Monday, August 25, 2008

Tropic Thunder Struck

If you are wondering if you should see Tropic Thunder, the new movie starring Ben Stiller, Robert Downey, Jr. and Jack Black, stop thinking about it and just go. Tropic Thunder is hilarious. This is one of those “Don’t Miss” movies.

It’s about a group of actors who are left in the jungles of Vietnam to film the one of the most authentic war movies ever. What we get is one of the funniest war movies ever.

Along the way they cross paths with a guerilla drug operation that puts them in real danger. When the real bullets fly, our heroes think it’s all just part of the production.

The main attraction of this movie is Robert Downey, Jr., who plays a method actor so committed to his roles that he has himself surgically pigmented black in order to play an African American soldier, and then never breaks character even when all hell breaks loose. Next to Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker in Dark Knight, this may be the best performance of the year.

Some people are kind of hit or miss with Ben Stiller. Don’t worry. It’s definitely a hit this time around. His shtick is just right for the past-his-prime action hero he plays. And Jack Black is the perfect compliment to his costars as a pudgy comedy star with a habit.

To be fair, the entire cast is great. I won’t spoil it for you, but there are a ton of cameos and surprise actors in this movie. Each one will make you smile, and a couple will have you flat out laughing out loud. You’ll know what I mean after you see it.

The bottom line is that there are laughs from start to finish, and many of them are belly laughs. If you want a couple of hours of fun and funny entertainment, Tropic Thunder is a very good investment. Just be sure you get to the theatre early, so you don’t miss the beginning of the film.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Movies I Always Watch: 2

I got home from a long day and looked forward to a couple of hours in front of the tube. That’s when I stumbled upon another one of those movies I always end up watching again and again. This time it was Independence Day, with Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Randy Quaid, Vivica A. Fox and about a million other well known actors. I knew that no matter what I else I found, I’d find myself flipping over every few minutes for some lighthearted alien invasion fun.

Then, as I surfed around I came across The Rock. Oh no. The Rock is the very movie that got this segment started in the first place. I simply can’t help but watch that silly, over the top masterpiece. Two of these kinds of movies at the same time, could this be a sign of the apocalypse? Is it like crossing the streams of the Ghostbuster’s proton packs? How do I handle this?

I’ll tell you how I handled it. I handled it similar to the way Superman handles all those simultaneous cries for help he hears from all over the world. I do the best I can. I flick back and forth. As soon as one movie hits a slow spot, I check in on the other. My thumb worked with a strength and dexterity worthy of the Man of Steel himself.

While I worked my clicker magic I discovered a new Iron Chef America was on as well. The stars really were aligning. That’s one of the best clicker shows ever. No need to watch from start to finish, but great to check in with at commercials. To my thumbs chagrin, I added it to the mix.

What a night. The only thing I had to be aware of was to not miss my favorite line in Independence Day. No, not “Welcome to Earth!” It’s when Randy Quaid flies his jet into the alien mother ship. “In the words of my generation, UP YOURS!!!”

Oh, one last thought in closing. Ghostbusters would definitely qualify as one of those movies I always watch. Thank God that wasn’t on tonight too. My poor thumb probably would have fallen off.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Starbucks Code

This morning I went to Starbucks to grab a cup of coffee. I forgot just how freaking annoying those places can be. I haven’t been to Starbucks in a while, so it took me a minute to remember their stupid Da Vinci Code of coffee sizes. I was spacing on what the hell a “large” was in Latin, Italian or whatever dialect that is.

Then, like Tom Hanks in the shadow of Sir Isaac Newton’s tomb, I deduced that “Venti” was the word for large. Triumphantly, I spoke the password and expected to gain access to this secret society of caffeine. Unfortunately, the cranky chick at the counter… I mean “Barista”, did not understand what I said so I had to repeat myself. It’s bad enough to have to say it once, but there was something about saying “Venti” a second time that really pissed me off. Now they are just messing with me. Ordering coffee should not be like playing Simon Sez.

I don’t know why we have to speak another language to order coffee at Starbucks. Maybe it’s more like The Da Vinci Code than we know. Perhaps Baristas are descendants of the Knights Templar, and they are protecting the secret of the Holy Grail. Except the Holy Grail wasn’t Mary Magdalene, it actually was a cup… of strong, over-priced coffee. It was a Venti with three squirts of vanilla syrup; one for each member of the Holy Trinity. Who knows? Maybe the Holy Grail had a cardboard sleeve around it to keep Christ’s hand insulated from the hot coffee. I wonder if Jesus had to use a sticker to cover the hole in the lid to keep the coffee from spitting out all over his hand on the way home.

This kind of thing doesn’t happen at Dunkin Donuts or Donut Delight. It’s much simpler. The only foreign language there is spoken by the employees, not the customers. And they will even add the cream and sugar for you. No need to contemplate if Sugar in the Raw is somehow healthier than the regular stuff. And I never have deal with moral dilemmas, like whether pouring a small portion of my coffee into the garbage to make room for milk is a sin or not.

Okay, maybe I am over reacting. I didn’t mean to get as angry as that crazy albino in the movie. Cut me some slack, I haven’t had my coffee yet.