Tropic Thunder

A little while back, I had a brief period in which I found myself out of work. It was pretty hard. I lived out of my car for something like half the time, spent some time in theaters watching movies “for free”, hit a bar for the kind of beer-drinking that only the out-of-work can really experience. You know how it is. Eventually, I got back on my feet, slept in an actual bed, and then I had to get up ridiculously early the next morning to start my new job. (And since then, I have been way too busy to write anything, for ages without end. Which explains this two week delay, you see.)

This is the story of that movie.

So, anyway, free preview, right? I glanced at it, then decided I had to work and couldn’t go and promptly forgot about it. Except then someone besides me wanted to go and other people got involved and my last day had slightly shifted hours, such that I ultimately was able to, plus it was free, right? Yay, Studio Movie Grill! A reasonably short-lived line followed by a good long sit-around eating buffet pizza and drinking moderately buffet Shiner later, Tropic Thunder started.

The premise really fails to capture it. Three successful actors are trying to break out of their pigeonholes by making a Saving Private Ryanesque true-life story of a rescued soldier escaping from Vietnam, but problems with egos and the budget are quickly making a hash of things. So the director decides to drop them into the jungle to film the middle portion of the movie Blair Witch style, with some cameras scattered around the forest for most of the shots and the director shadowing the for the rest. Only, the part of the jungle they land in is being used to grow and process drugs, and the natives are not too happy to find “heavily-armed” intruders in their midst. Also, Tom Cruise played a role that indicates every once in a while he remembers he’s a decent actor with a sense of humor, and not just the face of Scientology. Wacky hilarity ensues!

This sounds no more than a mile north of totally dumb, I know. But in practice, I have not laughed so hard at a movie in ages. If you like things that are funny, you should go see it. In the meantime, though, something pretty awesome happened at the theater. Ryan and Laurell and I were having a discussion about gender disparities launched when a male member of the waitstaff set the first pitcher of beer down in front of her. We ultimately concluded that (in the heteronormative world), people with penises and people with vaginas are in competition for scarce resources, and that if our waitress had brought the beer instead, she would likely have (unconsciously?) given it to one of the guys instead of the girl. None of which would be all that interesting to relate, except that a woman at the table in front of us finally got fed up with all of our foul, penis-ridden language and asked us if we knew that there were children here, indicating the 14 year-old next to her. Although I personally believe that a girl of that age has likely heard the word before (and in equally conversational contexts; we were being uncouth neither in topic nor actual verbiage), it was a point well-taken about how some people don’t want to expose themselves to such topics in some contexts, and I felt a little bad; I think we all did.

That is, until we remembered and later observed that this was an R-rated movie with all manner of violent, sexually-topical, and otherwise far more inappropriate material than anything occurring in our conversation. Jack Black, in particular, made reference to a penis (though I am forced to admit that he never used the dreaded word itself) that I actually think I would be leery of having a 14 year-old hear. Our heroic parent and/or guardian, of course, took her delicate child out of the theater within five minutes of the opening reel, once she realized what a mistake she’d made. Because that would be the only logical decision after having made such a scene in the theater a mere half an hour previously. Right? RIGHT?

OH WAIT NO SHE STAYED FOR THE WHOLE MOVIE!!!

3 thoughts on “Tropic Thunder

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