Last night, Argo won the Oscar for Best Picture. There was a lot of competition in a strong year for cinema, so many people had wildly divergent guesses as to which film would win, and many threw up their hands saying it was impossible to predict. But Argo‘s victory was predicted, nearly five years ago, in the surprisingly good Tropic Thunder.
The plot of Tropic Thunder is somewhat inventive. Actors in a Viet Nam War movie are dropped into a southeast Asian jungle to get their best performances. But it turns out their rookie director took them to a jungle controlled by a drug cartel and is loaded with land mines, which kills him. With no way out, the actors are forced to make their way through the jungle to get out. Throughout, they satirize Hollywood.
The predictive part comes at the end. They did manage to turn the travesty into a movie called Tropic Blunder (the director had previously hidden cameras throughout the jungle to capture the action). Tropic Blunder is about the attempted making of a movie in a hostile environment, which turns into a rescue mission, with no movie actually being made. Sound familiar? It’s the same plot as Argo.
Now comes the kicker. The movie ends with Robert Downey, Jr.’s character presenting the Best Actor award at the Oscar’s, and it goes to Ben Stiller’s character for his part in the movie. The emotional touchstone there is that Stiller’s character, Tugg Speedman, was an action hero who wanted to break out, and during the movie actually found some form of acting ability within himself, or whatever. But even in the context of Tropic Thunder it’s ridiculous to think that a movie featuring actors who aren’t acting would win a Best Actor award. The award not shown but almost certainly won if that would be the case would be Best Picture for Tropic Blunder. So, yes, Tropic Thunder predicted Argo would win Best Picture years before it did.
What else is this movie trying to prepare us for? Ben Stiller winning an Oscar? Jack Black’s crippling heroin addiction?
Whatever it is, I think I join millions of others in this sentiment: I sure hope I find a way to monetize it.