If this were a movie, we could call it Ballistic: Zach vs. Odie. Last week, I successfully challenged Zach about Pineapple Express not unseating The Dark Knight at the top of the box office chart, but he refuses to pay off our bet based on some fuzzy math he borrowed from a Hollywood studio. [The movie opened on a Wednesday! Obviously, the film would require opening-night revenue to pull off the victory. - Z] Today, the movie I predict will unseat the Batman opens, and if I am right, I should get my dollar bet with interest. Our female contributors here at Movies Without Pity are probably shaking their heads at the typical exploits of male one-upmanship, but at least we're not doing mixed martial arts fighting in the lobby. Score one for us guys for restraint!
Yes, the soon-to-be-#1 Tropic Thunder opens today. I expected both the NAACP and Al Jolson fans to protest Robert Downey Jr.'s blackface, but neither seems to show particular interest. Mental disability activists, however, are quite interested in Ben Stiller's handi-capable parody, Simple Jack. USA Today describes the protest that met the Tropic Thunder premiere on Monday as a gathering of over 50 people, including the chairman of the Special Olympics, Timothy Shriver. Of the proposed boycott of the film, Shriver said, "I don't have any illusions about that happening, but I'd like people not to see it. I'd like (disabled) kids going back to school in the fall to not have to deal with other kids saying, 'Are you a full retard?'" I hate to disappoint Mr. Shriver, but I'm sure these kids heard a lot worse before the first shot of this movie was committed to film. Plus, this movie's rated R, so their bad-assed schoolmates shouldn't see it anyhow. (Of course, we know better.)
Don't get me wrong. Protestors have the right to speak out against that which they find offensive, and Tropic Thunder goes out of its way to be exactly that. I'm just not sure that banning a word or boycotting a caricature is going to make the world a better place. We'd all like to think so. All I can say is that this added controversy will send the curious running to the theaters, and splat goes the Batman, down to second place. I eagerly await my dollar. [Never! - Z]