SPOILER ALERT !!
TROPIC THUNDER pretty much won me over only a few seconds in when I realized that the rapper character played by Brandon T. Jackson called himself “Alpa Chino.” Completely ridiculous and totally plausible. So many rappers are obsessed with SCARFACE, CARLITO’S WAY and THE GODFATHER, and so many name themselves after notorious figures: Capone, Noreaga, Moriarty, Scarface, Rick Ross, Freeway, 50 Cent, Beanie Sigel, Irv Gotti, Young Gotti, Daz Dillinger, Kenn Starr, Jim Jones, Hittler. And I seriously only made up two of those names. So the possibility of Alpa Chino’s Booty Sweat Energy Drink actually existing is so likely that I think most of the crowd really wasn’t sure if the movie had started or if this was a real advertisement.
And that’s one tiny example of why this movie worked for me. Personally I consider parody as it’s usually done to be one of the lower artforms, somewhere below smooth jazz and novelty answering machine messages. I haven’t watched any of these MEET THE SPARTANS type movies (I had to wash my hair that day I think) or the SCARY MOVIE generation before that, or the one where Leslie Nielsen dresses up as Braveheart. I won’t even watch those thumb movies like THUMB WARS, BAT-THUMB or THUMMO. I did watch WALK HARD and I kind of enjoyed it, there were alot of good laughs in it and of course John C. Reilly was good, but for me just being a funny parody doesn’t usually hold together as an actual movie.
TROPIC THUNDER isn’t really in that category – it’s a bunch of parodies within a satire within a meta-something or other that has been ritualistically devoured by a larger parody. But the parody aspects work because they’re so accurate. Ben Stiller, after spending most of this century dabbling in mediocrity, comes back to directing with guns fuckin blazin. This is Ben Stiller, director of CABLE GUY, as opposed to Ben Stiller, the guy who agreed of his own free will to star in NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 1&2.
As you probaly know, the story is about some dumbass actors (Stiller, Jackson, Jack Black, Jay Baruchel and 2008 America’s Sweetheart Robert Downey II) who, while filming a Vietnam War movie, end up abandoned in the jungle fighting a drug cartel, all the while stupidly believing they are doing a BLAIR WITCH style guerilla filmmaking experiment. I think it’s a funny premise, but what keeps it going is that the story naturally crosses paths with many different aspects of modern American culture (from stupid NUTTY PROFESSOR style comedies to pretentious Oscar bait, from talentless celebrity drug addicts to self-important geniuses to egomaniacal billionaire executives) and in almost all cases the observations are smart and the attention to detail sells it.
Alot of times the fictional pop culture in a movie is not really believable enough to be very funny (FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL is a recent example – funny movie, but the opening Entertainment Tonight segment almost lost me). Stiller (maybe because he used to do that sketch comedy show) knows how to make it all seem legit. If he’s doing a trailer for a movie about farting fat people he knows exactly what the narrator says, how he says it, and when “U Can’t Touch This” comes in.
By the end of the movie it goes pretty nuts. It kind of turns into RAMBO, but even funnier. It also gets kind of sloppy – I lost track of who had real bullets and what not, and not every joke works. I mean it’s not perfect – I don’t want to hype it up too much. All of the characters are funny, but most of them leave you wishing a little more had been done with them. Danny McBride (as a pyrotechnician with a Boz cut) and Nick Nolte (as the Vietnam legend who wrote the book the movie-within-a-movie is based on) get sidelined for most of the movie. Maybe some of their stuff was cut out. Nolte is hilarious even when his character takes an unnecessary twist. I’m surprised it took this long after his deranged performance in HULK for somebody to tap him as a secret comedy weapon. He’s about the only former leading man who could easily out-BAD SANTA Billy Bob Thornton.
Seriously, think about it. So many movies would be better with Nolte in them. For example the last time I saw Danny McBride in a movie it was that DRILLBIT TAYLOR. The premise is that some kids are so fed up of being bullied that they pool their money to hire a bodyguard. They think they hired a war hero security expert but he’s actually just a homeless guy who wants to rob their house. With Owen Wilson as the homeless guy it’s cute I guess. But if it was Nick Nolte it would be hilarious. Not only would you believe he was homeless, you would worry that he is actually gonna kill the bullies.
Also, Nolte could’ve been the father of the baby in JUNO.
Downey will get the most discussion – it’s not every day you see Robert Downey, Jr. playing an Australian playing an African-American speaking Chinese. But I want to acknowledge that it’s nice to see Jack Black playing a different character than usual. I’m not saying he does some chameleonic transformation, but a fiend chasing dope like that cartoon wolf chases hot chicks is at least different from his usual lovable rock ‘n roll loser character, so it’s refreshing.
Two of the funniest characters are actually on the outskirts of the movie. Matthew McConaghey plays Stiller’s agent as the ultimate Maxim-brained Hollywood rich guy asshole. And I’m not gonna raise him on the same pedestal as Nolte, but I think McConaghey is another actor nobody remembers to take advantage of. Maybe he really wants to be doing Kate Hudson movies for the rest of his life and turns down the good roles, I’m not sure. But every once in a while he gets to really let loose like, say, in REIGN OF FIRE, and the guy is great. If you think he’s what the kids call “a total douchebag” that doesn’t even matter because this is the role he was born to play. His equally noble and retarded gesture of friendship near the end of the movie was one of the biggest laughs for me.
There’s also a superstar actor who you wouldn’t expect to do a movie like this, and I didn’t even recognize him in his first scene. If you don’t know about it try not to hear about it. It might be a calculated move to improve his image, but that doesn’t make it not funny as hell. Good job, unnamed actor.
