Handsome Observation – Worst Protest Ever
Tonight heading to my UCLA Extension class in Westwood I noticed the neighborhood was abuzz. Yep, it was another movie premiere – this time the new Ben Stiller directed Tropic Thunder. In addition to the usual hordes of camera waving tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of a celebrity, there was also a group of protesters screaming across the road at the red carpet. What were they protesting? I wasn’t certain, but while I circled the premiere several times following my Irish instinct to never pay for parking ever, I put it together that the crowd was protesting the portrayal of the disabled in the film.
Whiskey tango foxtrot?! While we haven’t seen the film (yet), it seems like the mentally disabled are only in the film briefly and are used more of a device to mock Hollywood’s own portrayal of the mentally handicapped and how ‘award winning’ and ‘courageous’ it is. It seems like a minor plot device that gets about 10 minutes of screentime. Pardon me as I may be confused, but wasn’t anyone upset about the fact that Robert Downey Jr. spends the entire film in blackface, a practice commonly seen as completely, horribly offensive decades ago? There were at least four African American families protesting the film… seems like someone’s being bamboozled here.
Tropic Thunder clearly has an uphill battle with audiences – again, we haven’t seen the film (but are excited to do so) – since we can tell that’s it’s a self absorbed, over the top, inside baseball, painfully Hollywood self-aware film. But most of all, it apparently has an uphill battle convincing us of which offensive aspect of the film we’re supposed to pay the most attention to.
Tags: handsome observations, protesting, protests, robert downey blackface, robert downey jr., robert downey junior, summer movies, tropic thunder blackface, tropic thunder film, tropic thunder movie, tropic thunder movie premiere, tropic thunder premiere, tropic thunder racism, westwood