Tropic Thunder
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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Tropic Thunder can be found here.

No. Tropic Thunder is based on an idea from comedian Ben Stiller, who also directed, co-produced, and stars in the film. It was adapted for the screen by screenwriters Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen. It's said that Stiller got the idea for Tropic Thunder while he was shooting Empire of the Sun (1987) and became aware of how "self-important" some actors considered themselves to be when they were attending fake boot camps in order to prepare for war film roles. Tropic Thunder is meant to be a satire of other Vietnam War films, including Platoon (1986), Apocalypse Now (1979), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Hamburger Hill (1987), and The Deer Hunter (1978). The connection to Apocalypse Now is significant because that film ran into delays, budgetary problems, and went well over it's intended production time while director Francis Ford Coppola shot it in the Philippines. The troubled production of Apocalypse Now has been much-written about and analyzed and was the subject of a documentary, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, produced by Coppola's wife, Eleanor.

Yes, most are a combination of celebrities who have been known for one or more of the flaws that many of the movie characters have. Tug Speedman has been called a younger Sylvester Stallone, Vin Diesel, Steven Segal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Wesley Snipes. Jeff "Fatts" Portnoy is likened mostly to Eddie Murphy but also to Chris Farley, Martin Lawrence, Tim Allen, Tom Arnold, and, to a lesser extent, it's a slight poke at Robert Downey Jr. with the references to the character's repeated drug arrests. Kirk Lazarus is likened to Colin Farrell, Daniel Day-Lewis, Heath Ledger, Russell Crowe, Robert Downey Jr. himself, Christian Bale, and Marlon Brando. With regard to Alpa Chino, take your pick of rapper-turned-actors. He's mainly a combination of Snoop Dogg, Will Smith and Lil' Jon in regards to Snoop Dogg putting his name on everything, Will Smith taking on a major film role to help boost his record/product sales and Lil' Jon having his own energy drink. Finally, Les Grossman has been likened to Hollywood producer Scott Rudin and also to Harvey Weinstein. Also Four Leaf Tayback seems to be inspired in part by authors Dick Marcinko and Tom Clancy.

In late 1800s and early 1900s Vaudeville Theaters made common practice of employing white actors to portray black characters in Minstrel Shows (an entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, which viciously lampooned blacks in disparaging ways, i.e. ignorant, lazy, buffoonish, superstitious, joyous, and musical). The actors would paint their face using shoe polish or grease paint and play into the stereotypes of the time. After the Civil War, African-Americans began to appear in "blackface", forming a number of Black-only Minstrel troops that rivaled the popularity of the early White performers. This practice continued in early cinema and has been variously viewed as ranging from "comedic" to "racial stereotyping".

Sort of. There is a drug called methoxsalen, marketed under the trade name Oxsoralen that can be used in this way. Author John Howard Griffin used it, in conjunction with spending up to fifteen hours daily under an ultraviolet lamp, to darken his skin in order to investigate racial segregation in the south. He also used dye to cover the parts of his skin that were uneven. Griffin's experience is detailed in the non-fiction book Black Like Me (1961). Journalist Grace Halsell did the same, resulting in a book Soul Sister: The Journal of a White Woman Who Turned Herself Black and Went to Live and Work in Harlem and Mississippi (1969). Prior even to Griffin and Halsell, a journalist for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette named Ray Sprigle attempted to do the same in 1947. This was before the advent of methoxsalen, so Sprigle attempted to deepen his skin color with walnut dye and iodine but eventually ended up suntanning himself darkly. In the movie, however, the process Kirk Lazarus Robert Downey Jr. uses is referred to in dialogue as a surgical procedure. At the end of the film, he removes his contact lenses and fake facial hair in the enemy camp, and later appears at the Oscars with his normal skin tone.

Just one: Damian Cockburn, who steps on an old landmine & is blown to pieces. In the movie-within-the-movie that they were filming at the beginning, however, Sandusky's character gets horribly disemboweled, a fellow soldier gets shot in the head, and in the director's cut, a helicopter gunner gets hit with a large piece of shrapnel. Aside from this, countless Vietcong soldiers get shot down.

"Sometimes When We Touch", a late 70s hit by Dan Hill.

Before the actual movie begins, there are four fake trailers to introduce some of the main characters. They are as follows:

(1) an advertisement for Alpa Chino's Booty Sweat Energy Drink and Bust-A-Nut Energy Bars featuring Alpa Chino's hit single "I Love The Pussy",

(2) a trailer for Universal Pictures' upcoming film Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown, once again starring Tugg Speedman in the lead role. This trailer parodies those of typical summer action blockbuster franchises.

(3) a trailer for New Line Cinema's The Fatties: Fart 2, again starring Jeff Portnoy as America's favorite obese family (the trailer is footage of Jeff Portnoys breaking flatulence excessively in a French restaurant). This trailer is a hybrid parody of The Nutty Professor, in which Eddie Murphy portrayed every member of the core family, as well as Terrence & Phillip from South Park, who's soul running joke is farting.

(4) a trailer for Fox Searchlight's Satan's Alley, a Brokeback Mountain spoof starring five time Academy Award winner Kirk Lazarus and MTV Movie Award's Best Kiss winner Tobey Maguire as two gay medieval monks. The film was winner of the Beijing Film Festival's coverted Crying Monkey Award.

There is no scene at the end of the credits, however, the scene at the end that carries over INTO the credits, is the only one.

Many people are calling this movie ironic for the fact that it is a satirical film, which is making fun of actors who are only taking on roles in films in order to win awards, mainly the Academy Award. (Such as Tug Speedman taking on the role of Simple Jack, hoping to win an Oscar, and Kirk Lazarus getting plastic surgery in order to play the role of Lincoln Osiris.) The irony however, is that actual Oscar buzz surrounded Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal as Kirk Lazarus, and he in fact ended up receiving a nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category. There was even buzz about Tom Cruise's minor role as Les Grossman after he received a Golden Globe nomination, though an Oscar nomination did not happen.

"For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield = This plays in the opening of the green-band trailer when it first plays out like a serious war movie.

"Gimme Some Lovin'" by Spencer Davis Group = This plays in both the green and red band trailers when the three main characters are being introduced as "The Action Guy", The Award Winner", etc.

"Name of the Game (Clean Name)" by The Crystal Method = This plays in both the green and red band trailers when the writer (Nick Nolte) tells Damian (the director - Steve Coogan) to put the actors "in the trees" ("in the shit", in the red band trailer)

"Sympathy For The Devil" by The Rolling Stones = This plays (but is cut short) while the main characters travel through the jungle.

"War" by Edwin Starr = This plays in both the green band and red band trailers after the Vietnamese soldier spots the actors, thinking they're spies.

"Awaking The Dragon" (aka "Sleeping With The Dragon") by RipTide Music = This is the "epic action movie trailer" music that plays when the trailer begins listing off the names of the three lead actors.

The theatrical version of "Tropic Thunder" got rated R by the MPAA. This version was later released on DVD as well as an Unrated Director's Cut. The Director's Cut runs more than 17 minutes longer than the theatrical cut and adds more story, dialogue and action to the film. A detailed comparison between both versions can be found here.


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