Tropic Thunder is this summer's alleged bust-out hilarious Hollywood lampoon the same way America's Sweethearts was several years ago. I'll concede that Tropic Thunder is funnier than America's Sweethearts - it's rawer and more raucous, and the stars involved are willing to go somewhat farther in skewering themselves and their colleagues. But is it really this poison arrow straight into the heart of Hollywood egomania? It's an arrow, just not a poison one - into the spleen maybe or perhaps a kidney. It leaves the heart entirely intact and that's kind of my issue with it. The film's not saying, "Hollywood is filled with ego-driven assholes who only care about profits and perks and landing primo tail;" it's saying, "Hollywood is filled with people who seem like ego-driven assholes who only care about blabbity-blah but underneath they're really good people who care about each other and isn't it lovely that we can all laugh at ourselves?" Like an actor in a fake fight, Tropic Thunder winds up big and showy but pulls its punch at the last second. I don't really blame Ben Stiller for it either. You think he wants to alienate the people he may one day need to bankroll Zoolander 2? Of course not. He wants to make fun of them but he also wants to flatter them. He knows how to invite them in on the joke - he gives them a chance to show what sports they are, then pats them on the back for having big hearts inside their puffed-up chests.
I could respect the movie more if it seemed like a real sucker-punch - if it seemed to dish all sorts of dirt - but the targets are really just the same old targets: dimwitted action stars trying to "stretch;" crazy Oscar-winning thespians all full of pretension; nutmunch directors and ass-kissing agents and hairy studio bosses with no souls. The story takes us to Vietnam where a group of Hollywood heavyweights are shooting a war movie based on a best-selling real-life 'Nam War account: Stiller plays Tugg Speedman the washed-up action hero, who is trying to rekindle his career by playing a "serious" role opposite the absurdly acclaimed and self-important Aussie Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey, Jr.). Lazarus has already played everything, including Neil Armstrong and a homosexual medieval monk - so there's nothing left but to surgically change himself into a black man (of course). There's also a fat strung-out comedian named Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) who has made a name for himself with an Eddie Murphy multiple-role routine that is just an excuse for rampant flatulence (as if one needed an excuse). The director, Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan), is a stage guy who's in over his head on this huge mega-production. Having no idea how to get decent performances out of his absurd cast, Cockburn takes the advice of the book's writer, Four Leaf Tayback (Nick Nolte), a grizzled Vietnam vet who convinces him to drag his pampered cast into the real jungle and shoot the movie guerrilla-style. Here's where the premise begins straining itself: Cockburn exits the scene prematurely, leaving his actors stranded in the jungle and surrounded by heroin growers who think they're DEA agents. The actors have to become "real soldiers" to survive, but of course they're prissy and spoiled and disaster soon befalls them. This is the setting for what is ostensibly a scathing attack-job on show biz and all its foibles.
There's nothing especially wrong with squeezing these particular zits all over again - except that there's a big-ass tumor that needs ripping out, and no one quite has the guts to go in and get it. Fine - I'll accept Tropic Thunder on its own somewhat cowardly terms. I'll talk about how amusing Ben Stiller is as the Tom Cruise-type action star whose big Oscar-grab retard performance fizzled, who's now trying to prove himself by playing a war hero in a giant prestigious epic that's not even a sequel. Stiller is the master of ingratiatingly half-mean performances. He plays stupid in a smart way that never seems condescending and never makes you say, "Yeah, but he's letting some smarts squirt out so we'll know he's only pretending." He knows we know he's only pretending - plus there's something about his face that makes him uniquely qualified to play likable vapidness (he looks degenerate and monkeyish). And did I mention the bold move of actually casting Tom Cruise in a movie that partially lampoons Tom himself? Tom plays the evil movie mogul Les Grossman (Jewish name, but nary a hint of Jewish stereotyping). Tom may be trying to send up every fat, bald, evil bastard he's ever met, but mostly he's just milking the idea of himself in such a role. And the movie milks the same idea too. The actual performance is blah. Tom curses a lot and does an awkward hip-hop dance, but nothing he does is actually funny by itself, and Grossman never emerges as the sharp satiric sketch he might've been in the hands of a real actor.
