Screen Junkies » Tropic Thunder Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Wed, 17 Sep 2014 22:16:30 +0000 en hourly 1 The 7 Greatest War Movie Ensembles Tue, 19 Feb 2013 17:03:26 +0000 Penn Collins War's always more fun in a group.

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While many films follow the journey and trials of a single person, or a couple people, war films almost always seem to run the other direction, chronicling the lives of a group of men, no matter how disparate, who must all get through this thing together. Sometimes the story sticks to the action aspects, sometimes it focuses on the people or group, but individuals rarely go to war alone. So, in honor of Company of Heroes—and its own kickass crew, including Vinnie Jones, Neal McDonough and Tom Sizemore—dropping on Blu-ray™ and DVD on February 26th, we’ve compiled this list of the best war movie ensembles. Ten-hut!

The Dirty Dozen

There’s nothing not to like about the premise of The Dirty Dozen and its characters. A major is tasked with assembling a small group of felon-soldiers and having them infiltrate a stronghold chateau. These guys are underdogs, misfits, and patriots. It’s like a much bloodier version of the Bad News Bears. While the ensemble has Telly Savalas, Charles Bronson, and Donald Sutherland, the real standout here is the gruff and no-nonsense Jim Brown, who was one of the first big names to make his way from the world of sports to the world of film. He’s tough enough that it never seems like acting, which I guess made his job very easy for him.

The Wild Geese

This one may not resonate in the same fashion as the American films, but just because these soldiers are largely English, Irish and South African doesn’t mean they kick any less ass. Bonus points to this film for shifting the venue away from the more familiar WWII settings and pitting them against forces of a military coup on the verge of executing the nation’s leader. As the heroes breach the facility, they silently take out the sentries with cyanide-tipped arrows and cyanide gas. Awesome? Awesome.

Das Boot

The characters in submarine films better be pretty damn compelling and likable, because the audience is going to be in close quarters with these guys for 90 minutes, so the irritation factor could be high. Fortunately, Wolfgang Petersen is able to ratchet up the drama fast and furiously. Further, the story is told through a military journalist, rather than through an omniscient or brutally unreliable soldier narrator. Oh yeah…all the guys on the boats are Nazis, which may not make them the most likable lot, but their plight is very relatable, and you’re able to forget that these are the bad guys, which is a testament to not only the story but the performances of the actors.

Inglourious Basterds

I held out as long as I could. The basterds are a group of largely Jewish soldiers who take their Nazi-hunting to a very personal level, using brutal tactics to not only weaken German manpower but also create bad PR that weakens the resolve of the German war machine. These tactics include baseball bat assaults from the Bear Jew, frequent scalpings, and… STIGLITZ. They don’t all find their way home, but their cause is a noble one. So let’s celebrate that.

Tropic Thunder

The guys in Tropic Thunder don’t come out of the gate as hardened soldiers but rather mismatched, hilariously idiosyncratic actors. But by the time the story ends, adversity has been faced and the good guys win, it’s hard to view them as actors in retrospect, even with such hilarious intermittent fare as Simple Jack. Just like with real soldiers, the madness of war takes its toll, in a thinly veiled spoof of the true story of shooting Apocalypse Now. It’s silly and slapstick-y, but the action sequences are quite legit, and the audience walks away learning that not only is war hell, but movie shoots about war can be hell as well.

Three Kings

As mentioned above, war can be hell because of the brutality, but in the case of high-tech battles of recent memory, war can also be hellishly boring, like a high school chem class. Three Kings uses four everymen to document exactly how rote and boring even life on the front lines can be as we see Spike Jonze, Ice Cube, Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney wrestle with their consciences as they’re torn between doing the right thing and getting really, really rich. They don’t set out to be heroes. Quite the opposite, actually. But they find their way after finally seeing the ravages of war.

Saving Private Ryan

Men rarely go to war alone, unless you’re John Rambo. So it’s no surprise that we more often see the ravages of war on groups of men, rather than individuals. Sure, they all cope their own way, but to see a group deteriorate or overcome collectively is part of the mystique of men in battle. Saving Private Ryan frames the journey of a group of men as they search for one man. The metaphor is hardly subtle, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. We see a medic, a schoolteacher, a translator, a hard-ass, another hard-ass and a regular Joe from Brooklyn all trek across Europe in the search for a lost soul in war. It’s beautifully done, and one of few films that’s really long because it needs to be, not because it wants to be.

