If you’ve ever wandered the aisles at the video store or surfed the DVR pay-per-view options and seen a bunch of movies that you’ve never heard of, chances are John has watched them. Why? He loves movies. All kinds of movies. Good, bad, so-bad-they’re good, even the truly unwatchable ones. He mostly loves horror and science-fiction and drive-in exploitation movies that most upstanding model citizens wouldn’t dare watch. Then he writes up his thoughts so you can decide - watch, don’t watch or avoid at all costs. Sometimes he even gets to talk to the cool folks who make some of your favorite films.
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Posted Nov 21, 2008 by John Allman
Updated Nov 21, 2008 at 04:02 PM
Director: Ben Stiller
Run time: 107 minutes
The Lowdown: War is (funny as) hell.
“Tropic Thunder” is an absolute classic. Uproariously funny, darkly satiric and spot-on spoofy, Ben Stiller’s biting look at war movies and the actors and studios that make them is a subversive masterpiece.
It’s essentially three movies in one: A bruising gut-punch to Hollywood egos, both in-front of and behind the camera, that exposes the money-first reality fueling most motion pictures. A scathingly funny send-up of both war movies and the fragile men often picked to portray hardened soldiers. And a damn-fine action comedy in its own right.
Stiller proves once again that when he is allowed to unleash his pitch-black brilliance, he’s at his best. His turn as Tugg Speedman, a fading action star who wants to be taken seriously as an artist, stands with “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” and “Zoolander” as his best work.
But his choices as director prove to be even better, starting with casting.
The decision to go with Robert Downey Jr. as an Australian method actor so committed to his craft that he receives skin pigmentation to portray a black soldier proves to be an amazing choice. Downey should be nominated for an Oscar. His work here is just that good.
Jack Black is funny as hell as a drug-addled comic making his living off a flatulence franchise. If this isn’t a big giant poke at Eddie Murphy, who has coasted for years on lame fare like “The Klumps” and “Norbit,” I’ll eat my notebook.
But the real coup is Tom Cruise, who throws himself into a self-deprecating, razor-sharp evisceration of both celebrity and the Hollywood machine as movie producer Les Grossman. It’s easily Cruise’s best work since “Magnolia,” and it’s refreshing to see him so energized. He’s also a riot as the foul-mouthed, heartless, rap-loving Grossman.
“Tropic Thunder” also looks gorgeous with beautiful cinematography that is only enhanced by a crisp high-definition transfer on Blu-Ray. It also features a wonderfully eclectic soundtrack.
It’s difficult not to rave too much. Simply put, if you haven’t seen this movie, and you are a true movie fan and fiend, you will be in awe. It’s just that good.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – No.
Nudity – Jack Black in his underwear.
Gore – Bloody firefights, land mines and one funny-##### severed panda head.
Drug use – Heroin addiction shouldn’t be funny, but oh it is.
Bad Guys/Killers – The Flaming Dragons are not to be taken lightly.
Buy/Rent – This is a MUST-BUY.
On the Web – http://www.tropicthunder.com/
Release Date – Nov. 18, 2008