Tropic Thunder Essay

1031 words - 4 pages

Stanton MurrayEnglish 205Professor CarltonI am choosing to write this paper on the movie Tropic Thunder, directed by Ben Stiller, starring Jack Black, Brandon T. Jackson and Robert Downey Jr. This dark comedy may be one of the worst movies ever made but I am a guy and most guys are drawn to movies that are riddled with stupid humor. The first time I watched this movie I was completely entertained, and did not consider the deeper message behind its flawed characters. However, when considering the themes proposed by this assignment, I realized that this ridiculous movie did in fact have deeper, relevant meaning.In summary, this picture takes place in Southeast Asia, where a cast and crew of successful Hollywood stars set out to make a movie about the Vietnam War. Unbeknown to the actors, the film's director, who was extremely unhappy with the movie's progress, plants the actors into and actual Vietnam war zone. The stars continue to act out their scenes completely unaware that they are in the mists of genuine drug lords and real gunfire. Upon assessment of the movie's characters, it becomes clear that the all three main actors are suffering from some type of identity crisis. Jack Black's character suffers from a severe drug addiction resulting from believing that he is appreciated solely for his acting abilities regardless his true self. Robert Downey Jr.'s identity crisis is manifested in his inability to value himself. His self-loathing motivates him to change his skin color from white to black, so that he can reinvent his persona. Self-identity, or rather a lack of, plays another crucial role in the movie's actor, Brandon T. Jackson, who portrays a character who struggles with the fact that he is a gay black man. He is a man depicted as a macho, rap artist who routinely seduces young women. In truth, Brandon's character is in love with a man named Lance and thus he hates himself for not living a genuine life. I chose the movie Tropic Thunder because it successfully and humorously interpreted the connection between a meager self-identity and its effects on addiction, self-loathing, and homosexuality.Jack Black's character is a typical addict who finds refuge in tainted "jellybeans" that allow him to escape reality. In truth, Jack's character is a lot like that the many young people who today who find relief and refuge in being high. Initially Jack's character cannot function without his drug and fully believes he is at his best when doped up. But when he is suddenly forced into the jungle, deprived of his stash, he suffers from withdrawal and eventually kicks his addiction. Removing Hollywood fantasy from this scenario, this is what I imagine all addicts hope to experience when they attend rehab. Withdrawal must be hellish but once sober, like Jack's character, rehab patients have to locate an inner strength. This strength will need to be relied upon when facing difficult circumstances. I realize that not every addict is successful at breaking...

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