By Michael Rand
We did something we never thought we would do last night: we watched Tropic Thunder. Upon first seeing the trailer for the movie, we thought it would be the worst film ever made. Gradually, we at least improved to lukewarm on it. And last night, for a couple of bucks, we decided to check it out over at the second-run theater. Know what? It was pretty funny. And more than just that, it led to a thought: the movie was very much like watching any Vikings game during the Mike Tice era. How?
*Well, the basic plot is that a diverse, prima donna cast is making a Vietnam-era film on location, but in order to make it more realistic they are sent into the deep jungle — where they end up fighting actual enemies, even though they don’t really know it at first. Once they figured it out, some slapstick comedy ensued, followed by an escape attempt. A basic Vikings game during the Tice era often started with a bunch of prima donnas trying to waltz their way to an easy victory, only to fail and wind up in a real contest that they couldn’t believe was happening (particularly on the road). This typically led to some haphazard comeback attempt and often some slapstick comedy in the form of wasted timeouts and untimely gimmicks.
*Both feature an honest-to-goodness take your breath away moment. In Vikings games, it was often a Culpepper-to-Moss hookup or some other thing that made everything OK. In the movie, it was a bald Tom Cruise in a fat suit dancing to Apple Bottom Jeans. (Mind the language in the clip). Moss might be a little crazy. Cruise might be a little crazy. But those [redacteds] have some talent.
*Vietnam, at least when it is romanticized (and even when that romanticism is parodied in this movie), is remembered as a harrowing trip through a lost jungle during which survivors emerge with an altered reality and some amazing stories to tell. That’s how we remember 2002-2005.
*Spoiler alert: TiVo saves the day in both the movie and the Tice-era Vikings games.