I generally hate reviewing comedies, because I kind of feel like discussing what’s funny and what’s not is for assholes. I mean how many debates do we need about whether Apatow movies are hilarious or not funny at all? How many people can we get in one talkback pretending that everyone else is stupid for laughing or not laughing at different things? Doesn’t anyone feel weird about trying to explain “If you knew anything about film theory and criticism you would know that the one you said was funny is the one that is not funny, the one I think is funny is the one that is actually funny, fuck you you cocksucker, etc.”?
But I respect this movie so I thought I should vouch for it. For me anyway it was alot of belly laughs and at times bordered on genuine brilliance. I was kind of in awe of the complex juggling act Stiller is doing as not just the movie-within-the-movie but the movie itself becomes a parody of modern movie styles, making fun of cliches other parodists aren’t even smart enough to notice yet. The score is by some guy named Theodore Shapiro, who mostly does cheesy comedies. I sure hope the screening I saw was his score because it’s perfect, hitting on every modern action cliche from the quiet exotic sounds during slow motion money shots to the rockin guitars during chaotic battles.
I’m not gonna tell you what to do, but when this comes out next month I recommend it if you like laughter and all that and if you have the same sense of humor as me, which you probaly do, because I don’t know man, you seem pretty cool. I think you would like it.
Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/37437
View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback
July 13, 2008, 4:55 a.m. CST
Sounds pretty sweet.
Downey Jr is kickin all kinds of ass lately.
July 13, 2008, 4:55 a.m. CST
by Optimus Prime
This movie looks like it will be hilarious. Time will tell.
July 13, 2008, 4:56 a.m. CST
I know I was first. Who gives a rat’s ass?
July 13, 2008, 4:56 a.m. CST
July 13, 2008, 4:58 a.m. CST
Yep it looks good.
Ill be checking it out Maverick.
July 13, 2008, 5 a.m. CST
Can’t wait to see this.
by The Guy Who Slept Through Everything.
And EVERYONE knows who that unnamed actor is. His DAYS OF THUNDER are sure gone?
July 13, 2008, 5:06 a.m. CST
July 13, 2008, 5:10 a.m. CST
Damn You Michael Bay
Damn You Michael Bay
July 13, 2008, 5:19 a.m. CST
As someone who actually liked
THE CABLE GUY, I support Stiller in all his directorial outings.
July 13, 2008, 5:24 a.m. CST
I Agree With Guy Who Slept Through Everything
by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World
July 13, 2008, 5:34 a.m. CST
I’ve slept with Matthew McConaghey
and it wasnt bad…
July 13, 2008, 5:35 a.m. CST
I’m gonna name my next son Alpa
I will use a family name for his middle one thought.
July 13, 2008, 5:45 a.m. CST
This sounds great
by Col. Tigh-Fighter
And tell us more about sleeping with Matthew McConaghey. Like his phone number lol
July 13, 2008, 5:46 a.m. CST
Good review, but I already know I want to see this
I wish you reviewed something other than Steven Segal’s waist line more often, Vern. It’s always an entertaining read.
July 13, 2008, 5:52 a.m. CST
You sir, are a terrible cunt
July 13, 2008, 6:02 a.m. CST
I also agree with Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves
by The Guy Who Slept Through Everything.
Cause we’re both guys, who agree.
July 13, 2008, 6:32 a.m. CST
Saw an early screening at the Landmark in Westwood
*spoilers..kind of*Agree with what most of Vern is saying. Although, i did find some of the flick stale, mostly between the 1st and 2nd act. I felt that once the attention was moved away from Stiller, the movie really became funny. I think I laughed the hardest when RDJ and camp we’re just sitting around figuring out what to do..especially the script part, where RDJ would scream “SPIT IT OUT!” and change his facial expressions accordingly. The 3rd act was awesome. Bombastic, outrageous and everything else that makes these type of comedies enjoyable. The “unnamed” actor, as Vern calls him, has already been leaked by various sources (thanks Entertainment Weekly. you assholes). Just to hear the shock from the audience was GREAT. Knowing that he was going to play a prominent role in the flick didn’t impinge on its enjoyability. Good call on “unnamed”‘s behalf.
July 13, 2008, 6:35 a.m. CST
p.s. Steven Coogan
*kind of spoilery* Big effin fan of Coogan. Without getting into spoiler territory, I can say that I was vastly disappointed in his limited use. Although, the reason why we don’t see him too much is almost worth it. After the screening, I did go home and pop in “The Therapists” episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm that features Coogan to make up for the lack. Hands down my fav episode of that season. But I digress. Coogan was solid, for the little he did in it.
July 13, 2008, 6:57 a.m. CST
…for this effin film! after The Dark Knight (obviously) this is my most anticipated!
July 13, 2008, 7:15 a.m. CST
Fuck you, you cocksucker!
Is this movie as good as Team America?
July 13, 2008, 7:26 a.m. CST
Is there a single person…
that doesn’t know Tom Cruise plays a fat bald guy?
July 13, 2008, 7:29 a.m. CST
Nick Nolte at the father of the baby in Juno?
That would be more disturbing than anything!
BTW as much as I am looking forward to this movie, I find it slightly worrying that it is reviewed favourably in the same text that says that Forgetting Sarah marshall was funny. Oh dear.
July 13, 2008, 7:34 a.m. CST
not anymore asshole!
July 13, 2008, 7:45 a.m. CST
If Nolte was the Bodyguard in Dilbert..
The film makers of Dilbert would have feared for the child actors safety. They wouldn’t have been able to insure the kids. I wouldn’t let my kids with him. I want to know why they haven’t made a movie with Gary Busey and Nolte together yet. How about a “Two Men and a Baby” type theme?
