TROPIC THUNDER

thunder

Overall Impression — Oh.  My.  Lord.  The biggest cajones in the comedy world belong to Ben Stiller.  This movie goes places wise men fear to tread…and comes out the other side in one, amazing piece.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

Who’s your main character? — Tugg Speedman.

What’s he trying to accomplish? — Professional: Rebuild his career by appearing in an epic war movie.  Personal: be a leader to his troupe of actors.  Private: Learn how to REALLY care about something other than himself.

Who’s trying to stop him? — Drug lords.

What happens if he fails? — He dies.

THE FOUR ARCHETYPES

Orphan — Tugg is  in over his head starring in an out of control war movie, then he and his fellow actors are dropped in the jungle and lose total contact with the outside world.

Wanderer — Tugg and his troupe continue trying to “act” in the movie they think is still going on, until it slowly becomes obvious to everyone but Tugg that this is real.    Tugg eventually parts company with the others and fights to survive in the jungle on his own.

Warrior — Tugg gets taken prisoner by a gang of drug runners, and eventually realizes that this isn’t a movie.  His fellow actors realize that Tugg’s in trouble and have to come up with a plan to rescue him.  

Martyr — Everyone is willing to risk everything for Tugg, Tugg’s willing to risk everything for his “son”, Tugg’s agent is willing to risk…no, I can’t give it away.  Basically, it’s an over-the-top Martyr Fest!

AND, IN THE END…

The purpose of this blog is not to review movies, but to examine if they work and then hold up their relative success or failure against the principles in TotallyWrite and Contour.

TROPIC THUNDER works like gangbusters structurally, a fact which can easily get lost because you’re either laughing out loud so often or your jaw has dropped against your chest in wonderment that they actually “went there.”

I’ve often heard not to make movies that are too “inside.”   It has something to do with people not really being too interested in peering behind the curtain into the entertainment they’re enjoying.  But TROPIC THUNDER is both inside and outside.  It makes fun of everything including celebrity adoptions, celebrity children’s books, agents, producers, directors, product placement, Oscar worthy roles about the mentally challenged; it’s both a satire about how actors feel about themselves and how we feel about them.

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4 Responses to “TROPIC THUNDER”

  1. André van Haren January 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm #

    Mmm… what about the other 2 Problems? Rebuilding his career is the professional one, right? Still wondering how important it is to have all 3 of them clearly stated, because mostly when the 2nd question is asked: “What’s he trying to accomplish? ” only the Professional Problem is stated.

    André

  2. André van Haren January 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm #

    Mmm… what about the other 2 Problems? Rebuilding his career is the professional one, right? Still wondering how important it is to have all 3 of them clearly stated, because mostly when the 2nd question is asked: “What’s he trying to accomplish? ” only the Professional Problem is stated.

    André

  3. Jeffrey Alan Schechter January 4, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    I love how you keep me honest!

    Okay, so Professional is “rebuild his career.” Personal is “be a leader to the group of actors.” Private is (I think) “Learn how to REALLY care about something other than himself.” He writes childrens books, he’s a spokesman for Save the Pandas, he wants to adopt a foreign toddler…but these are all things he does to show others that he cares deeply. It’s obvious that he doesn’t (that’s why he has trouble crying at the start of the film.) By the end of the film (**SPOILER ALERT**) he’s able to honestly and emotionally call Laz his friend.

  4. André van Haren January 4, 2009 at 2:11 pm #

    Thanks Jeffrey! Hope I’m not pushing you here! I love to dig into stories with your system. Looking forward to the next break down.

    André

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