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Our Spy Saw A TROPIC THUNDER Screening!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. Lucky bastard. I’ve talked to a few people now who have seen this one in rough form, and to a person, they’ve been effusive in their praise. This sounds like it may well end up as one of the best things Ben Stiller’s even been involved in, and there are so many great roles and great ideas in what I’ve already heard about this that I’m tempted to just block out everything else from now until release because I want to see it myself. But who am I fooling? This looks like a blast, so I’ll take every nugget of info from now until I can see it myself. So check out this spy’s reaction from a screening earlier tonight...

Harry, Tonight I was able to go with a friend of mine down to Long Beach to see a screening of "Tropic Thunder". Let me first tell you that they had so many people in line to see it they ran it on two screens. While in line, the guy who was running the screening kept telling everyone that this was going to be an "R" rated comedy, and that if you were offended easily to reconsider watching the movie. So my guess is that they are planning on keeping this a hard R, and after watching the film, i cannot see how they could edit it down. So here is my take on the film. The fake previews lead into the film, and they are fantastic. Each trailer introduced the three main actors, with specific satires of certain genres. Ben Stiller's character plays and action star who has now made at least five sequels to one movie, Jack Black's trailer is the most brilliant satire; a movie about a fat family with all the characters played by Black in heavy prosthetics. The film was called "The Fatties" and the shot at Eddie Murphy's career made everyone in the theatre laugh hysterically. Robert Downey Jr. is the most serious of the actors, his trailer was for a movie called "Satan's Alley", where Downey plays a priest who falls in love with another priest. A great cameo here by Tobey Maguire (the trailer references him as MTV's best kiss award winner). The only other one was a fake commercial, and all i will say about that is "Booty Sweat". After the trailers the film shifts right into the middle of a scene from "Tropic Thunder", the movie that Stiller, Black, and Downey are all now in. Right away Downey starts stealing the scene, and it is almost scary how he looks and sounds almost nothing like Downey. Spouting blood from helmets and intestines falling out of stomachs happen in over the top war movie fashion, and Jack Black ends up hanging from a helicopter. The scene ends with Stiller in the midst of dying and Downey there to console him. Stiller yells cut and we get our first introduction to the pseudo rivalry between Stiller and Downey that continues throughout the film. I dont know who the actor is that plays the director, but he fits the role well. We get the basic rundown of whats happening on set, including the extremely obscene pyrotechnics guy and Nick Nolte as the soldier who wrote the book on which the movie is being based. The film then moves into a party scene and we are introduced to Jack Blacks drug addiction, Downeys method acting that doesnt stop when the cameras do, and Stiller, being, well, Stiller. The greatest introduction comes when we first see the man behind the funding of "Tropic Thunder", and it is possibly the best surprise of the entire film. This may be a big spoiler for some, so be warned. The hairy, over weight, and now balding billionaire is played by none other than Tom Cruise, spewing the word fuck every chance he can conceivably get. The theatre went nuts. To see Cruise in a role like this was encouraging. Yes he may be one of the most insane men living on this planet right now, but he is goddamn hilarious in this role. And the decision to keep him coming back throughout the entire movie was a great choice. Now I dont want to give a description of the entire movie, but I hope this gives an idea of the tone of the film. There are cameos galore, references to almost every film that had an actor play a retarded person, and Jack Black going through heroin withdrawals that lead him to making statements like "I will cradle your balls and swallow your sweet gravy if you let me go..." and talking to a large animal saying "I want to bite your hide skin". However, Downey steals the entire movie, especially the banter between him and the actual African american in the cast (who is supposed to be a rapper turned actor). I was a bit let down with Stiller's performance, and was almost let down by Black's until halfway through the film when he started going through withdrawals in the middle of the Vietnam Jungle. One other thing i could have done without is the leader of the Vietnamese heroin ring who captures the cast is played by a very unconvincing twelve year old, literally. But making up for that is Tom Cruise dancing to awful rap music while trying to convince Stiller's agent, played by none other than Matt McConaughey, to let Stiller die in the jungle. The film is full of incredible cameos and genuinely hilarious performances. It definitely is one of the better satirical comedies I have seen in a long time. It is also great to see Jack Black and Ben Stiller in a good R rated comedy again. However, Robert Downey comes out on top with the best performance. I laughed hard and consistently, and in that i felt the film was a great success. Even my roomate, who i thought lived his life emotionless, laughed quite a few times. I cant wait to see this again in august. Hope the review was helpful. -taymckay
Readers Talkback
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  • March 13, 2008, 6:47 a.m. CST


    by StarskyandHushky

    I win at first!

