Monday Movie Club: 'Tropic Thunder' react

TropicthunderWe’re starting a new feature on PopWatch: Every Monday, you’ll find a post where you can dissect the weekend’s most notable film release with others who braved the crowds (cell phones, crying babies, etc.) to see it as well. The discussion will always start after the jump, so you can speak freely. Translation: Spoiler-phobes, stop here.

We begin with weekend box office champ, Tropic Thunder

EW critic Lisa Schwarzbaum referred to Tropic Thunder as "the very best and funniest" of Ben Stiller’s oeuvre, and I’m prepared to follow her there. Those opening trailers gave us all the backstory we needed on the "actors" — and honestly, the preview for Satan’s Alley (pictured), featuring MTV Movie Award Best Kiss winner Tobey Maguire, was my favorite part of the film.

As for the disability advocacy groups who protested at the movie’s premiere over its repeated use of the word retard, I agree with costar Jack Black, who told EW.com that he believed the groups would understand that the Simple Jack joke wasn’t on them if they watched the film. (It’s on the actors who think a certain type of role is a surefire Oscar winner.)

In the end, the only thing that may have actually made some audience members uncomfortable was their willingness to laugh at Tom Cruise. Though some people applauded for him during the credits in my showing, a friend of mine refused to admit that his turn as the hip-hop loving film producer made her like him again — because she thinks it was a strategic move designed to do just that. Does it matter?

Your turn. Share your praise (could Robert Downey Jr. be looking at a supporting actor Oscar nom?) and your gripes below.


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  • jmiklane

    Saw it yesterday. My favorite of the 3 leads is Jack Black, but even I can admit that his character was a complete waste of space. Not very funny in this one (although he did have the best line of the movie, IMO… while he was tied to the tree, trying to get Alpa Chino to untie him. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about). Downey was awesome, as everyone has said- but Oscar? That’s a bit too much I think. Tom Cruise was the highlight, because he really nailed the part- his cussing/screaming was HILARIOUS! Although I don’t think the makeup hid who he was… it seemed obvious to everyone that he was Tom. However, the dancing was over-the-top, and nobody in my theater laughed at his dancing at the end. I like Ben Stiller, but I think this movie was a bit uneven and overrated. Many funny parts, many unfunny parts. The trailers at the beginning were awesome though.

  • Anne

    This movie was so funny, and Robert Downey Jr. was fabulous in it. He really gets into his roles which just makes me like him so much more. you could see all the differences and the real RDJ never came through, which was great! His Osiris was noticeably different from Kurt, unlike Stiller who i feel still plays the same role in every movie. I thought he was funny in this, but maybe it’s because his turn as Tony Perkis in ‘Heavyweights’ is my favorite role of his. Tom Cruise was lame, it was obvious what he was trying to do and his dance moves weren’t that sweet. Matthew M. was good but Owen Wilson would have been better!

  • Huffybike

    There’s some great audio from the movie up here: http://www.entertonement.com/collections/1619/Tropic-Thunder

  • Melissa

    Saw it and loved it. Laughed a lot, which is always a good sign. RDJ was great. And just how he never broke character. Fave moments for me: “Never go full retard.” When Tugg is running across the bridge with the boy on his back and you’re thinking “Oh, he’s saving his ‘son’!” and then you notice the kid is repeatedly stabbing him. And the Tobey Maguire, “Winner of Best Kiss at the MTV Movie Awards” bit. Excellent Hollywood spoof.
    I keep reading how great Danny McBride is and how big he’s gonna be, Will Ferrell apparently thinks he’s awesome, but I was underwhelmed. Maybe he’s better in other stuff.
    McConaughey looked like crap, but he was kinda funny.
    Thought Tom Cruise’s cameo would have been best served as a one-off thing. Show him once, show the dancing once. To have him dance over the end credits was beyond annoying, and just not funny anymore. Less is more.

  • Agatha

    I so sad about this: I didn’t laugh once. Not once. I so wanted to love it. Nick Nolte! Steve Coogan! That kid from Freaks and Geeks! But every joke fell flat. The things they parodied had long been parodied before (movie trailers, rappers, war movies) and better. I’m not being mean spirited, cause I think they are all really talented guys. I just wish it had been better.

