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YMMV / Tropic Thunder

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  • Award Snub: The scene-stealing performance of Tom Cruise as Les Grossman never even got a mention at the Oscars.
  • Comedy Ghetto: Averted. Robert Downey Jr.. got an Oscar nomination for his performance, and both he and Tom Cruise also got Golden Globe nominations.
  • Critical Research Failure: The "full retard" speech has one — Peter Sellers didn't win the Oscar for Being There, as he lost to Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer. Apparently the filmmakers got wind of the mistake, since the relevant lines are not in the director's cut.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • The script called for Tran's tattoo on his chest to be of a "flaming dragon raping a monkey, raping a skull, raping a rat."
    • All of the mock commercials. In particular, Alpa's "Booty Sweat" energy drink and Portnoy's Fatties film series, which appears to be basically an endless succession of fart jokes.
    • Just the whole idea of Kirk Lazarus and his style of Method Acting. A white American actor playing a black man is horribly offensive and outdated.... But a white American actor playing a white Australian actor going full-on as a black American is some kind of twisted genius. And it's taken further when he later masquerades as an Asian.
    • Les Grossman lives and breathes this trope and every other sentence that comes out of his mouth is either criminally intimidating or outrageously offensive, often both. He gets away with it because he's just so over-the-top hilarious.
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    • Damien Cockburn stepping on a landmine and blowing up? Shocking. Speedman picking up his head and playing with it, with members of Flaming Dragon saying that the actors appear to have no fear of death when watching that happen? Hilarious in the wrongest of ways.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Les Grossman. A foul-mouthed, greedy jerkass executive producer who leaves one of his actors to die at the hands of a gang, yet became so popular and beloved that he will even get to be the focus of a possible sequel!
  • Ear Worm:
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Tom Cruise's character surprisingly steals the entire movie as the most badass producer ever filmed. It's pretty damn hard to top a rant like the "FUCK YOUR OWN FACE!!!" speech. Even more hilarious is the guy's expression on the other side of the telephone.
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  • Fountain of Memes: Les Grossman and Kirk Lazarus.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The song that plays while Lazarus and Maguire suggestively fondle each other's rosaries and react to each other is no generic techno track. It's "Sadeness (Part 1)" by Enigma, a chart-topping single from 1990. Its use is no coincidence: The song, in French with Gregorian chants in Latin, criticizes the sexual and religious views of the legendary Marquis de Sade, the Anything That Moves French nobleman known as a figure of The French Revolution for his utterly pornographic and blasphemous works. When he wasn't screwing everything with a hole in it — or in some cases making holes for himself to screw — he was blaspheming against the Catholic Church. Far from being generic, the choice of music had to be deliberate.
    • Blackface in Australia has never been considered as offensive in Australia as it is in America, and as late as 2009 would occasionally show up (used ironically) on network television. Bearing that in mind, Kirk Lazarus — an Australian man — not seeing a problem with performing an entire film as an African American is surprisingly accurate.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Cruise's cameo as Les Grossman is hilarious. Then you remember his notoriously close relationship with Scientology leader David Miscavige, who has been accused of such behavior with a side of assault on his own underlings. And Cruise has been accused of copying that behavior.
    • While being a film producer with a temper could be a reference to any film producer (and Word of God is that he's specifically a parody of Stuart Cornfeld, one of this film's producers and a frequent collaborator with Ben Stiller), Les Grossman comes across uncannily like Harvey Weinstein due to a similar physical appearance (being balding, overweight, and having a scraggy beard), reputation for producing Oscar-winning movies, and abrasive attitude. Then the 2017 sexual harassment cases happened. Combining that with Harvey's tendency to edit films without the approval of their directors, Grossman comes off as the NICE version of Weinstein.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Less than two years after Tropic Thunder was released, the very white Gérard Depardieu was cast to play the author Alexandre Dumas (who had an African grandparent and was known to his friends as "Le Negre") in a biopic. Sure enough, they added a fair bit of makeup to him.
    • The "full retard" speech is hilarious for the fact that Penn won a Oscar (albeit not for a handicapped person, but still) the same year the film was released. And also that Robert Downey Jr.. himself got a nomination for his role in this film.
    • The "full retard" speech is also hilarious in that RDJ also immediately went on to make a movie where he played a character trying to nurture an Inspirationally Disadvantaged cellist in The Cellist.
    • "Everyone's gay once in a while! This is Hollywood!". Tom Hardy apparently shares this opinion.
    • The "I'm a dude" line (again by RDJ's character) ends up as this thanks to two of his subsequent roles: first was his "stealthy" pursuit (fake nose and all) in Sherlock Holmes, and second was with the reveal of Iron Man's Hulkbuster armor in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
    • The "Satan's Alley" trailer, where Downey's character carries an illicit relationship with a character played by Tobey Maguire, best known for his portrayal of Spider-Man in the Spider-Man Trilogy, is even funnier after Captain America: Civil War had Downey's character Iron Man acting as a mentor to Spider-Man (albeit with the latter having changed actors).
    • A small one as the film is distributed by DreamWorks and stars both Jack Black and Jay Baruchel, both of whom went on to voice the main character in two of DreamWorks most successful animated franchises, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.
    • Cody mentions having almost blinded Jamie Lee Curtis during the filming of Freaky Friday (2003). Danny McBride is now working with her in Halloween (2018)
  • Love to Hate: Les Grossman. How could you not love a loud-mouthed, hammy asshole played by no other than Tom Cruise?
  • Magnificent Bastard: Les Grossman, which is summed up at the end: "Eight Oscars, $400 million dollars, and you saved Tugg Speedman's career."
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "You just went full retard, man. Never go full retard," and by extension, the use of "Never go full X," (example: "Never go full Umbrella Corporation") snowclones.
    • "I KNOW WHO I AM! I'm a dude playin' a dude disguised as another dude!"
    • "What do you mean, 'you people?'" "What do you mean, 'you people?'"
  • Nausea Fuel: Speedman playing with Cockburn's head. Literally.
    Tugg: [regarding Cockburn's blood, which he thinks is fake] It's CORN SYRUP! ...Warm... blood-flavored... corn syrup.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Peck's secretary, glimpsed for only a second as he blocks her out of his call with Tugg, is played by Yvette Nicole Brown of Community.
  • Values Dissonance: One of the fastest examples ever; while the accusations that the film was mocking mentally handicapped people were generally misplaced, the furore created by the whole thing is credited in having played a big part in rapidly propelling the word "retard" from being commonly used as a synonym for "dumb" to being considered an extremely offensive term on par with most racial or homophobic insults. About the only reason why it's still considered even vaguely acceptable to quote the "full retard" speech these days is due to a combination of Grandfather Clause, the fact that the scene actually is parodying the attitude many actors take towards Oscar Bait roles, and that the speech Crosses the Line Twice.
  • Values Resonance: Alpa Cino's outrage at Kirk Lazarus' dated and offensive impersonation of an African American is more relevant today than it was on release given how much discussion there has been around whitewashing in the New Tens.
  • Win Back the Crowd:


Example of: