Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Suffering greatly . . .

Due to the Olympics, I've had no time in the past few days to indulge in books or DVDs. Oh, how I'm suffering, but I figure the Olympics only come around every four years, and my book/DVD pile never seems to diminish, no matter how hard I work on it. I was happy to see Great Britain win the gold medal in women's cycling.

Last night I went to another sneak preview film, this time Tropic Thunder, the new Ben Stiller/Robert Downey, Jr. movie. The film is about a group of spoiled, self-absorbed actors who are filming a war movie in Viet Nam. When their director, played by Steve Coogan, is killed, the actors continue on, unaware that not everything happening is part of the script. Robert Downey, Jr. has the most interesting role, that of an Australian actor playing an African-American soldier. He must constantly remain "in character", much to the annoyance of his fellow actors. The most annoying this is that his chosen "accent" is extremely difficult to understand. Subtitles would have helped! I'm also not generally a Tom Cruise fan, but he turns in an excellent performance as a rude and crude movie producer. He's unrecognizable at first, but as his scenes get longer, he's easier to spot. His dance moves over the final credits prove he's still got the "Risky Business" moves down! The most disappointing thing about the film is that it seems to go out of its way to avoid offending African-Americans and gays (as well it should), but shows no such compunction about ridiculing disabled or obese people. Those two groups, it seems, are still ripe for mockery. Those scenes aren't hilarious. The rest of the film, however, is amusing, although the people taking the tickets were telling patrons the film's rating was a "strong R", and they were checking ages at the door. I'd never seen that happen before.

Happily, I am making another visit to Botswana to visit the charming Mma Ramotswe in the audio book version of The Miracle at Speedy Motors. It's turning out to be as sweet and heartwarming as all the other books in the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series.

Final Verdict for Tropic Thunder: Two Gherkins, for some funny bits (and a Brit-connection in Steve Coogan), but unnecessary belittling of certain groups

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