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Posted on Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Dave!After driving back down from Wisconsin, I spent most of the day working in my hotel room... only taking a two-hour break to run into the city and have Chicago Hot Dogs for lunch. Around 8:00, I'd finally had enough, and decided to walk down the street to the awesome Muvico 18 Theater so I could see a late showing of Tropic Thunder.

Despite some dragging in the middle, the movie was pretty great. Mostly in thanks to Robert Downey Jr. who is simply incapable of giving a bad performance. The guy is absolute genius in everything he touches, and this film is no exception...

Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder.

Before watching the movie, I was ready to dismiss the harsh criticism over how it demeans the mentally handicapped. People are just too sensitive now-a-days, and pretty soon you won't be able to poke fun at anything.

But then I saw the film.

And I have to admit that it is pretty offensive in this respect. Maybe it doesn't go entirely over the line, but it dances right on top of the line... not once, but many times. Tropic Thunder definitely doesn't seem to be laughing with the mentally challenged here... but instead laughing at them. That's a real shame, because the film doesn't need it. The plot elements could have been easily handled a different way.

Still, it would be difficult to dismiss the movie entirely... it was entirely too much fun for that.

Categories: Movies 2008Click To It: Permalink


  1. Hilly says:

    Ack! Between you and Shiny, I am doomed to go see this movie. Doomed, I say!

  2. Poppy says:

    Dear Dave, I love all my artificial duck gear. My mom does too, she thinks the characature of you is adorable. There’s no auto-spell-check in this browser, so I may have just misspelled characature.

    Down to business: So, do you endorse seeing the movie and judging for ourselves or boycotting it?

  3. Dave2 says:

    Before doing anything drastic, like a boycott, you should always see for yourself before making judgements. I won’t be boycotting the film, however. 🙂

  4. Suzy says:

    One of the fundamental tenets of comedy is that something has to be ‘wrong.’ The funny in life comes from pointing that out. No one knows that better than people who write comedy. If you’re pointing out all the good in the world, fine. But you’re probably not funny. And I don’t mean you D2, you constantly point out what is wrong and that’s why we laugh.

    Meanwhile, I can’t sleep and it’s 4:30 am. NOT FUNNY.

    AT ALL.

  5. Dave2 says:

    Yeah, I’d agree with that… for the most part… but, in this case, there comes a point where they’re just being mean (and, by example, encouraging others to be mean).

    Some people may find ridiculing the mentally handicapped to be funny, and if that makes people laugh then fine… but it’s the absolute lowest form of comedy because ANYBODY can do it. ANYBODY can act stupid, call themselves a “retard” and get a laugh (from like-minded people, I’d imagine). There’s no talent or skill in that.

    A true comedian is an artist that gets the world to look at something in a unique and humorous way. They are surgeons when it comes to dissecting the human condition and twisting it around in a way that gets a laugh. Well that’s not what happened with this aspect of Tropic Thunder. There was no uniquely humorous revelations being handed out on what it means to be mentally handicapped. It was just the equivalent of school-yard name-calling and senseless exploitation for a cheap laugh.

    Compare that with everything else in Tropic Thunder. The rest of the movie was positively brilliant… taking a scalpel to the big-budget Hollywood movie industry and dissecting it in a way that was absolute genius. Not to mention very funny. Given that, the whole “Simple Jack” bit in the movie was kind of pathetic. I’m sure a lot of people will find it funny… but it’s just not up to the same level of brilliance of the rest of the film. And THAT’S what I find truly offensive.

    But the worst part? They HAD an angle! They were starting to comment on how actors take roles of the mentally challenged because they’re Oscar bait. They were actually GOING SOMEWHERE with it. But then they abandoned what could have been a truly insightful piece of comedy and went for the easy cheap-shot laugh with no pay-off. That’s not very funny at all. And, in comedy, isn’t that the ultimate sin?

  6. jewelz916 says:

    Thanks for the ‘heads up’ on the movie. Hubby and I are planning on going to see it, and we’d heard all of the hub-bub surrounding it. Like you said, it’s too bad that they resorted to “cruel humor” when it wasn’t needed…BUT we love Robert Downey, Jr. and will be going to see it simply because he is in it. Glad to know it’s got its redeeming value in the rest of the movie 🙂

  7. Miss Britt says:

    I’m going to see it tonight and I originally thought the same you did when you sent that link. “OH, people are too sensitive”.

    Of course, now I’m going to be thinking of you the entire time I’m in a dark theater with my husband. LOL

  8. The Ninja and I will probably have to see this some time this weekend.

  9. ajooja says:

    I can’t wait to see that film. I agree about Robert Downey Jr. He’s pretty awesome.

    As for the controversy, I thought the comments about “retards” were used to show that the character saying it was a dick. If that’s the case, the entire controversy is stupid.

    Like I said, I can’t wait to see it to make up my own mind.

  10. Avitable says:

    I thought that the whole point was that they were mocking actors who took on mentally challenged roles to get an Oscar and the seriousness with which they approach the roles.

  11. I live so close to Wisconsin! You should have stopped by my house. I have more brownies here too. This time made with amaretto. I think I will try Jack Daniels next…that sounds good with chocolate, right?

  12. I probably won’t see this, not because of the offensiveness regarding the mentally handicapped, but because this film’s genre doesn’t really “pop my cherry.”

    Yes. I typed “pop my cherry.” Did you just break out in a sweat? 🙂

  13. I think I’ll go see it to make up my own mind. Someone in my office said it was pretty offensive and they wished they hadn’t gone. Of course that made me even more curious.

  14. Mike says:

    Wow, I didn’t know about the whole controversy thing. I read the article and a few of the outgoing links, and I don’t know… I understand the goals of the association, but I still think some people take themselves too seriously.

    On a lighter note, my DaveWear has arrived! I will pick them up at the post office tonight. W00t!

  15. michelle Jacobs says:

    Wow, with all these comments how can i NOT see this film? I of course will judge for myself but i too, love RDJ!! Very much in fact, i’m a huge fan of his!!!

    Thanks Dave!!!

  16. You sold me a ticket. But I heard [SPOILER REMOVED!] is even more offensive as a sterotyped Jewish studio exec.

  17. Mocha says:

    Mason’s been wanting me to see this movie for months. It’s rather difficult to think people won’t be offended – of course they will. But if YOU even think they hovered the line then I will probably feel the same.

  18. This is normally the sort of film I avoid (it has Ben Stiller’s name on it ergo there WILL be
    l) humour relying on some sort of bodily excreta
    2) a rather thin plot and
    3) it’s likely to be offensive to somebody.

    But if it’s got the Dave Seal of Approval in spite of all this then I might give it a go… but only if I can get a cheap seat on TightArse Tuesday.


  19. i’ve been looking forward to seeing the movie based on the cast alone. now i wanna go even more coz of your post today. problem is i got nooooooooo time any time in the near future. sigh.

  20. maman says:

    I am ashamed to admit that I have taken to using the R word in the same way that I did in 3rd grade.. it basically means WTF is wrong with you? Is that still bad?

  21. whall says:

    Like most movies that come out, Tropic Thunder will be a rental.

    But I’m a sucky movie goer this summer. I still haven’t seen (get ready to GASP) – the dark knight, hancock, wanted, incredible hulk, prince caspian, clone wars, the happening, get smart, x-files, or the mummy

    These are all the movies I WANT(ed) to see in the theatres.

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