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  58. Action movie star Tugg Speedman is on the downslide of his professional career. He wants to be considered a serious actor, but his latest serious role as the title character in "Simple Jack" resulted in negative reviews and ridicule. Comedian Jeff Portnoy is best known for his leading roles in sophomoric comedies, and may be less well known for his rampant drug use. Five time Oscar winner Kirk Lazarus is a serious method actor, who immerses himself in whatever the role. On location in southeast Vietnam, they are the stars of "Tropic Thunder", based on Vietnam war veteran 'Four Leaf' Tayback's memoirs of his rescue during the war, that rescue which was considered a near suicide mission for the assigned army force and resulted in him losing both hands. For his role, Caucasian Australian Lazarus even went through a controversial surgical skin dying procedure so that he could convincingly play a black man. Production is not going well since rookie director Damien Cockburn is unable to control the prima-donna attitude of his three stars. Cockburn and Tayback decide that the five primary actors - Speedman, Portnoy, Lazarus, rapper Alpa Chino, and newcomer Kevin Sandusky - need to work together as a unit as did their real life characters. The five are placed in the middle of the jungle, and with only a map and their prop machine guns in hand, are asked to work together to battle through the stunt pyrotechnics in their way. What none of the seven of them know is that they have been dropped into a real life drug war led by the Flaming Dragons. It isn't until Speedman is captured by the Flaming Dragons and tortured that they all realize that what they believed was make believe gunfire and land mines was actually real life. As the four actors try to figure out what to do concerning Speedman's situation, all five go through their own journey of self-discovery. Meanwhile, the movie's megalomaniacal profanity spewing producer Les Grossman and Speedman's faithful agent Rick Peck argue about what to do about Speedman's situation. And Tayback inadvertently shows a little of his true self.
  59. Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.
  60. Ben Stiller&#39;s Tropic Thunder is a comedy that opens the door to arguably the most clever and groundbreaking spoof of Hollywood politics ever to put to film. This action comedy hybrid makes the score not solely on outrageously belly laughs, but tackling original ways on poking fun at the extravagant world of Hollywood and perhaps the entertainment business itself. Director and actor Ben Stiller serves as the hefty hand for bringing this subversive comedy to life in ways that without a doubt questionable and have stirred up a fair amount of controversy. At the same time, he makes an inspiring achievement at bringing birth to one of the most audacious, yet funny comedic vehicles in recent years. Opening up with fake four trailers introducing the four main characters each as Hollywood actors, this movie follows the story of a film crew lead by English filmmaker Damien Cockburn (played by Steve Coogan) who must lead a group of prima donna actors including: Tugg Speedman (played by Ben Stiller), a Sylvestor Stallone-like action star, Jeff Portnoy (played by Jack Black), a comedic star of a popular comedy franchise known for flatulence jokes, rapper Alpa Chino (played by Brandon T. Jackson), Kirk Lazuras (played by Robert Downey Jr.), an Austrailan actor undergoing a controversial blackface make-up alteration to portray an African-American soldier, and Hollywood newcomer Kevin Sandusky (played by Jay Baruchul). These actors are making a Vietnam War movie based on the memoir by U.S veteran John Fourleaf (played by Nick Nolte). Frustrated by the actors&#39; incompetent acting skills, Cockburn is adviced by Fourleaf to drop them into the the jungles of Vietnam where they are forced to rely on their acting talent to survive against a dangerous Vietnamese drug cartel. <br/><br/>This satirical action comedy operates not only as a near-endless cornucopia of raunchy sex jokes and snappy comedic dialogue, but also a fresh source of smart (and hilarious) spoofs of popular war movies. Opening up the story is the characters in their fictional acting forms performing a gruesome, yet appropriately unrealistic combat sequence pays a sweet homage to Oliver Stone&#39;s &#39;Platoon&#39;. While the