Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tropic Awesomeness

I laughed from beginning to end. The whole way through. It's been a long time since I've seen a movie stayed consistently funny. It's been an even longer time since I've seen a movie that stayed consistently funny and was also fucking brilliant. Tropic Thunder was fucking awesome.

What's great about this film is that it can be read on three different levels. I feel my claim is valid since I've now seen the film three times.

Level One: The Obvious
It's good to see Ben Stiller back in wacky hilarity. He always seems to play the same guy in all his films: neurotic macho man pussy (does that even make sense?) This film was no different. Yet, he was hilarious because of the circumstances in which he engaged. Jack Black was always a treat as he played a heroin addict jonesing bad for the dragon. Everyone in the cast (Jay Baruchel, Brandon T. Jackson, Nick Nolte, Steven Coogan, Tom Cruise, Matt McConaughey) all contributed funny parts to the film. With that all-star cast, it was like the Dark Knight of comedies. But the award for Best Actor goes hands down to Robert Downey, Jr. He plays an Australian Method actor playing a Black military sergeant. As he says, "I don't break character until the DVD commentary." While he could have crossed a major racial line, Downey, Jr. played it cool and simply offered hilarious insight on the egotistical actor.

Level Two: The Satire
Continuing from The Obvious, Downey, Jr. offers hilarious insight on the egotistical actor by making fun of him. The ridiculousness of a Method actor turning blackface for a role satirizes the stupid lengths some actors will go to learn more about a role. Ben Stiller ridicules the pompous action stars while Tom Cruise gives a little speech about the inevitability of stars going down (was he talking about himself?) Brandon T. Jackson's character Alpa Chino makes fun of musicians with different streams of revenue like energy drinks (cough cough 50 Cent cough cough). You think that they "love tha pussy" but it could all be a marketing gimmick to sell their crap while they "cradle the balls, work the shaft, the whole nine yards)." So many things they say are true. Excuse my political incorrectness but Downey, Jr. had it right: you never go full retard. The satire aspect brings about so many quotable quotes, too. Where to even begin? "I don't read scripts; scripts read me." "I'm a lead farmer, motherfucker!" "I killed one--the thing I love most. Oh my god, you killed a hooker. Ok, calm down, here's what you do. Get some bleach and a shitload of lyme."

But my favorite part of the film:

Level Three: The Self-Reflexive
Did anyone else feel like they were watching a movie? Think about it. The movie we are watching is the movie made at the end of the film. You're watching a film within a film within a film. The sheer fact of the camera pointing towards the audience turns the mirror towards us. It's like we're watching ourselves almost. You see a camera, you see a director, anything that has to do with a movie and suddenly the audience realizes that they are watching a movie. Doing so allows the audience to accept certain things that normally they wouldn't (like McConaughey's random appearance at the end). Because we know it's just a movie, we can suspend our disbelief that much more and appreciate it on a whole new level. On top of that, you had actors playing other actors in the film. Could Ben Stiller be based on Tom Cruise? Is Downey, Jr. making fun of classics like Marlon Brando? Alpa Chino is 50 Cent? Tom Cruise is every Jewish Hollywood producer? Although it was all completely absurd, it was the most realistic film in ages.

Watch the movie. You'll definitely Get Some.

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