July 13, 2008, 7:51 a.m. CST
So it is shit and studio payed for the blowjob review?
Sounds that way.
July 13, 2008, 7:54 a.m. CST
About time we got a decent comedy
July 13, 2008, 7:56 a.m. CST
Yeah!…all the things that you think are funny are the…
…exact things that are not at all funny and all the things that I….Oh, who gives a shit…I just laughed my ass off. Nicely written.
July 13, 2008, 8 a.m. CST
billypilgrimisunstuck, Tristram Shandy
Have you seen that horror?
How did they manage to con Gillian Anderson into screen time. Must have been big bucks.
While I enjoyed Saxondale it wasn’t really a comedy. And the other series just before it sucked ass, “Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible” . I’m sure there was another weak one revolving around a village.
So while Coogan is hit or miss, frankly he rides the Allan Partridge high wave, I was really disturbed by the Coogan Owen Wilson rumors.
Fuck I can’t picture Coogan as the die hard doper described as involved with the Wilson suicide affair.
July 13, 2008, 8:11 a.m. CST
Oh, and hey Lloytron…
…”Nick Nolte at the father of the baby in Juno?…That would be more disturbing than anything!”…that’s the sort of observation my Aunt Claire would make.
July 13, 2008, 8:13 a.m. CST
I knew Cruise was in the film, but I didn’t know anything about the specifics of his role.
Although shame on me for feeling surprised to see it when I opened the talkback.
July 13, 2008, 8:31 a.m. CST
Needs to get the fuck out of Hollywood and back to the U.K instead of wasting his talent for tiny roles in this and Night at the Museum 2. This is the third Tropic Thunder review with no or little mention of the man ive read, so his role must be tiny. Steve just because Sacha has pulled off success in America doesnt mean you can. Time to be a big fish in a little pond again and come home. The new Alan Partridge tour is a good start.
July 13, 2008, 8:49 a.m. CST
Anybody seen Richie?
by Motoko Kusanagi
I keep coming back until someone REMEMBERS seeing Richie.
July 13, 2008, 8:59 a.m. CST
Coogan’s role is small….
Because you can clearly see in the R-Rated trailer that he gets decapitated. That’s a fake head of Coogan that they are messing with.
July 13, 2008, 9:02 a.m. CST
Nice Carlin shout out
regarding smooth jazz and novelty answering machine messages.
July 13, 2008, 9:03 a.m. CST
by Iowa Snot Client
Is it just me or does anyone else read that as Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin? That derails me every time I see it. P.S. I hate Janeane Garafalo and Andy Dick and yet loved the Ben Stiller Show…must’ve been good writing or something.
July 13, 2008, 9:22 a.m. CST
laugh out loud time no? or else funny to blow job studio mess? When will military be racist to Iraq? Another studio pay-off!
July 13, 2008, 9:28 a.m. CST
That wasn’t very nice.
July 13, 2008, 9:29 a.m. CST
by Mr. Nice Gaius
Thanks for the review. For some reason, I don’t see a lot of comedies in the theaters. But this one has peaked my interest.
BTW – Like Nolte, do you know who else is criminally underused?
Think about that.
July 13, 2008, 9:32 a.m. CST
Forgetting sarah marshall…
…why the hate?? that was a funny ass movie. Not up there with Anchorman, Zoolander and such but then it’s a different kind of comedy. I’d say that Tropic will be nearer the first two. So no need to rip forgetting sarah marshall.
July 13, 2008, 9:43 a.m. CST
maybe this will pave the way for my Michael Bay biopic
by Spandau Belly
Seriously, I want to make a movie that starts off with Bay (played by Christian Bale) as a loser taking jobs directing music videos for rock stars everybody considers washed up and longing for a father figure.
The film will chronicle the development of his signature style when he realizes that everything is more exciting when you stand really close to it and shake your head. There will be a big scene where he’s watching Lethal Weapon shaking his head really close to the screen and listening to rap music and a light bulb just goes on and he concieves Bad Boyz.
The film will follow his rise to glory as he competes with Tony Scott (Philip Seymor Hoffman) for the affection of his father figure, Jerry Bruckheimer (Hugh Laurie). Bay will become increasingly egotistical and fall into problems with drugs and women as his success builds to his ultimate achievement, Armageddon, and then we’ll see his fall from grace with Pearl Harbor. Bay will hit the skids and become a drunken loser tormented by the Pearl Harbor’s reviews. Tony Scott will taunt him and Bay can no longer support his Hollywood lifestyle. Bay moves into a shitty apartment and takes an evening gig teaching youngsters how to film oiled-up cleavage and sports cars at community college and wanders around in a haze of failure.
Then Meat Loaf (played by Meat Loaf) shows up and encourages him to get back in the saddle saying that Bay believed in him when no one else did and he came back. ‘Rock ‘n Roll Dreams Come True’ by Meatloaf starts playing and we get training montage of Bay getting back into shape, studying copies of Maxim, applying Rogaine, visitng sports car dealerships, shaking his head really close to shit, until we get to a scene where he’s watching Rush Hour 2 and we just see him get that twinkle in his eye.
The film will end with him prepping for Bad Boyz 2 when Tony Scott shows up to confront him.
Scott screams “You’re all washed up, Bay! You’re filming a movie and you don’t even have a script!”
Bay retorts “I have something even better than script: a budget and a release date.”
Scott looks all cresfallen knowing he’s defeated “You motherfucker.”
Bay triumphantly quotes Paul Newman from The Color of Money “I’m back!”
