Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tropic Thunder

Just got back from seeing Tropic Thunder - it is really funny, and really smart. It's like a satirical comedy, lampooning various Hollywood-type genres (the war-pic, the I-Am-Sam, the Eddie-Murphie-in-a-fat-suit/fart joke, the energy-drink pusher, the gay priest) while posing as a stupid genre movie. Robert Downey Jr. was terrific as the Russell Crowe-like method actor. His character kept talking about the craft of acting and the importance of connecting with the audience on their own level - too hilarious. That man's a genius. But the absolute best was Tom Cruise as the studio exec. with these ridiculous, hairy, meaty paws and forearms. I'm not kidding, Tom C. is worth the price of admission. I think this is his Pulp Fiction.

BTW, there's been a fair amount of talk about the film's use of the word "retarded", and I think that's good. It's a word I really hate and when I hear it, you bet my hackles go up. Ben Stiller's character is an actor who played a mentally disabled person in another movie called "Simple Jack". The use of the word "retarded" and Stiller's character's performance illustrate how ignorant so many people's (and a number of movies) perceptions are of what it is to be mentally disabled. I did not think those instances were about being cruel or offense to the mentally disabled themselves, and, believe me, I'm pretty damn sensitive about the matter.

When I first saw the trailer for this movie a few months ago, I couldn't believe RDj was wearing what looked for all the world like modern-day blackface. That risky move is so interesting - it's offensive, and in a way it's kind of a brilliant example. In one scene I'm sure you've all seen from the trailer, RDj's character says, "What do you mean, 'you people'?" and then the actual African American behind him says, "What do you mean, 'you people'?" Capturing the black experience (or the mentally disabled one) is not done by playing a role, or putting on make-up, or spending time in that world, it's living it, your whole life.

So, I'd recommend it. It's a very clever movie. (Also I'd like to thank Ben Stiller for the joke in the title for us grammar nerds!)

Big news: M and I booked tickets for our 10 year anniversarymoon. We'd been planning on going to Paris, but prohibitively high ticket prices and the lure of going somewhere neither of us had been before led to a slight change of plans: Florence! Oh, I'm so excited! It's going to be amazing!


KHM said...

you'll love Florence--lucky you!

clterry said...

B and I so want to see that movie. We went and saw The Clone Wars instead, b/c S and L have been wanting to see that really badly. B and I thought maybe we could drop them off in theater #8, tell them not to move, we would come back and check on them and we would be in theater #3. Being the good parents that we are, we decided against that, and saw a okay movie. Will Star War movies ever end?

Yea! Lucky you on your trip to Florence.

Laura W. said...

Florence was one of my favorite places to visit... I hope you both have a FABULOUS time and Happy Anniversary!! On another note, I broke down and saw Tropic Thunder as well. I was also pleasantly surprised by the whole satire. The BEST part was Tom C. dancing at the end... I swear I howled like they very breath was leaving my body. So much for writing Tom C. off my "never to see actor again" list...