Movies Links #1: Tropic Thunder (2008)

January 13, 2010

I’ve recently taken up the challenge to watch a new movie every now and then (free time allowing) that I’ve not seen before and then blog about it. One extra part of the challenge is to link each film to the next via a shared cast or crew member.

Tropic Thunder Movie Poster

To kick things off, I watched Tropic Thunder. I’d not seen it before, and while reading Total Film’s review of the decade, realised that there was a lot of comedy in it that I’ve been missing out on.

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Ben Stiller, nor am I a fan of the sort of comedies he is in, at least that is what I thought.

Tropic Thunder opens well with a massive set piece involving a few familiar faces in a film that doesn’t look too dissimilar to Platoon, only it’s funnier. I get the impression that Ben Stiller (the star and director) could quite easily direct a big Michael Bay style blockbuster, fortunately he chose to make an hilarious movie for us to enjoy. It is soon revealed that all this is a film, and we’re watching them film it, or at least, attempt to film it.

Without a doubt, the stand out star of the film is Robert Downey Jr starring as Kirk Lazarus, the method actor who had controversial surgery to “black up” for a leading role in the film. He turns what could easily be an awful (and racist) sounding concept into one of the funniest characters in recent cinema.

Another surprise comedy turn came from Tom Cruise. He plays the over the top movie producer Len Grossman brilliantly. I heard Cruise had a cameo in Tropic Thunder, but I’d hardly consider this a cameo as he was in it a lot. Certainly the second most memorable character in the film. Recently I have started to really rate Tom Cruise, it’s a massive shame that he is a Scientologist as I consider it to be an abhorrent “religion” but I’m sure I should save my feelings on that for another blog entry.

Tom Cruise has picked some excellent roles in the past decade, most notably as Vincent in Collateral and as David Aames in Vanilla Sky. In both of those films he is truly excellent, far more interesting than some of his more blockbuster driven roles.

It is very obvious that Tom Cruise had a great time playing the movie producer Len Grossman – as evidenced in any scene he’s in. I bet he has had quite a few movie producers like that in the past, so really relished this performance.

Verdict: 4/5

All in all, Tropic Thunder is a great film, a very entertaining comedy. Ben Stiller has done a fine job with his acting/writing/directing roles, bringing together an excellent cast.

Check back soon to see which star or crew member will be in the next film I watch.

One Response to “Movies Links #1: Tropic Thunder (2008)”

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