I called the Cruise casting a "bold" move, but I was being sarcastic. It might've been bold had Stiller's performance really targeted Cruise, but it only does so vaguely - Stiller and company don't have the balls to get into Scientology madness and gay rumors and all that other Cruisian stuff. It soft-pedals; and there are other seemingly great ideas that never come together either. Take Robert Downey, Jr. as Lazarus, the Australian artiste attempting the insane stunt of transforming himself into a brother. Downey is funny with his low voice and jive-talk, but the joke is supposed to be how offended the one real black guy in the cast is at the outrageousness of a white man stealing the role he should've gotten. Here is the stuff of wild, boundary-pushing comedy right? In a gutsier movie, yes - in this one? A mild poke at the PC crowd is all we get. Of course the other black guy, a rapper named Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson), is smarter than the preening ghetto travesty he plays in his commercials hawking a soda called Booty Sweat. No attempt is made to burst the balloon of a hip-hop culture that's grown as full of itself as white-dominated Hollywood ever was. Truth is, the movie doesn't seem sure what to do with Alpa - once you get past the name and a couple of okay exchanges with Lazarus, all that's left is a lame tip-toe job around and away from anything that might genuinely offend anyone (He's gay? Really? Gosh...).
The sad truth, movie-going public, is that political correctness has denutted even our politically incorrect movies. Stiller gets laughs as a bad actor pretending to be mentally challenged, but the blow is cushioned because, as Stiller has taken pains to point out, the joke isn't on retarded people at all, it's on actors who think they can win awards for playing retarded people. The film-within-a-film premise is not some great crackling comedic dynamo ready to send off sparks but a kind of dampening device. There's no racial humor - there's humor about the idea of racial humor. The only way to be mildly risque in a big Hollywood movie, apparently, is to come at everything from a safe angle, throwing off a reflection that to some people looks sharper and harsher than it is. It's done with mirrors. It's not as cute and narcissistic and limp as America's Sweethearts, but neither is it the grenade in the tailpipe of Hollywood some have tried to portray it as. It's barely more diverting than the crass, bloated extravaganzas it wants to score points off of, and many of its big laughs come from routines scarcely less debased than the gross ass-obsessed antics of Portnoy the fart-king (when in doubt go low and swear a lot). Hollywood should stick to making Batman movies and leave the satire to South Park.
This weekend I had occasion to see the anti-Iraq satire War, Inc. starring John Cusack and Marisa Tomei. Some funny stuff, a little William Klein-esque but with much more heart than Klein, some chintzy staging creating a semi-surreal quality that may have been intentional. Not a bad film as those things go. There was one element that really took me aback though - the performance of Hilary Duff. She plays a girl named Yonica Babyyeah, a Middle Eastern Britney Spears who prances and tarts it up but is actually a scared, confused little mess underneath the make-up and poses. Cusack plays a government hit man posing as a trade show producer; Yonica tries to seduce him but her efforts only make him ill, then he discovers her sensitive side and it clicks home that she's his path to redemption and all that jazz. Anyway, I was surprised at how good Duff was in some of the emotional scenes. I was also shocked at one point to realize that I had just watched Hilary Duff stick a scorpion down her pants and tell a guy to reach down and retrieve it. They grow up so fast. Anyhoo, Hilary Duff just moved a notch ahead of the other frivolous little starlets in my mind. There's talent there.
There's the first clear picture of Halle Berry's kid Simba (or whatever). I count ten fingers and ten toes. A fine-looking specimen of babyhood all around. So you can stop secretly wishing for the kid to be deformed or ugly or whatever. Yeah, you know some of you were. Sadistic fuckers out there.
