Tag Archives: Jack Black

Censor this

After a long day yesterday, I was excited to see that Tropic Thunder, the hilarious Vietnam War movie-within-a-movie, was playing on FX. So I settled on the couch, prepared to laugh away my lethargy. But I was soon too annoyed to enjoy the film.

Why?

One of my favorite scenes in the movie — which is also one of the most controversial — was censored.  As in bleeped.  When no curse words were used.

In the scene, actors Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey, Jr.), a five-time Oscar winner, and Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), an action hero whose career is definitely waning, are discussing Tugg’s recent performance in the movie Simple Jack, where Tugg portrayed a mentally challenged boy ala Forrest Gump.

The conversation pokes fun at actors — how they choose these roles to garner major awards — and not at the characters they portray.  But the comedy is apparently too subtle for some, because FX bleeped out certain words in Lazarus’s speech, thereby killing the scene and the movie (for me).

If he had belittled the Simple Jack character, that would be one thing.  But the whole scene made fun of actors.

Actors!

Trust me, they can take it.  And hopefully have maintained their sense of humor.

Birds part deux

Four hundred years ago — okay, more like 12 — I attended a writing conference at Craigsville Beach on Cape Cod.

One of our assignments was to come up with a new scenario for a movie using only the items found in our hotel room as inspiration.

Now, my hotel was rather rustic (translation: cheap).  The wallpaper had tiny geese flying in vee’s across a yellow, late evening sky.  It was ugly, but I used it.

My idea:   What if two birdwatchers — one a noted expert, the other a novice — accidentally kill a rare bird that they are admiring?  Horrified, they try to cover up the accident in a variety of ways, all of which go terribly awry.

Hilarity ensues.

I pictured Dudley Moore as the lead. (It was 12 years ago.)  I thought it was a pretty funny idea, but maybe too niche-y for Hollywood.

I mean, who would do a movie about birdwatching?

Fast-forward to 2011.  Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson are starring in the new movie The Big Year.  Take a look at the trailer:

What you can’t really tell from this clip is that these three men are avid birdwatchers…competing at a prestigious birdwatching event!

See?  Someone actually made a film about birdwatching, and even they think it’s too niche-y to use in the marketing.

I was so ahead of my time.