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"Tropic Thunder"

By admin Published: August 8, 2008


I saw the movie last night. Very tasteless, at times disjointed, but also clever, Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Cruise are worth the price of admission, and I laughed plenty. ...

Though not as much as the man a row behind me who loudly shared his amusement with the entire theater even when there was no actual joke in progress. Made me wonder if he had stumbled in by accident after, uh, preparing to see "Pineapple Express."

Will be writing a review of the movie next week. For now, let me note how impressed I am by the online companions to the film, such as Web sites for various of the actor-characters including Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson) and Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black). The sites include references to other movies with those characters as well as bios.

There's also a site for "Satan's Alley" -- a Kirk Lazarus movie cited in "Tropic Thunder." (The title alone gave me a giggle, since movie nuts will recall that "Satan's Alley" is also the musical John Travolta is working on in "Staying Alive.")

And, at one point, there was a site for "Simple Jack," the Oscar-seeking movie in which Tugg Speedman played a mentally challenged man; although you can still the Web address, that site has been taken down because of complaints from a prominent disability-issues activist, notably over the use of the word "retard." The word is still in the movie, but it is justifiable in context; and the context is not about people with disabilities as much as it's about the way actors (and Hollywood generally) see certain roles.

When watching the movie, I was thinking that it will probably yield a huge DVD package, especially when it comes to deleted and extended scenes. The online elements make that seem even more likely, since they contain tons of detail that didn't make it into the movie itself.

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