Alec Baldwin refuses to let the whole Kim Basinger thing rest. "Think I'm walking stiffly?" he said to a reporter interviewing him for the New Yorker. "Yeah, there's a 120-pound actress on my back." Baldwin then spoke of Basinger's systematic efforts to alienate him from their daughter Ireland:
Parental alienation is about people who narcissistically project their whole reality onto a child: "I don't need you, so the child doesn't need you." The goal of the alienating parent is to kill contiguous time. People need reliability. They need regularity. And I've been the victim of a campaign to kill all that. You wind up being more an uncle than a father.
A verbally abusive uncle in your case Alec. Kind of funny, you accusing anyone else of being narcissistic. Getting rid of you was the sanest thing Basinger ever did.
This is the kind of guy who's always buying me drinks. Except they don't ever look like George Clooney. More like George Wendt. I bet you didn't know I was actually an overweight 40-year-old woman. Jokes on you fuckers!!!
The Democratic Convention was a great place to hang out if you wanted to run into some stars. Place was lousy with them. And they're all going to be crying and bawling and screaming racism when Jug-Ears gets his scrawny ass handed to him by old man McCain in November. I can hardly wait.
John McCain's pick of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as running mate is a pure chess move. Let's try to grab some of those women who are pissed about Hillary Clinton getting snubbed by Obama. Let's get someone young and attractive to balance off McCain's old, grizzled image. Let's throw someone in there against Joe Biden who, when he beats on her in the debates, can sniffle a bit and make him look like a mean bully. The Republicans are not dumb, kids. That's why they have a great shot to still knock off Jug-Eared Jesus.
I'm still waiting for Alec Baldwin to announce that he'll move to France if John McCain becomes president. Of course it has nothing really to do with ideology or principle - it's all about winning. These bastards get mad because their guy loses which makes them feel like losers so they get all bitter and whiny and act like someone took their Mercedes away. I'm actually rooting for Obama to lose now just so I can watch the aftermath. All these Hollywood phonies screaming and yelling and saying the fix was in. Oh man, I'm gonna make a whole big honking bowl of popcorn and just park myself in front of CNN.
Orlando Bloom gives me a creepy vibe. I have a sneaking suspicion that if we knew what was really going on in this guy's life we'd all be revolted by it. He has snakes and spiders and all sorts of other creepy-crawlies in his head.
Lindsay Lohan's uncle Paul Sullivan has been given a year in jail for obtaining a small business loan by fraudulently claiming to have suffered losses after 9/11. Is there any question as to the nature of that whole family? What a bunch of con-artists and hustlers they are?
Angelina Jolie is being run ragged by the stresses of caring for newborn twins. "She's in tears up to three times a day and so tired that Brad's found her collapsed asleep in the bath twice," a source reports. "She's been working around the clock, breast-feeding the babies and trying to get them to sleep. But as soon as one of them drops off, the other wakes up for another feed. She's also not eating very much right now and blames that on being busy. The doctor says that she needs more calories to gain strength and ensure that her breast milk is healthy."
I don't think anything could ever make Angie's breast milk healthy - I'd rather suck milk straight out of a cow that had been mainlining rBGH. I suppose some people feel sorry for poor Angie but I don't. No one made her have two more kids. It's not like she's some poor, ignorant African who thinks condoms are the work of the devil. She's fully informed about her options and doesn't have weird superstitions or a domineering man forcing her legs open. Stupid bitch is just addicted to babies. She loves that feeling of someone being utterly dependent on her. Her twisted psyche needs that sort of helpless, clinging, uncomplicated love. So, no matter how much misery she suffers, she'll just keep pumping out more kids until her reproductive system is completely shot. And then she'll adopt more. It will never be enough for her and her gaping maw of a soul.
David Duchovny has checked into rehab to treat his serial fornication problem. "I have voluntarily entered a facility for the treatment of sex addiction," the actor said in a statement. "I ask for respect and privacy for my wife and children as we deal with this situation as a family." Translation: I am a disgusting adulterer, but instead of just owning up to this, I've elected to pretend it's all some kind of genetic predisposition and I'm just a helpless victim. Whimpering little candy-ass. Tea Leoni should take a butcher knife to his shaft.