I’m thinking P.T. Anderson to direct.
July 13, 2008, 10 a.m. CST
I haven’t read every word on this yet, but…
It seems like everybody loves the premise, but no one has mentioned THREE AMIGOS. A little respect, maybe?
July 13, 2008, 10 a.m. CST
My favorite line from this review?
by JOHN CONNORS SKIN
“I kind of feel like discussing what’s funny and what’s not is for assholes”
July 13, 2008, 10:09 a.m. CST
I want to see this movie but I have yet to read one person post the fact that this movie is the exact same plot as Three Amigos!
July 13, 2008, 10:14 a.m. CST
“equally noble and retarded gesture of friendship”
You just sold a ticket to this movie my friend! I love things that equally noble and retarded, sort of like the entire running time of Napoleon Dynamite.
July 13, 2008, 10:19 a.m. CST
Uh, guys. Three Amigos has the same plot elements of The Magnificent Seven which had the same plot elements as The Seven Samurai. And Bugs Life and lots of others. So its pretty much as unoriginal as The Matrix’s story was (Christ-like hero discovering abilities and conquering, see alos Kung Fu Panda) and therefore not a big deal to borrow it, shape it, evolve it. Its just a standard heroic story type and lends itself to repetition.
July 13, 2008, 10:19 a.m. CST
Nick Nolte and Gary Busey Together in One Movie
My gosh, that would be awesome.
July 13, 2008, 10:25 a.m. CST
The reason I don’t see a lot of comedies in theatres
There’s almost always some asshole, often there alone, who is doing a Robert DeNiro in Cape Fear routine. The guy will laugh loud and hard at every cue from the director, so that he can be sure everyone knows he “gets it.” Either that or you get the FUCKS who have to repeat every joke. Someone in the movie will say a funny line, or something funny will happen, and this person will then have to repeat the line or describe what just happened out loud “AHAAHA He farted!” I wish people could just shut the fuck up and watch the movie. After The Dark Knight this week I might decide never to go to the movies again, except in very special cases. Not that anyone cares but this is because I paid $15 for a coke and popcorn combo on Friday, and there was a full cup of merry widows in the bucket of corn. So I spent the whole movie either being annoyed that I couldn’t eat my popcorn, or trying to eat my popcorn and almost breaking my fucking teeth in half with every bite.
July 13, 2008, 10:26 a.m. CST
by Itto Ogami loses Daigoro
do any of the womens get nekkid in it?
July 13, 2008, 10:31 a.m. CST
Is this something like Three Amigos 2008?
by Itto Ogami loses Daigoro
but more explodey? Forget Iron Man 2, Robert Downey Jr. for Soul Man 2!!
July 13, 2008, 10:50 a.m. CST
Reign of Fire is totally underappreciated, IMO.
Bale in one of his better roles in his filmography, and the fact that McConaughey(sp?) was more-than-decent surprised a lot of people. Great action sequences too, like the skydivers-as-dragon-bait. And who didn’t love Gerard Butler and Bale doing Star Wars as a play for the kids, telling it like an old fable to young ears and eyes who would never see Star Wars at all. Great CGI as well, best dragons in a long time.
July 13, 2008, 11:15 a.m. CST
The one and only. Great review as always, captain.
July 13, 2008, 11:18 a.m. CST
reign of chaos
kicks my ass to pieces
July 13, 2008, 11:31 a.m. CST
50 Cent is a metaphor
for how fucked up our celebrity culture is that we elevate some dirtbag nig gangbanger to stardom simply because he looks cool being a dirtbag nig gangbanger.
July 13, 2008, 11:35 a.m. CST
“Peaked My Interest”
Saying something has “peaked” your interest is a great way to look like an illiterate fuck. Things “pique” your interest, you fucking nitwits.
July 13, 2008, 11:52 a.m. CST
There’s not enough complaining in this talkback
Y’know, fuck those “rollover” ads, the next time I want to see a bunch of worthless shit swirl around in front of me I’ll just remember to flush. Now fuck off. OK, with that out of the way, I can say what I came here to say: FIRST, BITCHES! I mean, good review Vern, thanks for that one, I think I’m gonna make a point to see this.
July 13, 2008, 11:52 a.m. CST
Funny, when I criticized rappers, Vern got all PMS-y.
I have a rap name for you, Vern. Try ‘Hippo-Chris’.
July 13, 2008, 11:55 a.m. CST
This comedy sounds delish. Can’t wait!
July 13, 2008, 11:55 a.m. CST
The tone of this sounds like Stiller’s TV show
…which is hard for most people to remember, but it was really fucking good! Especially for the time. After I saw Stiller on “Extras” a few years ago, I knew he still had a bit of the old spark in him.
July 13, 2008, 11:56 a.m. CST
smackfu I’d like to smacku
Fucking racist POS.
July 13, 2008, 11:58 a.m. CST
Someone send Mr/Mrs smackfu to the naughty corner.
July 13, 2008, 11:58 a.m. CST
Little early for the blue material I guess. Just to clarify, I reserve that word for people that are embarrassments to their race. In the sense of say, Denzel Washington is an african american, whereas guys that go through life with a 9mm tucked into their belt, deal drugs and shoot people…are nigs.
July 13, 2008, 12:09 p.m. CST
by Mr. Nice Gaius
Thanks fella. I appreciate the fact that you’ve taken the time to point out my mistaken choice of words. It really was a gaff on my part.
Next time, try not to look like such a bi-polar netnerd by jumping on my Gary Busey train before attacking my verbage.
