I wish I could forget one of my most frightening Halloween memories. I was in college, and there were just no good parties to be found that night. One of my friends, Stephen, suggested to a group of us that we go see this new movie he'd heard was really good. "What's it called?" "Platoon." "What's it about?" "It's about the Vietnam War."
Okay, I thought. Always up for a good movie, and I did like history. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. For anyone who recalls this movie, it was the beginning of those violent, rated R, movies about guys bonding together under the worst conditions imaginable. I had nightmares for weeks.
I've been reading about Tropic Thunder for almost a year. A comedy about making a movie along the lines of Platoon? Ben Stiller at the helm? Robert Downey, Jr. playing an Aussie actor who goes through a procedure to become "black" for the role in this pretend movie? It was either going to be great, or completely awful. I was hoping for the former.
And that was what I got. I actually saw it twice. I laughed so hard I literally cried. The movie pokes fun at the most ridiculous aspects of the Hollywood movie industry, and yet still finds some humanity in the midst of insanity. Robert Downey, Jr. was beyond hysterical. He was the ultimate "Russell Crowe" method actor. The man can take a big risk and make it work. And as much as I loved the movie, the "previews" and "commercials" from the big name actors in the fake movie at the actual beginning of the movie were really the icing on the cake.
Not a movie for everyone - still lots of violence and certainly some crude humor. But I can say I found some redemption from that nightmarish Halloween over 20 years ago.
My grade - B+