A museum in Italy is displaying this statue of a crucified frog and for some reason the pope is pissed off about it. "[The statue] has offended the religious feelings of many people who consider the cross a symbol of God's love and of our redemption," the pontiff wrote in a letter to the president of the region where the museum is located. Art experts claim the statue is actually an ironic self-portrait of the man who created it, the late Martin Kippenberger. I just think it would be hilarious on top of a Christmas tree.
Michael Jackson goes to Planet Hollywood in his pajama bottoms. A great way to make people stop thinking about his child-molesting tendencies - wearing his PJs everywhere he goes. This guy's a fucking PR genius. Plus I see he's adopted Katie Holmes's taste in eyewear.
Hillary Clinton got into an over-crowded elevator Wednesday night after her husband Bill's big speech, and found herself stranded for five minutes when it got stuck between floors. Reports say things got "hectic" inside the stalled lift. Wow - it's like someone looked into my mind and ripped out my worst nightmare and made it real. Except I wasn't on the elevator with that bitch thank God.
Naomi Campbell's billionaire boyfriend Vladimir Doronin has laid out $18.5 million to buy her a penthouse in Sao Paolo, Brazil - this after Naomi fell in love with the country and told Vladimir she wanted to settle down there. Yeah, I can see where Naomi would dig a place like Sao Paolo. There are plenty of starving people to hire to do menial tasks for you, like lick the sweat off your face, and you can beat the shit out of them or even kill them and pretty much nothing will happen to you. I hope this Doronin is getting his money's worth.
Tara Reid has announced that she's coming out with her own clothing line, to be called "Mantra." "All the clothes will mean something," Tara explained. "Red shirts mean love, white is peace, green is for luck - you get the picture." What's the color for drunk off your ass?
I have to think Tara was joking about this - I refuse to believe anyone would actually lay out money for Tara Reid to have her own clothing line. And if someone actually did...well, there is just way too much money in the world. We need to start burning some of it to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.
Hilary Duff's father Bob has been ordered to jail for 10 days for contempt of court after violating an injunction against selling his assets. He must also pay into a court repository the $367,537 he reportedly earned for selling the stocks. The injunction was slapped on him because he's in the middle of divorcing Hilary's mom Susan. I'm amazed Hilary doesn't seem more messed up than she does considering what an obvious piece of shit situation she was born into. You'd think with so many crazy dirtbag genes floating around in her she'd be less, you know, boring.
Lindsay Lohan and her father Michael appeared to have reconciled there for about a minute, but now that's come to a crashing end, as Lindsay made clear by posting the following on her MySpace blog:
He has become a public embarrassment and a bully – to my family, my co-workers, my friends and a girl that means the world to me.
This in the wake of Michael's assertion that Lindsay was drinking again, and wasn't working, and it was all Samantha Ronson's fault. And then came the rumor that Sam was planning to write a tell-all, to which Michael responded:
Samantha is using my daughter. People never even knew who Samantha Ronson was until she met Lindsay. She was just some Los Angeles deejay. And now she's writing a book?
Lindsay came back at this by insisting that Sam "has not, and would never" sell her out. Okay Linds. So she had your permission to call the paps that night you were passed out in the front of her car?
She seems really concerned about your well-being there. But that was awhile ago now - you've grown closer since then. She would never sell you out now...for less than $50,000
I hate to ever admit that Michael Lohan is right, but this time, he's right. Sam Ronson is clearly a parasite. Unfortunately, so is Michael. Takes one to know one. Michael's not so much worried about Lindsay's heart being broken as he's concerned that he's not getting his piece of the pie anymore. I understand his anxiety but have to question his approach. If he wants to break them up, hectoring them in public is not the way to do it. Finesse is not in this guy's playbook.
Charlie Sheen's woman Brooke Mueller is knocked up. And yes, Charlie did the knocking up...I'll assume until the DNA test comes back. Brooke seems less crazy than Denise but then again I've never heard her speak or actually seen her except for pictures like this. She could be daffy as fuck for all I know. Apparently, genetically, crazy doesn't cancel crazy. Those kids of Charlie and Denise's are going to be batshit.