July 13, 2008, 12:46 p.m. CST
Sorry, that is still not cool. That is exactly the same “there are good black people and then there are bad black people” that racists have been using for decades. How about just criticizing individuals for the behavior you disagree with and not including the ignorant racial slur? If you criticize somebody for dealing drugs and shooting people nobody’s gonna disagree, but you throw in that word and you look like a moronic asshole. The solution is easy, bud. Think about it.
July 13, 2008, 12:49 p.m. CST
I don’t know, Hippo-Chris sounds pretty dumb, but not as good as Chamillionaire or Flo Rida.
I don’t know what the specific incident is that you refer to, but I’m pretty sure I must’ve “got all PMS-y” about a specific thing you said that I disagreed, not that you were criticizing a rapper. Did you call Common a gangster rapper? I know that one has come up multiple times in talkbacks.
July 13, 2008, 1:03 p.m. CST
Kinda off-topic, but…
…because we are talking about parodies: Yesterday I watched Young Frankenstein for the first time since something like 10 years again and DAMN, this one is still funny.
July 13, 2008, 1:04 p.m. CST
“Maybe he really wants to be doing Kate Hudson movies for the re
by Voice O. Reason
Or maybe he just really wants to be doing Kate Hudson for the rest of his life? Because I can relate.
July 13, 2008, 1:05 p.m. CST
Chris Rock basically agrees with smackfu…
…when he says he loves black people, but hates niggers. It’s dodgy ground either way, probably best left out of talkbacks….
July 13, 2008, 1:07 p.m. CST
Oh, and while we are talking about dumb rap-names:
Here in Germany we got a very successful gangster rapper, who is all about “women are bitches”, “I kill you and if I don’t kill you I will at least beat the shit out of you” and every cliche you can imagine.
Now guess his name.
July 13, 2008, 1:19 p.m. CST
…movies that potentially could piss whiny people off…RDjr as a black guy has that potential. I cna’t wait.
July 13, 2008, 1:27 p.m. CST
Down and Out in Beverly Hills
by Mr. Poohgas
Nolte has played a Homeless Man in a comedy and gets to padiddle Bette Midler and Elizabeth Pena in it…
July 13, 2008, 1:28 p.m. CST
Fur Q – Uzi Lover
“Uzi like a metal dick in my hand, magazine like a big testicle gland, bitch wanna try it, I said keep it quiet.. shove it up your mother[(musical note)] ass and fry it”
July 13, 2008, 1:32 p.m. CST
The Chris Rock bit….
Was done best by Steve Carell on The Office.
July 13, 2008, 1:33 p.m. CST
way overrated just like all of will ferrells crap. forgetting sarah was better
July 13, 2008, 1:34 p.m. CST
Why poop? Poop come out your mouth. Keep a tight perimeter, we’re going into the bear pit.
July 13, 2008, 1:34 p.m. CST
To Kalon Reza
Watch yourself, you hypocrite homophobe.
July 13, 2008, 1:36 p.m. CST
This sounds like the funniest movie ever made.
sure it’s concept is disturbingly close to The Three Amigos, but this just sounds hysterical from start to finish.
July 13, 2008, 1:42 p.m. CST
…can feck off. Anchorman is hilarious. A sequel to that may actually get me as excited as The Dark Knight has.
July 13, 2008, 1:55 p.m. CST
WALK HARD Was Fucking Great
I do not understand why it didn’t catch on. Its my favorite Apatow movie.
July 13, 2008, 2:01 p.m. CST
wash you pretentious douche
only I WASH REMEMBER the ben stiller show, and i wash noticed ben stiller had a slight small spark of comedy left in him when i watched extras, cause ofcourse ben stiller has become sooooo unfunny in the last 3 years, but luckily I WASH noticed that he still has a smidge left in him and believe the poor soul can do it one more time, just enough to make one last funny comedy before he passes on into utterboring unfunny ness that he’s destined for cause i wash noticed this. ben stiller will always be funny.
July 13, 2008, 2:10 p.m. CST
Vern: You’re confusing “Spoof”, “Parody” and “Satire”…
“Spoof” and “Parody” are more specific and blatant in intent (as with MEET THE SPARTANS, SCARY MOVIE, etc) and tend to involve less imagination and understanding on the part of the viewer…”Satire” (clearly the genre of TROPIC THUNDER) is more free association and requires a bit more brainpower.
July 13, 2008, 2:11 p.m. CST
Tom Cruise Should Play A Closet Homosexual Cult Member
Oh no, wait, he’s already playing that role. In real life.
July 13, 2008, 2:19 p.m. CST
Parody vs. Satire
Parody is a work which makes fun of a particular work of art, book, film, or generalized genre. WALK HARD, for example, is a parody of music bio-pics.
Satire is broader. Through exaggeration, it examines and pokes fun at social conventions, societal issues and mores. THE SIMPSONS, for instance, is a satire of modern american life. It may contain elements of parody (like when they riff on Star Wars or the Godfather or whatever), but the overarching comedy comes from dissecting and making fun of the broader social context, not other forms of art.
July 13, 2008, 2:24 p.m. CST
In Other Words, Sounds Like TROPIC THUNDER Is Parody
In that its making fun of the Rambo type of action movie. Of course, it could go deeper than that, and maybe there is satire there (Of Hollywood as a social phenomenon? Of celebrity as a social phenomenon? I dunno.), but on the surface it looks like its just a parody of Rambo-ish 80s para-military fetish movies.
