Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tropic Thunder

I'm planning to go see this movie, perhaps on Thursday. But some people that I really respect are registering their discontent with it's premise and content.

Now, I personally think that humor operates within it's own boundaries of acceptable. It's therefore a concept I continually have to analyze because sometimes lines are very clearly crossed, and other times I think the pushing comedy does is invaluable. But either way there are lines, there are boundaries, and sometimes the negative things I'd like to see gone are instead being reinforced.

The Anxious Black Woman asks in her post: Is the satire of Tropic Thunder merely suggesting that Hollywood is a racist, ableist institution that continues to hire mostly whites to perpetuate the same old stereotypes about Racial Others and anyone else who is "different"? We already know this. So, why is this funny?

Yes, I think that's exactly what this movie is making fun of, or at least what it's supposed to be. It's also why I want to see it. Even though I'm already aware of what Hollywood does, I want to see it mocked. That would be funny to me. Why? I guess because I am amused by fools who try to hide having their foolishness laid bare for all to see. And I am really hoping to see Stiller (writer, director and star) do exactly that. If so, I will be very happy. But we'll have to wait and see if it delivers.


  1. My second sentence did not post. sorry. It should read:

    "racism and ableism are only amusing when you are not the target of the derision. The problem with Tropic Thunder is not its satirical moments but how many of those moments (both in the film and the marketing of it) rely on the same bigotry it is supposedly meant to unmask."

  2. "racism and ableism are only amusing when you are not the target of the derision."

    Racism and ableism, aren't funny.

    Making fun of an industry for being so, might be funny.

    But I haven't seen the movie yet, so I can't say if it achieved that or not.

    I did notice that in the marketing of the film, it was very blatantly pointed out how absurd Downey's character's casting in the movie within the movie is though...so I have hope.

  3. I have a strange urge to see it too, if for no other reason than to pick it apart. I have hopes for Downy, Jr.'s character. Not too high, but we'll see.

  4. Jaded Hippy, I'm glad you are taking seriously what both PBW and I have to say about this movie, but I would caution you to think that, just because a movie seems to be satirizing its own institution, does not mean that they are seriously questioning the ideologies that shore up said institution. The trailer gives every indication that, while they are laughing at, they are also secretly laughing with.

  5. Ben Stiller has a track record of doing anything for a laugh (i'm thinking Heartbreak Kid, yuck)


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