  • Nose

    Several funny things about the movie: Satan’s Alley, Jack Black coming down from heroin, “How do we cover him?”, and everything Robert Downey Jr did. Brandon T Jackson was also great. Ben Stiller does tend to go over the top…for example, the panda head, and Simple Jack..it was a bit much. But, it was all balanced out because it wasn’t just about his character. I wish I hadn’t read so much about the Tom Cruise cameo beforehand..it would have been funnier.

  • lala1215

    I didn’t hear the news about Cruise beforehand so it was a funny surprise for me- I too hate him but this role soften it. RDJ was great and the Enigma song in the background of his trailer was a nice touch- I could really see that as a trailer!

  • Dan Daoust

    NO SPOILERS!!!
    Wait, where am I?

  • J.B.

    Danny McBride had my favorite line…something like “I don’t know what this is called. I just know the sound it makes when you lie.” LOL.
    Also, kudos to Jay Baruchel for playing such a great straight man.

  • Rachel K

    I thought this movie was fantastic! I laughed and laughed, particularly at the end with Ben Stiller running with his “adopted child” stabbing him in the back. Oh, the irony! And I’m absolutely head-over-heels in love w/ Robert Downey Jr. After Iron Man earlier in the summer he is by favorite thing about Summer 2008. My favorite part of the movie has to be the trailers at the beginning if only because half of the audience in my viewing didn’t know what was going on and it was hysterical! I would see Satan’s Alley in a heartbeat. And as much as I’d like to give Tom Cruise a good punch in the face his turn in this movie had to make you laugh. I don’t know if it redeemed him in my eyes but it sure made me think back to when he was good (i.e. Magnolia). If it was a strategic move, well played Tom Cruise, this round goes to you.

  • lawyergirl77

    I’m not normally the biggest fan of Ben Stiller’s movies (in fact, I kind of loathe them), but I went to see this one because of RDJ.
    I laughed so hard I cried for most of the movie, starting from the fake trailers right down to the idiocy of Tom Cruise’s extended lunatic dance mix at the end. That joke may have overstayed its welcome, but I was still cracking up. Mission accomplished, Mr. Cruise – I had to keep reminding myself that you’re a total nutbar in order to keep from thinking “Aw, he’s not all that bad” every time you had me in stitches. (Seriously: this proves he’s a master manipulator, and I’m both impressed and horrified by how much this is going to help his career…)
    While I loved Matthew McConaughey in this and I thought it was a good part for him, is there any other reason that he was cast, aside from the fact that he looks like Owen Wilson?
    And jimiklane – I agree. That line while he was tied to the tree was fantastic. As was “total retard”. Heh.

  • Anonymous

    I kept picturing Owen Wilson in all of Matthew M’s scenes and feeling a little sad. He would have been hilarious. I enjoyed the movie a lot, but didn’t love it. My favorite bit was also Robert Downey Jr.’s trailer.

  • Ronda

    Loved, loved, loved the movie! It would have been perfect except I wish Owen Wilson was able to keep his part as Tugg’s agent/best friend. It would have made more sense considering Stiller and he are best friends in real life. A+++++

  • JKBopinion

    I saw it with no intention of enjoying the film… was dragged by hubby & friend. I’ve been disappointed in Stiller off & on, but I really got a kick out of this film. I DID love Tom C in this movie (wanted to hate him, but couldn’t stop laughing). My favorite bits were the early trailers, anything with Danny M., Jay B, or interaction between RDJ and Brandon J. My hubby & his friend enjoyed the movie even more than I did… I don’t think they stopped laughing.

  • GeeMoney

    This movie was ok, but it could have been funnier. A few of the jokes and gags made me laugh at first, but as the movie went on, they got kind of lame. To me, Ben Stiller’s schtick has gotten old…. when is he going to do a movie role when he’s not playing the same type of funny person?
    RDJ gave the best performance of the film… and that Danny McBride… funny! His lines were the ones I totally laughed at.

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