special effects including explosions going off and the sight of an actor disemboweled by an Vietnamese bayonet serve as shocking eye meat, the humor is what sets the tone of the story. From there on, the plot settles in with the lead characters dropped off in the jungle of Vietnam where their filmmaking experience turns into a dangerously real &#39;Apocalypse Now&#39;-like adventure with plenty of snappy meta humor and social commentary of the showbiz thrown around and about. Although Ben Stiller is not well-known for pushing the envelop with audacious humor, he manages to stretch the boundaries with character sporting dubious tropes that very few (if any) cinematic entries are capable of even getting away. One of the attention-grabbing is his character Tugg Speedman&#39;s loathed portrayal of a mentally impaired farmer named in a film within the film &#39;Simple Jack&#39; which has raised the eyebrows of many including the mentally handicapped community. Though some will be able to engage in the satirical purposes behind this fictional figure, there is a certain level of offense that shouldn&#39;t be ignored. Another questionable of course, would be Robert Downey Jr. playing a race- altering role in the form of blackface that while adds to some witty satirical commentary, can also be seen as a rather bold move. <br/><br/>Ben Still makes an astounding achievement of assembling an overwhelmingly inspiring cast to the screen, blending the crowd with some comedic veterans and more dramatic actors. And joining the ensemble cast is director Ben Stiller himself as the main character Tugg Speedman, who serves as an action star drawn as a homage of Sylvestor Stallone in the popular &#39;Rambo&#39; franchise. Stiller breaths plenty of charisma and comedic fever into the role, it is hard not to admire. Grabbing the public attention is Robert Downey Jr. playing an African-American soldier who suits as an opposite of his real-life caucasian persona (both within and outside the film). Downey proves himself charismatic in the role, and brings major appeal to his otherwise controversial character. Jack Black, stepping the role of a Chris Farley-like comedic star, adds some good comedic touch as does Brandon T. Jackson as the Ludicrous-like Hip-Hop star. Jay Barachul is good, but brings nothing truly memorable due to the limit in which this character is written. Danny McBride as the pyrotechnics operator does his job here. Playing Speedman&#39;s agent is fellow Matthew McConaughey is makes a surprising on screen presence. But arguably the most shocking performance displayed on screen as Tom Cruise who sports a bald cap and fat suit to portray a foul-mouthed studio executive who goes trigger-happy with sprouting F-bombs every minute he&#39;s on screen. While his performance does shine, the biggest shocker is learning who is the character is as his bald cap and fat suit render him completely unrecognizable, especially as the actor is somewhat of a stranger in the comedic territory. <br/><br/>Tropic Thunder is a wildly entertaining take on Hollywood satire, generated with outrageous laughs and powerfully appealing performances an inspiring cast. At the very best, the film marks not only an exhilarating entry in the comedy genre, but also an inspiring demonstration at Ben Stiller&#39;s directing chops. This movie doesn&#39;t hold back on being wildly irreverent and audacious with humor, but that&#39;s the good news.
  61. Total disappointment, Total lack of funny ideas. Once more i had the impression that the (current) 7.4 is some kind of paid vote. Does Hollywood engage guerrilla-marketeers on a regular basis for hitting the 8 to 10-stars-buttons over and over? Usually I like a good portion of the blackest, britishest, bloodiest, most sarcastic or whatsoever darkest kind of humor. But this is simply trashy stuff, no story to tell no smart twinkling. I have no problems with a rough sense of humor. But this has been a dull waste of time - after 20 minutes my thumbs nervously aimed ad the remotes FF, another 20 minutes later I was close to falling asleep, not really believing that good actors like Black, Stiller, Voight or even Nolte or could descend down so deep down. What a shame.
  62. Those opening trailers are hilarious and devastatingly acute, but the rest of Stiller's film could be more a deconstruction of comedy than a display of it. The brain gets the joke; the ribs are untickled.