Remember when they used to have Christmas Specials? God, what a horrible thing to even remember. Thank goodness they put those things out to pasture. Otherwise J-Ho would've done one by now, and it would've looked just like that picture. A Very J-Ho Christmas, co-starring Marc Anthony, Andy Williams (cause he was in every damn Christmas Special ever), Kathie Lee Gifford and Rage Against the Machine.
I've got Kate Hudson in the Who Will John Mayer Fuck Next pool. After the Aniston debacle, Mayer will want to soften his image by having some pics taken with a kid. Unless he plans on kidnapping one or trying to pry Jennifer Garner away from Ben Affleck, I say he hooks up with Hudson.
Brad Pitt and George Clooney attended a fundraiser for some Darfur-related charity in Venice. Brad looks like he needed a little help negotiating the camera-line. Get him away from Angelina and he just becomes a wild man. All that pent-up rage...
Jennifer Aniston went to dinner with Woody Allen and Soon Yi at Madeo yesterday. I'd be worried about Woody making a pass at Jen but she's way past the sell-by date as far as that old perv is concerned. Of course, a guy like Woody would probably be good for Jen right now. She needs an older man after that immature putz John Mayer. Hey, Ernest Borgnine! If she can tear him away from his fuck-mags and his roll of Bounty.
Nobodies Michael Bolton and Nicollette Sheridan have decided to call off their engagement, which had been in place since March of 2006. See kids? That's how you do it. Give it time to see if you can really stand the person. Don't rush into anything. Now these two won't have to go through all that divorce and other nonsense. They can skip straight to the make-up sex.
A. She found out the hard way that your skull is not good for hammering tent spikes.
B. She let Ozzy put in her contact lens for her.
C. She said the wrong thing to Pixie Geldof.
D. She saw herself in the mirror, thought her head was a pimple and...
E. Someone finally gave the little cunt what was coming to her.
Lindsay Lohan seems to have gotten her life together and her husband Sam Ronson is getting most of the credit. The only person not buying this is Lindsay's father Michael who thinks Sam is anything but a good influence on Linds. "I’ve been up and down the road [in discussions] with my ex-wife [Dina] and it’s to the point now that I’m going to confront Samantha and Jenny Muro [Lindsay’s production assistant] myself," Michael revealed. Why? He thinks Lindsay is wasting her life with Ronson and that Sam has encouraged her to get back on the sauce. "Samantha drinks and passes the drinks under the table to Lindsay, and behind the scenes it gets worse and worse," Michael said. And here's the kicker: "Sam is using my daughter. My daughter isn’t working because she’s always with Sam. Even my ex-wife knows it. She just isn’t doing anything about it." Um, Mikey - maybe the reason Dina isn't "doing anything about it" is that Lindsay is over 21 and can fuck and drink with whoever the hell she pleases? What a psychotic meathead this guy is. You just know he prowls around in the bushes spying on Lindsay. Fuck sake dude, leave the girl alone. You had your turn at ruining her life - let someone else take over.
John Mayer went from pap-magnet to pap-repellent in about the time it took him to text Jennifer Aniston that it was over. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell John because he still thinks he's the shit. "He thinks he’s famous as Jen now," one snitchy pap said. "Last week he went to a party, tipped off the paps, and even had decoy cars at the ready when he was leaving. Nice, but no one bothered to follow them, which made John think he ‘lost’ everyone, when really no one bothered to follow him." The pap said pictures of John and Jen were selling for $20,000 at one point, but pics of Mayer alone now fetch around $200 each. How long before the hopeless attention-whore has snagged himself another pap-attracting Hollywood bitch? Kate Hudson anyone?
Pam Anderson can cake on all the make-up she wants - she can no longer hide the fact that she's an old, washed-up, fucked-out tramp. So what does she do now? Fall back on her talent? Yeah, that's a good one. Her sole talent was having breasts that jiggled as she ran down the beach in a bathing suit. Now the sun melts her face and her breasts keep exploding. She'll probably hook up with Tommy Lee and make another sex-tape. If she can rouse Tommy from his drug stupor long enough for him to shove his half-erect prick in what's left of her pussy.
