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Three Things to Think About. Use of Satire : Where the film’s humor is directed Layers of Performance: The acting, and the idea of “performing” Form/Production : How the film looks, and how it was produced. The Satire.

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three things to think about
Three Things to Think About
  • Use of Satire:
    • Where the film’s humor is directed
  • Layers of Performance:
    • The acting, and the idea of “performing”
  • Form/Production:
    • How the film looks, and how it was produced
the satire
The Satire
  • Satire: Use of ridicule, mockery and pointed humor to challenge a person (usually a powerful one) or a belief system (usually a mainstream one)
    • “Comedy evokes laughter mainly as an end in itself, while satire . . . uses laughter as a weapon” (M.H. Abrams, Glossary of Literary Terms)
    • Who are the targets of satire in this film?
      • Is this film trying to have it both ways, by making you laugh at people with disabilities and laugh at Hollywood’s treatment of people with disabilities at the same time?
  • Does the film assert its own set of values, or is it just attacking other systems of belief?
    • Does satire ever build up, or can it only tear down?
the performances
The Performances
  • Tropic Thunder conveys the idea that race, masculinity, soldierliness, etc. are, at some level, performances.
    • For example, how does Robert Downey Jr.’s character “perform” blackness? How does Brandon T. Jackson’s character?
  • How do the performances mesh with these (“real” and “fictional”) actors’ celebrity personas?
    • Star Text: “A celebrity image that combines the star’s acting ability, and prior record of acting performances with their offscreen lifestyle, personality and behavior” (Monica Cyrino)
formally the production
Formally: The Production
  • Mise-en-scene, Cinematography, Editing, Sound
    • Try to be conscious of framing, camera placement and movement, shot transitions, and the overall sound design.
  • What genre is Tropic Thunder?
    • How does it balance commitment to comedy with desire for legitimacy as an action/war film?
    • When is there verisimilitude, and when does the film sacrifice realism for comedy?
  • Tropic Thunder cost $92 million dollars – where can you see the money onscreen?
    • When are special effects or CGI used?
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