July 13, 2008, 2:25 p.m. CST
I’d say that MEET THE SPARTANS shit is somewhere below parody. If you’re one of the unlucky fuckers like myself who have seen the trailer for DISASTER MOVIE then you know that every moment in the trailer is stolen from other trailers. The movies aren’t even out yet when these dumb fuckers are making their pieces of shit so they just take what they saw in the previews (like that shitty ZOHAN scene, but with Juno instead because that makes it completely different) and they throw it in there. Same thing with EPIC MOVIE. They saw the previews for BORAT so they took what they saw and they put it in the movie except they didn’t change it. They just gave Borat goat ears or something. So I don’t think we’ve got a word for when you don’t even have the talent or energy to parody something you just lift it word for word and put it in your movie except you have washed-up MADTv cast members play the parts.
July 13, 2008, 2:35 p.m. CST
I think that…
…Meet the spartans, disaster movie shit have tainted the word spoof. So call this a satire or a parody and its fine but if its labeled a spoof it’ll die a death at the box office. too many people have had spoof switched with shit
July 13, 2008, 2:35 p.m. CST
Funny vs. Not Funny.
If it’s smart, to me, it’s funny. Brevity is the maidenhead of wit, and nothing’s faster for a laugh than getting kicked in the nuts.
Ow My Balls! The Movie – Written By Paul W.S. Andersen and Russell Crowe and directed by Michael Bay.
Laugh all you want, that shit is a license to print money.
Ladies and gentlemen, Robert Downey Jr. has become a goddamned star again…and I couldn’t be happier. I’m the guy who liked him on SNL, for chrissakes.
Vern, my only criticism of your review is playing the rhetorical card of ‘Before you begin discussing, all who discuss are assholes’ that reviewers do to try and temper the TalkBacks. I don’t know if it’s deliberate or just reflexive Web-speak at this point, but it’s overused. We’re going to argue amongst ourselves, and it’s not cool to call your readership assholes, even unintentionally.
This movie looks funny.
July 13, 2008, 2:49 p.m. CST
I’m sticking with TROPIC THUNDER being satire…
Stiller’s Rambo-esque character muddies the water, but the satire comes from watching this buffoon try to apply his overt style to a “serious”, PLATOON-type movie. Same goes for the Black and Downey characters. The movie’s satirizing Hollywood’s obvious, simplistic thought processes, along the lines of Ricky Gervais’ EXTRAS.
Not all spoofs and parodies are lazy POS, BTW…I thought WALK HARD was a good example of what happens when you do the genre correctly.
July 13, 2008, 2:54 p.m. CST
I also enjoyed WALK HARD
And was offended when some people said it would’ve been better with Will Ferell. Jesus.
July 13, 2008, 2:55 p.m. CST
by I.P. Awnu
“I think that’s a mail plane”
July 13, 2008, 3:03 p.m. CST
parody or spoof…
…I’d say that parody takes something serious and finds amusement ie. Walk Hard, Airplane!, Spyhard. Spoof takes something and…ummm…redoes it verbatim on a lesser budget.
July 13, 2008, 3:04 p.m. CST
…so this is satire…
July 13, 2008, 3:08 p.m. CST
I just can’t take Stiller as the “tough guy action star.”
I mean come on. He can take all the steroids he wants he’s still a nerdy Jewish stereotype. How in the hell could he pull off an action star type role? When you think about it all three of main characters are jewish: Stiller, Downey and Black and that other young dude, Jay Baruchel is as well. Only in Hollywood do you see this type of fantasy. Maybe QT could use the same group for his next film?
July 13, 2008, 3:11 p.m. CST
Compelling, and rich.
July 13, 2008, 3:15 p.m. CST
here’s the thing about racism
It will never die. There are good people and bad people of every race. However as long as there are people that are different someone will judge or hate them because of it. We don’t think of ourselves as human beings but we label ourselves as white, black, ect. Even still we choose to segregate ourselves by calling ourselves a race instead of just humanity
July 13, 2008, 3:16 p.m. CST
EvilWizardGlick – Cock and Bull Story
Not wanting to get into exactly the kind of funny/not funny pissfest Vern dislikes so much, but…
You are just wrong on this. A Cock and Bull Story is funny, intelligent and ambitious. Plus, Rob Brydon’s impression of Alan Partridge is worth the price of admission alone.
July 13, 2008, 3:20 p.m. CST
John C. Reilly Is Much Funnier Than Will Ferrell
Ferrell’s schtick stopped being funny several years ago. ANCHORMAN was his last, best work. Now he just does pretty much the same thing over and over and over and over again. His schtick is played.
John C. Reilly, on the other hand, is a lot funnier, and has a broader range. WALK HARD was pure comedy genius. Again, easily Apatow’s best work to date.
July 13, 2008, 3:29 p.m. CST
in response to merricks14yearoldson
This movie is very good and with repeated viewings may only get better, but I’d say it’s slightly under Team America in the pantheon. The problem is I don’t have the luxury of seeing this movie again anytime soon unless there’s another screening and I’m pretty sure that after The Dark Knight comes out I’ll have forgotten every movie I’ve seen this year except Pineapple Express and Wall-E.
July 13, 2008, 3:29 p.m. CST
C. Reilley, Ferrell…
…Ferrell’s funnier and I think thats a given. Also a given that C. Reilley’s a better actor so I think thats a fair trade off. Cause no way does C. Reilley get the Ferrell sized following. And anyway no need to complain because Step Brother will be AWESOME!
July 13, 2008, 3:34 p.m. CST
Brevity Is The Maiden’s Head Of Wit?
You do know that maiden’s head refers to virginity right? So what you just said is that brevity (short, concise, to the point) is wit’s virginity, meaning that wit hasn’t occurred yet, it hasn’t had its cherry popped (it’s waiting for the right guy and/or girl with strap-on, perhaps?). This, in turn, would imply that your next statement — “nothing’s faster for a laugh than getting kicked in the nuts” — is actually not funny. Or, at least, isn’t funny yet.