  63. Tropic Thunder is based on an idea from comedian Ben Stiller, who also directed, co-produced, and stars in the film. It was adapted for the screen by screenwriters Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen. It&#39;s said that Stiller got the idea for Tropic Thunder while he was shooting <a href="/title/tt0092965/">Empire of the Sun (1987)</a> (1987) and became aware of how &quot;self-important&quot; some actors considered themselves to be when they were attending fake boot camps in order to prepare for war film roles. Tropic Thunder is meant to be a satire of other Vietnam War films, including <a href="/title/tt0091763/">Platoon (1986)</a> (1986), <a href="/title/tt0078788/">Apocalypse Now (1979)</a> (1979), <a href="/title/tt0093058/">Full Metal Jacket (1987)</a> (1987), <a href="/title/tt0093137/">Hamburger Hill (1987)</a> (1987), and <a href="/title/tt0077416/">The Deer Hunter (1978)</a> (1978). The connection to Apocalypse Now is significant because that film ran into delays, budgetary problems, and went well over its intended production time while director Francis Ford Coppola shot in the Philippines. The troubled production of Apocalypse Now has been much-written about and analyzed and was the subject of a documentary, <a href="/title/tt0102015/">Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker&#39;s Apocalypse (1991)</a>, produced by Coppola&#39;s wife, Eleanor. Yes, most are a combination of celebrities who have been known for one or more of the flaws that many of the movie characters have. Tugg Speedman has been called a younger Sylvester Stallone, Vin Diesel, Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and/or Wesley Snipes. Jeff &quot;Fatts&quot; Portnoy is likened mostly to Eddie Murphy but also to Chris Farley, Martin Lawrence, Tim Allen, Tom Arnold, and, to a lesser extent, it&#39;s a slight poke at Robert Downey Jr. with the references to the character&#39;s repeated drug arrests. Kirk Lazarus is likened to Colin Farrell, Daniel Day-Lewis, Heath Ledger, Russell Crowe, Robert Downey Jr. himself, Christian Bale, and Marlon Brando. With regard to Alpa Chino, take your pick of rapper-turned-actors. He&#39;s mainly a combination of Snoop Dogg, Will Smith and Lil&#39; Jon in regards to Snoop Dogg putting his name on everything, Will Smith taking on a major film role to help boost his record/product sales and Lil&#39; Jon having his own energy drink. Finally, Les Grossman has been likened to Hollywood producer Scott Rudin and also to Harvey Weinstein. Also Four Leaf Tayback seems to be inspired in part by authors Dick Marcinko and Tom Clancy. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Vaudeville theaters made common practice of employing Caucasian actors to portray Black characters in Minstrel Shows (an entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, which viciously lampooned blacks in disparaging ways, i.e. ignorant, lazy, buffoonish, superstitious, joyous, and musical). The actors would paint their face using shoe polish or grease paint and play into the stereotypes of the time. After the Civil War, former chattel slaves or their free-born descendants, in the United States, began to appear in &quot;blackface&quot;, forming a number of Black-only Minstrel troops that rivaled the popularity of the early Caucasian performers. This practice continued in early cinema and has been variously viewed as ranging from &quot;comedic&quot; to &quot;racially stereotypical&quot;. Sort of. In terms of color, yes albeit only partly, and otherwise not. There is a drug called methoxsalen, marketed under the trade name Oxsoralen that can be used in this way. Author John Howard Griffin used it, but in conjunction with spending up to fifteen hours daily under an ultraviolet lamp, to darken his skin in order to investigate racial segregation in the South. He also used dye to cover the parts of his skin that were uneven. Griffin&#39;s experience is detailed in the non-fiction book Black Like Me (1961). Journalist Grace Halsell did the same, resulting in a book Soul Sister: The Journal of a White Woman Who Turned Herself Black and Went to Live and Work in Harlem and Mississippi (1969). Prior even to Griffin and Halsell, a journalist for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette named Ray Sprigle attempted to do the same in 1947. This was before the advent of methoxsalen, so Sprigle attempted to deepen his skin color with walnut dye and iodine but eventually ended up suntanning himself darkly.<br/><br/>In the movie, however, the process Kirk Lazarus (<a href="/name/nm0000375/">Robert Downey Jr.