Tropic Thunder [2008] [R] - 5.7.10

 
 

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ASSIGNED NUMBERS

Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
Profanity
1 to 10

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A group of pampered, spoiled actors (Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Brandon T. Jackson and Jay Baruchel) set out to make a big budget war movie. When their behavior angers the director and the studio head, the actors are dumped into the middle of the jungle to act out their scenes away from the trappings of celebrity. Through a series of mishaps the actors are forced to become real soldiers after all. Also with Steve Coogan, Tom Cruise and Nick Nolte. Directed by Ben Stiller. [1:47]

SEX/NUDITY 5 - A man tries to bribe another man by saying he would perform fellatio; he goes on to describe how he'd do it, using a crude metaphor. While arguing a man tells another one to perform fellatio (in crude terms). A man talks about a pornographic movie and a man talks about masturbating. A man talks about being in love with another man. A man talks about how a scrotum-less monkey could do another person's job. A man is in a harness and says that it is in "his crack." A man uses a sexual analogy to describe setting off movie explosives.
 A movie trailer shows a monk in love with another monk, one monk makes a suggestive gesture toward the other by licking his lips, and later we see them holding hands while the narrator talks about them being in love -- we hear a man in the background say, "I've been a bad, bad boy."
 Women at a party wear bikinis and are seen having alcohol poured on them while men are grabbing them. A commercial shows two women in very skimpy shorts dancing with their buttocks toward the camera and a man's face between the two of them; the man raps a song about a woman's vagina and sex (he's advertising a drink called "Booty Juice" and later a candy bar called "Bust A Nut" bar). A man dances with some sexually suggestive moves, including pantomiming smacking another person's buttocks and trying different sexual positions; the song he dances to talks about a stripper pole.
 A man stands nude on his balcony -- his private parts are blurred; we see his entire body, and then a dark pixilated section around his genitals. A man is shown in his underwear in several scenes. A woman wears a low-cut top that reveals cleavage. Women wear low-cut dresses that reveal cleavage at a party. A woman wears a short top that exposes her bare abdomen.
 Two men slap another man on the buttocks (it's more of a sports slap than a sexual one).

VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - An actor is stabbed in the stomach and we see his insides spilling out as he says he can put them back in. A man steps on a bomb and is blown up (we see body parts flying everywhere); another man picks up the severed head, plays with it and licks the bloody parts (we see tissue and blood coming from the severed head).
 A man is shot repeatedly and we see blood and tissue. As part of a movie role, a man is shot in the head (we see a hole in his helmet and a large amount of blood spurting). A man's hands are portrayed as bloody, mangled stumps (we see the actor then take off the prosthetics).
 A man is struck in the face and blood is shown. A man is beaten with a rod. A man hits another man in the face repeatedly. A man is struck in the stomach. A man strikes another man. A man gets into a fight with another man. A man smashes drugs into other men's faces, knocking them out. A man is kicked in the groin, he moans in pain, he is struck in the face while fighting a child and he falls on the child knocking it out. A man throws a child that is trying to stab him in the neck (the child is shown to be OK later).
 There are several war scenes throughout the movie: we see guns and shooting, some of the guns are fake and others are real, there are several large explosions and we also see missiles used. A child uses a rocket launcher to try to knock down a helicopter filled with people. People are injured when a truck explodes (we see them limping and in pain). A movie trailer shows the destruction of the Earth (the land is completely scorched). Several actors posing as enemy shooters are "shot" and "killed."
 A man stabs an animal and wears its skin (we see blood all over the man's body). A man catches a bat that has stolen his drugs and bites it (we see blood around the man's mouth). A child puts a lit cigar out on a man's chest (we hear the man scream in pain).
 A man plays a severally handicapped person for laughs several times throughout the movie. Two men have a conversation about acting and how to act mentally handicapped: One man remarks that another actor went "full retard," and goes on to explain that no one goes "full retard" and gets an Oscar; he cites "Rain Man" and "Forest Gump" as examples of partial "retard" (the word "retard" is used repeatedly and another actor talks about acting "stupid," "dumb" and that he did "retarded stuff.")
 A man talks about pistol-whipping a visually impaired child. A man threatens to spank another man. A man talks about how a gun sounds when it kills a person. A man talks about "You people," a white man posing as a black man gets offended, and then a black man gets offended by the man posing as a black man.
 A man vomits (we see goo on his lips). Two men spit on each other several times. A man cries, and spit and foam come out of his mouth. A man is forced to wear another person's dentures. A bug hits a man in the eye. A movie trailer within the movie is full of flatulence jokes (we hear the sound and see the actors acting as if they've passed gas). A man urinates in the woods: we see him with his hands in front of him, two other men pretend to urinate alongside him, and one opens a canned beverage and pours it on the ground to make a urinating sound.
 A man uses a flamethrower on a doll.

PROFANITY 10 - 63 F-words, a man wears a T-shirt with the F-word on it, 39 sexual references, 35 scatological terms, 55 anatomical terms, 23 mild obscenities, derogatory references to Asian people, derogatory terms for African-Americans, name-calling (stupid, idiot, imbecile, retard, midget), 12 religious profanities, 17 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A man is shown taking drugs that he calls "jelly beans," a man sees a large pile of drugs and is tempted to take them, and a man is shown to be going through withdrawal from drugs. People talk about a man being arrested with heroin and crack in his possession. A man goes to a party and appears to be drunk. A young child is shown smoking a cigar and a man is shown smoking a cigarette.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Sex, sexual exploitation of women in videos, fat jokes, swearing, racism, stereotypes, kidnapping, handicapped and special needs children, religion, war, drugs, drug trade, heroin, fame, actors, acting, celebrity, money, power, right vs. wrong, friendship, hope, weapons, role models, homosexuality.

MESSAGE - You become more successful when you take off the mask and be who you really are.

(Note: There is controversy over the portrayal of mentally challenged persons in the film, and the appearance of a white man in blackface, behaving according to a stereotypical perception on how real African-Americans walk, talk and act.)

Special Keywords: S5 - V7 - P10 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.




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