Either you’re shooting for something really high concept and abstract here, or you don’t understand what you wrote.
July 13, 2008, 3:47 p.m. CST
Night at the Museum 2?? Really??!
July 13, 2008, 4 p.m. CST
Tough action star?
um… unless you are Arnold, Sly or Snipes you are not a tough action star… but if you are playing a modern action star then you are playing Cruise, McCantspellhisname, The Rock, Vin Diesel.
July 13, 2008, 4:01 p.m. CST
antonphd you forgot one thing
Tony mothafuckin’ Jaa
July 13, 2008, 4:08 p.m. CST
Really enjoyed Shandy. My cup of ironic, self referential tea.
I usually dont pay attention to Hollywood rumors/PerezHilton bullshit. But I dont think Courtney Love isnt the best person to tell someone he or she has a problem.
July 13, 2008, 4:10 p.m. CST
great review, ” you you cocksucker, etc.”?
Great parody of the talkbackers too. Movie sounds like one instant classic. Hope they finally start making some more comedies with balls again after this. Based in reality, filmed like a real movie and not depending on lame clichès.
July 13, 2008, 4:19 p.m. CST
parody v. satire
Parody – an imitation with an ulterior motive to mock the original or norm. With a parody the viewer usually knows that this copy is not a serious reproduction meant to replace the original, but a playful copy made to entertain.
Satire- a literary manner which blends a critical attitude with humor and wit to the end that human institutions or humanity may be improved. The true satirist is conscious of the frailty of institutions of man’s devising and attempts through laughter not so much to tear them down as to inspire a remodeling
Tropic Thunder is a parody.
July 13, 2008, 4:29 p.m. CST
MCMLXXVI – eat a fat fuckin dick
You overweight, four-eyed, dateless, ghost white, cock-gobbler.
July 13, 2008, 4:43 p.m. CST
Vern, what rapper endorses Hitler?
That’s a fucking lie!
July 13, 2008, 4:59 p.m. CST
Vern used the R-word!
by Iowa Snot Client
I have a friend with Down Syndrome and she says the only thing that hurts her feelings is when people use the r-word, because, she says, “I do the very best I can.” And she published a book, too.
July 13, 2008, 5:09 p.m. CST
Yeah, cat’s out of the bag on the “unnamed actor”…
I think it was their original aim to keep it a surprise appearance, but a lot of the press on this movie has been mentioning him. I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually outright name him in the commercials once the advertising push arrives.
July 13, 2008, 6:13 p.m. CST
by alice 13
is it “?” ?
July 13, 2008, 6:41 p.m. CST
I don’t know if you’re serious or not but I actually agree with you. I tried to stop using that word after I got a very thoughtful email from a guy who worked with mentally retarded children. It’s hard though because I haven’t yet figured out a word that matches it for that particular meaning. So I got lazy on that one. I apologize.
July 13, 2008, 7:16 p.m. CST
You should see me right now.
I’m leaning so far (to the left) over in my chair, against the wall, that I’ve got my right (opposite) leg stretched out and resting on a table. It’s really sick. I suppose you clowns all sit up straight, but not this guy.
I find this position enhances the pleasure I get from reading talkbacks.
July 13, 2008, 7:19 p.m. CST
I can’t wait
by Glamour Fairy
I’ve been so excited to see this all spring and your review just tells me what I wanted to hear. I love that Downey can really have fun with the role.
July 13, 2008, 7:36 p.m. CST
I wish Reilly would get out completely.
by Balcony Fool
How he got mired in these inane comedies is beyond me. The guy is a brilliant actor, and every year he wastes on this garbage, we’re all a year poorer. Seriously, yo.
Tropic Thunder, though, does look funny.
July 13, 2008, 8:01 p.m. CST
The Good Thief was a good Nolte film. Also Vern is N#1 Reviewer
Seriously he should get his own column. Vern get it done! I want a ‘a movie a day’ but by Vern.
July 13, 2008, 8:02 p.m. CST
Vern, if you don’t want to say retard
by Chicken Thunder
Just call them spastics.
Seriously though, what about fuckwits? That’s a good one.
July 13, 2008, 8:20 p.m. CST
Of course Downey is Jewish.
In fact, If your in the industry most likely your a jew. This is for Dogcat. Case in point:
July 13, 2008, 8:42 p.m. CST
To Kalon Reza
I’ll end this here, I’ll take the Obama high road.
July 13, 2008, 8:58 p.m. CST
any movie that uses the Three Amigos blueprint is okay in my boo
July 13, 2008, 9:14 p.m. CST
Actors aren’t necesarally Jewish in Hollywood
by I Dunno
The guys who signs their checks probably are though.
July 13, 2008, 10:26 p.m. CST
Downey is half Jewish
Someone up the thread was commenting on this. His Dad.. Robert Downey
Sr. real last name is Elias.. He changed it some time ago. So Robert’s real last name is Elias.. he has it tattooed on his ankle.
July 13, 2008, 10:39 p.m. CST
put some fertilizer on this one.
July 13, 2008, 11:05 p.m. CST
July 13, 2008, 11:06 p.m. CST
you must be bored
July 13, 2008, 11:07 p.m. CST
this movie looks to be funny shit. And not at all because it has any resemblance to Three Amigos. Can people please just shut the fuck up about that movie?
July 13, 2008, 11:22 p.m. CST
This guy was amazing in the Texas Chainsaw film. He was AMAZING. Scares the shit out of me to this day.
July 13, 2008, 11:48 p.m. CST
I told you all this was a good movie
Plant that bitch
July 13, 2008, 11:52 p.m. CST
Why is Cruises’ cameo a big surprise?
There has been talk about Cruise donning a fat suit for months for this movie. Big friggin surprise! It would totally blindside you if you don’t read or watch minor media outlets like Entertainment Tonight, Perez Hilton, TMZ, etc.
Matthew McConahey is a far bigger surprise cameo.
July 14, 2008, 12:09 a.m. CST
So all it takes to improve your image is….
by Han Cholo
To make fun of a serious condition which millions of Americans suffer and die from each year, one of which owns this fucking site? Fuck that shit. Cruise’s career is done motherfucker, DONE!!!
July 14, 2008, 12:46 a.m. CST
Instead of retard, just say mong
by Chicken Thunder
July 14, 2008, 1:26 a.m. CST
Instead of retarded, just say Disaster Movie!
by otm shank
As in Dude, you are such a Disaster Movie.
July 14, 2008, 2:05 a.m. CST
TV guy and others
For fuck’s sake, how hard is it to understand that I deliberately did not mention the name of the actor because I didn’t want to ruin it for people who may not have heard it yet? There are people in the world who have not followed the making of this movie or the celebrity gossip bullshit. I know this because I heard about it long enough ago that I forgot about it while watching the movie. Sometimes I let loose with the spoilers if a movie is out, but this one doesn’t come out for a month so I tried to be careful about it.
Congratulations, you knew who it was and proved it by putting it in talkbacks. You got one over on me now for sure. The only sacrifice you had to make was to waste away your life watching and reading moronic, humanity-sucking filth like Entertainment Tonight, TMZ and Perez Hilton.
July 14, 2008, 2:09 a.m. CST
i for one cannot take seriously anyone who
can use the word chameleonic in a sentence but cannot comprehend that “Alot” is not an actual word.
July 14, 2008, 2:12 a.m. CST
You had me at “Hello”… I’ll download tha shit outta’ this one.
July 14, 2008, 2:17 a.m. CST
funniest spoof ever is Naked Gun 2 1/2
‘what was he doing in the red light district?’ ‘sex frank?’ ‘not right now we have work to do.’
July 14, 2008, 2:19 a.m. CST
Hot Shots Part Deux was another good one
war! it’s faaaantastic! ….. [big smile]. best part is the martin sheen cameo where it’s platoon narration and as they near the other boat with martin it overlaps to apocalypse now narration.
July 14, 2008, 5:04 a.m. CST
I for one think names are supposed to be capitalized.
Who do you think you are kamar, e.e. cummings? I don’t read e.e. cummings but one thing I can say for the motherfucker, he didn’t go around correcting people’s spelling. He had poems to write.
July 14, 2008, 5:10 a.m. CST
And still no mention of Galaxy Quest.
Okay, when you say “It rips off Three Amigos”, you basically mean “so did Galaxy Quest” too, but I think Galaxy Quest should be mentioned in every talkback. Just for being the funniest movie since Ghostbusters.
July 14, 2008, 5:12 a.m. CST
Yeah, I think if I would intend to come up with…
…a stupid “running gag” like “Damn you Michael Bay” or “I’ll be pigfucked”, I would post in every talkback “But what about Galaxy Quest?”
Don’t worry, I won’t do something like this.
July 14, 2008, 8:53 a.m. CST
So you ruin the surprise cameo of Matthew McConaughey which hasn’t been reported nearly as much and hide the fact that Cruise has a cameo and has been reported everywhere including this site. And then you get defensive when people point out it isn’t exactly a secret?
Instead of being pissed off at me and others on this board who pointed out that Cruise’s cameo isn’t a secret, you might want to be pissed off at Merrick who posted a column on this site on March 21st entitled “BrightEyes Exalts Tom Cruise In TROPIC THUNDER, And Likes The Rest Of It, Too!!”.
July 14, 2008, 8:59 a.m. CST
If you thought the end of Rambo was funny…
Then chances are we don’t have the same sense of humor. That movie rocks your boxers.
July 14, 2008, 11:56 a.m. CST
Looking forward to this one
I was committed when I first saw RDJ. And solf when I heard Owne Wilson was replaced.
July 14, 2008, 1:06 p.m. CST
Wow! What a bunch of douche bags…
this TB has attracted! I never saw Vern being annoyed and attacked by so many stupid fucks!… Great review, Vern…
July 14, 2008, 2:09 p.m. CST
for the record
Police Squad! is better than the movies. Actually I’d probably go as far to say it’s the funniest American TV Show ever made rivalled, only by The Simpsons. Maybe Cheers and Frasier.
July 14, 2008, 6:04 p.m. CST
nice e.e. cummings reference, vern
fuck capitalizing anything! i would get rid of my shift keys altogether if it were’t for exclamation points!!!!!!
July 15, 2008, 1:02 p.m. CST
this does sound like the first REAL ben stiller film…
…for everyone who still bows three times daily towards l.a. in the mid-90’s for those thirteen peerless half-hours of _the ben stiller show_, it sounds like homeboy FINALLY is delivering the smart, funny goods on the big screen. please fuck _reality bites_, _the cable guy_, _the time i milked mice or zipped my balls up in high school or something_ &c., &c., g-d save me &c. what kept you, benjamin? oh, right — the benjamins. here’s hoping you’ll direct an episode of _david’s situation_, which hbo had best step to greenlight…
Aug. 6, 2008, 10:58 a.m. CST
Looking forward to this.
That’s all; the real reason for my post is as a test…HTML seems to hate me.
Let’s see if I can make it official.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.