</a>) uses is referred to in dialogue as a surgical procedure. At the end of the film, he removes his contact lenses and fake facial hair in the enemy camp, and later appears at the Oscars with his normal skin tone. Just one: Damian Cockburn, who steps on an old landmine and is blown to pieces. In the movie-within-the-movie that they were filming at the beginning, however, Sandusky&#39;s character gets horribly disemboweled, a fellow soldier gets shot in the head, and in the director&#39;s cut, a helicopter gunner is hit with a large piece of shrapnel. Aside from these, countless Vietcong combatants get shot down. &quot;Sometimes When We Touch&quot;, a late 1970s hit by Dan Hill. Before the actual plot progress begins, there are four in-universe advertising snippets (mostly unrated trailers) shown to introduce some of the main characters. (1) An advertisement for Alpa Chino&#39;s Booty Sweat energy drink and Bust-A-Nut energy bars featuring his hit single &quot;I Love The Pussy&quot;. (2) A trailer for Universal Pictures&#39; upcoming film &quot;Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown&quot;, once again starring Tugg Speedman in the lead role. The inclusion of this trailer parodies those of typical summer action blockbuster franchises. (3) A trailer for New Line Cinema&#39;s &quot;The Fatties: Fart 2&quot;, again starring Jeff Portnoy as America&#39;s favorite obese family. The trailer is footage of Jeff Portnoy breaking flatulence excessively in a French restaurant and is a hybrid parody of The Nutty Professor, in which Eddie Murphy portrayed every member of the Klump family, and Terrence &amp; Phillip from South Park, whose sole running joke is farting. (4) A trailer for Fox Searchlight&#39;s &quot;Satan&#39;s Alley&quot;, a film in the vein of Brokeback Mountain and starring five-time Academy Award winner Kirk Lazarus with MTV Movie Award&#39;s Best Kiss winner Tobey Maguire as two medieval monks who are romantically involved. The film was winner of the Beijing Film Festival&#39;s coveted Crying Monkey Award. There is no scene at the end of the credits, however, there is a scene at the end of movie that carries over into the credits. Many people have called this movie ironic for the fact that it is a satirical film, which is making fun of actors who are only taking on roles in films in order to win awards, mainly the Academy Award. (Such as Tugg Speedman taking on the role of Simple Jack, hoping to win an Oscar, and Kirk Lazarus getting plastic surgery in order to play the role of Lincoln Osiris.) The irony, however, is that actual Oscar buzz surrounded Robert Downey Jr.&#39;s portrayal of Kirk Lazarus, and he in fact ended up receiving a nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category, when such was not &quot;intended&quot;. There was even buzz about Tom Cruise&#39;s minor role as Les Grossman after he received a Golden Globe nomination, though an Oscar nomination did not happen. &quot;For What It&#39;s Worth&quot; by Buffalo Springfield. This plays in the opening of the green-band trailer when it first plays out like a serious war movie.<br/><br/>&quot;Gimme Some Lovin&#39;&quot; by Spencer Davis Group. This plays in both the green and red band trailers when the three main characters are being introduced as &quot;The Action Guy&quot;, The Award Winner&quot;, etc.<br/><br/>&quot;Name of the Game (Clean Name)&quot; by The Crystal Method. This plays in both the green and red band trailers when the writer (Nick Nolte) tells Damian (the director - Steve Coogan) to put the actors &quot;in the trees&quot; (&quot;in the shit&quot;, in the red band trailer)<br/><br/>&quot;Sympathy For The Devil&quot; by The Rolling Stones. This plays (but is cut short) while the main characters travel through the jungle.<br/><br/>&quot;War&quot; by Edwin Starr. This plays in both the green band and red band trailers after the Vietnamese soldier spots the actors, thinking they&#39;re spies.<br/><br/>&quot;Awaking The Dragon&quot; (aka &quot;Sleeping With The Dragon&quot;) by RipTide Music. This is the &quot;epic action movie trailer&quot; music that plays when the trailer begins listing off the names of the three lead actors. The theatrical version of &quot;Tropic Thunder&quot; is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. This version was later released on DVD as well as an Unrated Director&#39;s Cut. The Director&#39;s Cut runs more than 17 minutes longer than the theatrical cut and adds more story, dialogue and action to the film. a5c7b9f00b
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