The Venice Film Festival is about to start I guess - or maybe already has started, how the hell should I know. Anyway Brad is there with Maddox and Pax. Brad has that new Coen Brothers movie coming out, Burn After Reading, where he plays a hapless guy who flails his limbs around a lot. The only thing worse than Brad serious is Brad wacky. Remember 12 Monkeys? He got an Oscar nomination for that - cause he went cross-eyed and flipped everyone the bird for 2 hours. A kid with Down Syndrome could've given the exact same performance. But the Academy loves it when pretty people play ugly or dirty or crazy. They call this "playing against type." Even though the pretty people are all ugly, dirty maniacs underneath.
Warning!!! Turn the volume down on your speakers before hitting play on this video or your eardrums may begin spitting blood!!!
Demi Lovato wipes out while running around on-stage at a show in Chicago. Demi is Selena Gomez's friend and they rip Miley Cyrus. Or is she Miley's best friend and they rip Selena? I can't keep the Disney whores straight anymore. There are about a hundred of them and they all suck the Jonas Brothers' dicks.
Aniston's gonna plaster a fake smile on her face any time she sees a camera around. It could be some guy who's not even taking a picture of her - here comes the smile. Oh I'm so happy without John. Lalala. Wanna buy some Smart Water? How about a slightly-used diaphragm. Kill meeeeee!!!!
When did Russell Crowe turn into your sister's fat douchey boyfriend who insists on whipping out his guitar to butcher Little River Band tunes every time there's a family get-together? He drives a van full of tools that clunk around whenever you turn a corner. He uses his Marlboro miles to order shit in the mail. A fireproof sleeping bag!!!
How creepy would it be to go out for a midnight dip with your fiancee and find pictures of the thing splashed all over the place the next morning? That's Uma Thurman and her guy by the way. Yeah, the paps follow Uma Thurman around. I'm beginning to think there are way too many paps.
Stick figure Alessandra Ambrosio is trying to broker a deal with a celeb mag to run pictures of her new baby Anja Louise. Stick to selling pictures of your ass hon - that's the only part of you anyone cares about.
Martha Stewart has had not one but two close encounters with lightning bolts this summer. A white pine on her farm was hit early in the season, then a second bolt hit her Hamptons beach house and fried her electronic sprinkler system, stereo and driveway gate. "Thank goodness for a comprehensive home-insurance policy," Stewart commented. "And I'm just so grateful that the house didn't catch fire, causing much more major damage and heartbreak." I thought God had better aim than that.
Now the ocean is filled with dolphin and seal puke. Katie might want to look into sunscreen at some point. She's still not as unsightly as Minnie Driver.
You think a bunch of windmills would wreck your view...
Kate Hudson and her hair stylist David Babaii are being sued for allegedly stealing a secret hair care product formula from a company they were once involved with. The suit says Hudson and Babaii entered into a verbal agreement with 220 Laboratories to market some wacky volcanic ash based hair crap, but the second 220 gave them the formula, they ran off with it and shopped it around in search of a better deal. That's good business sense right there. Of course Hudson's reps are denying she even knew anything about the deal. Their statement:
Kate and her attorneys are only just learning of the complaint, as Kate has not yet been served. Kate does not know the plaintiffs and has never met with them or spoken with them. Her representatives believe that the claims are baseless and without merit and intend to vigorously defend the lawsuit.
Kate should figure out some way to milk this for publicity. Cause God knows she could use some. It also wouldn't hurt for her to make a halfway decent movie.
Extras who worked on the Tom Cruise thriller Valkyrie are threatening to sue the film's producers over injuries they suffered during the shoot. 11 actors claim they were thrown from a truck, with 10 of them suffering minor dings and one needing hospitalization for a major boo-boo. At least they didn't end up like poor Vic Morrow. John Landis still can't get work in Hollywood because of that fiasco. Come to think of it, neither can Tom.