but more so making fun of white people whom think they understand black people.
Speaking of which, their actual token Black dude is played by Detroit-born comedian Brandon Jackson as the gangster rapper Alpa Chino in the Laurence Fishburne’s role from Apocalypse now. His exchanges with Downey are pretty good for venting the annoyance a black man would with this “Aussie nigga”.
So, kind of complicated with a plot that starts off somewhat feasible but says, “Fuck it” as it goes along. You won’t mind this though as you’re focused on not throwing up Goobers from laughing so hard.