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Monday, August 18, 2008

Robert Downey, Jr. is Kirk Lazarus [Black Man]

"Tropic Thunder" opened at number one with $25.8 million for the weekend and $37 million including the Wednesday opening. Everybody was waiting to see Robert Downey, Jr.'s performance as a black man. Evidently he pulled it off. No big outcries. In fact, most blacks seem to be enjoying the role and the humor. Kudos to Downey, Jr for his brilliant performance and Stiller for having the knowledge and sensitivity to pull it off. Clearly Ben Stiller 'gets' black people.

You absolutely forget that Robert Downey, Jr. is Lazarus. Or you look for Robert Downey, Jr. in Lazarus. The oveall satire, the actions of every character and the send up of action movies and stars are so over the top that you know going in not to take anything in this movie too seriously. It starts with the scene when Lazarus is overacting and so is Stiller in the scene where Stiller's hands had been blown off by a grenade. Yet Stiller's character, Tugg Speedman, was shot several hundred times in an earlier scene.

The implications of the Lazarus character are interesting when juxtaposed to Spike Lee's upcoming movie, "Miracle at St. Anna," whereby black soldiers who were overlooked in World War II movies are featured. Both movies will hopefully get Hollywood to be more balanced in including, or at least not excluding, blacks in roles where they should be included to accurately reflect events. Not only can blacks be included in dramas, but also send ups that do not spill over into stereotypically racist images. The movie "Caddie Shack" was ruined by having the black guy in the small boat 'bug' his eyes when Rodney Dangerfield's huge yacht was coming towards him.

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