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11 Best Movies Within Movies Thu, 01 Mar 2012 20:17:20 +0000 Wookie Johnson I'd buy a ticket to any of these.

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What do you do when you have a movie concept that’s totally stupid and Brett Ratner‘s not available to direct it? You film a short scene from it and dub it satire by sticking it in the film you’re currently working on. Over the years, Hollywood has had fun at its own expense by exaggerating the cliches and tropes for which it is well known.

Here are 11 movies from other movies that I would pay full price for.

Simple Jack (Tropic Thunder)

In the hopes of winning an Oscar, Tropic Thunder’s Tugg Speedman goes a bit overboard in his portrayal of a mentally-retarded adult. Having not received the guidance of never going “full retard,” he put it all out there and doomed his career in the process.

Choice Line: Goodbye Momma. Now you can eat ice cream in Heaven.

You Just Don’t Exist (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World)

Chris Evans steals the show as Lucas Lee, the self-serious action star who Michael Cera must square off against. Just check out this scene from You Just Don’t Exist. Dude is not messing around.

Choice Line: The next click you hear is me hanging up. The one after that… is me pulling the trigger!

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In Honor Of ‘Occupy Wall Street’: 9 Films That Were Protested Tue, 11 Oct 2011 20:17:55 +0000 Wookie Johnson Haters gonna hate.

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With Occupy Wall Street protestors now in their fourth week of not showering, things are starting to smell funky. As such, we thought it was a good time to look at some movies caused a stink when they were released, garnering protesters of their own.

Film has the potential to be a dangerous medium. If a certain portrayal is convincing enough, it can cement false stereotypes in the minds of viewers. For example, the idea that all Arabs are terrorists or that electric cars prefer the exclusive company of homosexuals. That’s why religious and social watchdog groups are quick to protest movies that offend their sensibilities. Here are nine examples.

Tropic Thunder

Designed to be risque, the comedy Tropic Thunder was protested and boycotted by advocates for people with intellectual disabilities.  Taking aim at dramas where the leads portray the mentally handicapped, the satire showed Ben Stiller‘s character as an actor trying to take a dramatic turn in the film within the film, Simple Jack. Problems arose from the film’s liberal use of the word “retard.” Oddly enough, no one was really rubbed the wrong way by Robert Downey Jr.‘s performance in black face.

The Siege

Though they missed the point of the film, Arab American groups were upset by the plot of The Siege. The Council On American-Islamic Relations felt the film’s portrayal of Muslims and Arabs as terrorists was dangerous in the sense that it would impress that belief upon American audiences. Director Edward Zwick refused to edit the material which was actually a plee for racial tolerance and condemnation of the use of martial law.

Silent Night, Deadly Night

The success of Halloween led to an overabundance of holiday-themed slasher films. But you just don’t mess with Santa. The public assembled outside of theaters screening Silent Night, Deadly Night and threatened to boycott newspapers that carried ads for the film. Hollywood got the message and eased up the holiday-centric fare. Otherwise, the plot of Groundhog’s Day would have been radically different.

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Paramount Serious Enough About ‘Les Grossman Movie’ To Hire A Writer Mon, 11 Apr 2011 21:02:43 +0000 Wookie Johnson Note to Paramount: you could also earn millions by NOT making this movie.

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Seems like the people at Paramount really aren’t joking with us about the Les Grossman movie they claim to be developing. MTV caught up with Bill Hader at the Comedy Awards and he filled in a few details. Please note, the detail of ‘Why the Hell are they making a Les Grossman movie?’ did not come up.

Hader revealed that the script is finished and was written by his buddy Michael Bacall (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Fright Night).

“I just know the broad strokes. Michael just telling me, ‘I just wrote this scene where blah, blah, blah and I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s funny, man! It’s gonna be great.”

I still refuse to believe that this movie is actually happening. It’s an elaborate Punk’ding. I just know it. A) the character grew thin (not literally) before the credits rolled on Tropic Thunder. B) Tom Cruise isn’t going to spend four hours getting into a fat suit every morning for two months. C) Did we learn nothing from The Love Guru?

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