  • March 13, 2008, 6:53 a.m. CST

    Ladies and Gentlemen..

    by StarskyandHushky

    ...That is seven 'First' posts in a row. Count them. Sev-en. 7. My life now makes sense. I'd like to thank my agent and the academy for making this all possible.

  • March 13, 2008, 6:53 a.m. CST

    when does this come out?

    by palewook

  • March 13, 2008, 6:57 a.m. CST

    On the subject...

    by StarskyandHushky

    ...the sound of this movie almost makes me cream my shorts. Bring it on!

  • March 13, 2008, 6:57 a.m. CST


    by Motoko Kusanagi

    Planty McPlant!

  • March 13, 2008, 6:58 a.m. CST

    I hope this won't be like 'Knocked Up'.

    by DerLanghaarige

    Y'know, that "hilarious comedy" that came out last year and got more praise than the next coming of Jesus will get, but turned out to be pretty lame, unfunny and predictable.

  • March 13, 2008, 7:01 a.m. CST

    more green than CGI Hulk

    by just pillow talk

  • March 13, 2008, 7:11 a.m. CST

    This sounds like the Ben Stiller of yesteryear

    by I Dunno

    Gather around, children and I'll tell you a tale. Soon after the earth cooled, Ben Stiller had a sketch comedy show that was actually smart, satirical and funny. Janeane Garafalo, who was also funny once was also in it. As were Bob Odenkirk and David Cross who wore onions on their belts, which was the fashion of the time.

  • March 13, 2008, 7:13 a.m. CST

    Will this break the "Superbad" review count?

    by tonagan

    I think there were over three hundred of those.

  • March 13, 2008, 7:15 a.m. CST

    by krish-0

    I have an idea? How about an IQ test that you would have to pass before you can post in Talkback? At the very least, it would limit the number of idiots that post "FIRST" or cry "PLANT" at the very suggestion of a positive review. Fuckin' idiots I tells ya.

  • March 13, 2008, 7:48 a.m. CST

    I thought the director...

    by thefrood

    was being played by Nick Nolte. Oh and by the way, why is it that whenever a reviewer actually enjoys a movie they're called a plant. Couldn't it simply be that they had a good time? I swear to god, fucking cynicism is the biggest enemy of creativity.

  • March 13, 2008, 7:49 a.m. CST

    Want to see it now!

    by waites

    I want to see this movie today! And people talking here about Kncoked Up??? I think I recall it was a huge hit? if Tropic Thunder can do as well it will be great! I will be there to see it opening night.. unless I get into an early screening first.

  • March 13, 2008, 7:57 a.m. CST


    by greyspecter

    certainly in the top three actors today. Can go from funny to serious between syllables. Anything with him instantly merits my consideration. <p> By the way, how the heck does Stiller still draw such Hollywood firepower in his movies? The guy cranks out dreck and still lands Cruise, Vaughn, Black, Downey, Ferrell (wait, scratch that last) for tepid scripts. This one solely recommends itself on the presence of Black and Downey, not Stiller. Loved Dodgeball, but Stiller was annoying

  • March 13, 2008, 7:59 a.m. CST

    Ben Stiller sucks

    by Skankardly

  • March 13, 2008, 8:19 a.m. CST

    Steve Coogan is the director

    by bluelou_boyle

    Watch Alan Partridge, dummies.

  • March 13, 2008, 8:25 a.m. CST

    Ben Stiller FOX Show as Genius. Sounds like a return to form.

    by Behemoth

    I was championing Ben Stiller when he was doing bits on Remote Control, and then I was one of the 14 people who actually watched every episode of his FOX show with Odenkirk, Garafolo, Dick, etc. <p>I've lost interest over the years as he's gone on to do the mainstream, predictable stuff, but I've always been glad to see him successful. Hopefully this will be a return to the Stiller Schtick I loved in the beginning.

  • March 13, 2008, 8:33 a.m. CST

    Even the reviews of this film are making me laugh

    by sean bean

    It sounds like a winner

  • March 13, 2008, 8:37 a.m. CST

    Cannot wait.

    by Subculture

    This sounds like it has potential. I've got to check it out when it comes out.

  • March 13, 2008, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Re: Steve Coogan Is The Director

    by thefrood

    Ahhh... Nick Nolte is in it though. As... someone. Yea Coogan!

  • March 13, 2008, 9:07 a.m. CST

    by Phimseto

  • March 13, 2008, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Correction: Ben Stiller AND Jack Black suck

    by BanAllFIRSTPosters

  • March 13, 2008, 9:10 a.m. CST


    by AdrianVeidt

  • March 13, 2008, 9:16 a.m. CST

    Not interested at all

    by Atomic Popcorn

    I believe the world would be a better place if Ben Stiller wasn't around.

  • March 13, 2008, 10:14 a.m. CST

    like i said yesterday

    by pcassou

  • March 13, 2008, 10:15 a.m. CST

    like i said yesterday

    by pcassou

    I hope this works, mr stiller as a director doesnt have a good record

  • March 13, 2008, 10:28 a.m. CST

    Must. See.

    by Saluki

    I had to stop reading three different times reading this I was laughing so hard. Oh my god. Cruise makes the best cameos, no contest.

  • March 13, 2008, 10:48 a.m. CST

    If Downey wasn't in this...

    by Rocklover79

    I wouldn't be the least bit interested. Stiller does nada for me, and I can only tolerate Jack Black in small doses. This sounds like it could actually be some fun, and I'll watch Downey in anything. But... I'm pretty sure that the NAACP will soon be tuning up the band for a protest against this film. I'm not an overly sensitive person, but as soon as I saw that pic of Downey in blackface, I thought that trouble was coming. A white dude in blackface is seen as very offensive for historical reasons. Eddie Murphy playing every race under the rainbow and getting away with it(barely) isn't quite the same thing here, methinks. I might be overthinking it, but in any case, controversy will only be free publicity for the film, anyway.

  • March 13, 2008, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Ben Stiller

    by penguinblooz2

    I may like this movie but not sure about Ben Stiller. His stuff is erratic and mediocre sometimes and other times brilliantly funny. I am glad smug Owen Wilson is not in this.

  • March 13, 2008, 11:32 a.m. CST

    When the hell did this TB reach 1000 posts?

    by thebearovingian

    Sounds high-larry-us.

  • March 13, 2008, 11:45 a.m. CST

    I was there...

    by samwisefan

    I was at the screening last night as well and I agree that this movie is hysterical. It will probably be the funniest movie of 2008. It's definitely R-rated way around that. Nick Nolte plays the war veteran who wrote the book that they're making into a movie. I agree that Ben Stiller's work is hit and miss, but I'd have to say this is the best thing he's ever done. Funny, funny stuff. And Robert Downey Jr is by far the best part of the movie. Him and the fake coming attractions they show at the beginning of the movie. And I think anyone who loves movies and knows a little about how they're made will especially appreciate this film since they make fun of actors and moviemaking so much. And I'm not a plant, mo-fo!

  • March 13, 2008, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Self referential comedy is not funny

    by Emperor_was_a_jerk

    Just because it is Tom Cruise in a fat suit yelling the "F" word, does not make it funny. doesn't sound like there is a joke there- just a wink and a "Look! It is all your favorite stars together being silly! I mean come on! That is TOM CRUISE!". Whoever wrote this review sounds like he/she wants to make some serious love to every frame.

  • March 13, 2008, 11:55 a.m. CST

    CCI's not done yet

    by ThePilgrim

    That's why Jacks after everyones Sweet Cradled Sack Juice's in the original Cut.

  • March 13, 2008, 12:07 p.m. CST

    When do they figure out when things start getting real

    by ThePilgrim

    You know when most studios make a movie. They have camera's, cranes, dolly tracks, monitors, lights, boom mics, grips, electrician crew, hair/makeup crews and fold out chairs about. <P> When does this group of actors start to notice the absence of said On-Set Material???? <P> If this part isn't that well thought out. Well fuck this movie! and I agree with Self referential comedy. It needs to fucking die. So tired of this Starfucking. <P> Bet you 3 Amigo's did it better. Might not have been as many cameos and F-bombs, but I bet when this was an original idea. It actually used it with merit and respect!

  • March 13, 2008, 12:24 p.m. CST

    RE: When do they figure out when things start getting real

    by samwisefan

    Aside from Ben Stiller's character, they all pretty much realize quickly that they aren't actually filming. Stiller's character is such a self-loving egotistical moron "actor" that it takes him quite awhile before he realizes that they aren't filming. In fact, he & them get in a fight over it and go separate ways. Tom Cruise...although he didn't ruin the movie, I'd say that he was the only part that wasn't funny. That man just can't do comedy.

  • March 13, 2008, 12:35 p.m. CST


    by polyh3dron

    fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

  • March 13, 2008, 2:09 p.m. CST

    This sounds like a blast, looking forward to a full trailer

    by KillaKane

    Good review J

  • March 13, 2008, 2:21 p.m. CST

    No shit, this does sound great...

    by poeticwarriorII

    please don't let this suck. We're in desperate need of another great comedy.

  • March 13, 2008, 2:42 p.m. CST


    by nutnics

    Does he have his shirt on?

  • March 13, 2008, 4:14 p.m. CST

    A film about a priest's falling in love with another priest

    by Son of Hades

    "Satan's Alley". LOLOCAUST.

  • March 13, 2008, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Forget Superbad...

    by Tourist

    ...I hear the week leading up to its release, Aint-it-cool-news will be officially changing its name to Aint-it-Forgetting-Sarah-Marshall-News. All talk backs will be patroled to make sure all discussion is in regards to Apatow related projects.

  • March 13, 2008, 5:08 p.m. CST

    Just saying......

    by Maetrix66

    Stiller usually doesn't do anything for me. Now his wife, that's all together different..... I hope to hell that this movie is as good as it sounds. FYI-It sounds like Neil Cumpston wrote Jack Blacks withdrawal scenes.

  • March 13, 2008, 5:09 p.m. CST

    I can picture....

    by Maetrix66

    ....the NAACP now when they first trailer hits. "AAAWWW HHHELLL NNNOOOO!!!""

  • March 13, 2008, 5:52 p.m. CST

    Sold. I'm there.

    by Blue_Demon

    This sounds hilarious.

  • March 13, 2008, 6:30 p.m. CST

    I've seen it too.

    by storkbag

    I was fortunate enough to go to a screening at Paramount and Ben Stiller was there. Thought it was great! Fake trailers are amazing. First act is a little slow to start, but once it gets going it GETS GOING. I can only imagine the final cut will be amazing. Both Robert Downey Jr and Tom Cruise are phenomenal in it!

  • March 13, 2008, 7:31 p.m. CST

    Another Be Kind Rewind?

    by skywalkerfamily

    Didn't that kill a studio?

  • March 14, 2008, 4:31 a.m. CST


    by hoisin

    No mention of the genius that is Steve Coogan?!

  • March 14, 2008, 5:39 a.m. CST

    alan partridge is unfunny, unintelligent and pathetic

    by ironic_name

    may see this, though

  • March 14, 2008, 2:13 p.m. CST

    I'm Alan Partridge is pure genius

    by smackfu

    So much so, that I consider it a dead tie with Fawlty Towers in the category of Comedy So Good You Don't Deserve To Watch It. To anyone who hasn't seen it, I'd recommend the episode called 'Towering Alan' as a starting point, where Alan is forced to MC a county fair that he doesn't want to MC, and attend a funeral for social networking purposes.