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Movies & TV

21st Jun 2024

One of the most controversial films ever made is on TV tonight

Stephen Porzio

The Oscar-nominated comedy is still often discussed over 15 years since its release.

Our TV movie pick for tonight (Friday, 21 June) is the brilliant 2008 comedy movie Tropic Thunder, starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr.

Along with co-writing and directing the film, Stiller plays Tugg Speedman, a pampered action superstar who sets out for Southeast Asia to take part in the biggest, most-expensive war movie produced.

Soon after filming begins, however, he, his co-stars – Oscar-winning method actor Kirk Lazarus (Downey Jr.) and comedian Jeff Portnoy (Black) – and the rest of the crew must become real soldiers when fighting breaks out in that part of the jungle.

Boasting a large ensemble cast that also includes Bill Hader, Brandon T. Jackson, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel, Matthew McConaughey, Nick Nolte, Steve Coogan and an unrecognisable Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder was a big box-office hit, earned very positive reviews and even garnered Downey Jr. a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.

That being said, the movie has continued to generate significant controversy years after its release.

This is due to its sweary script which gleefully pokes fun at Hollywood’s excesses, as well as the choice to have Downey Jr. play a white Australian actor who dons blackface as part of his method acting to perform the role of an African-American man.

The controversy has been so extensive in fact that Stiller actually took to Twitter last year to defend the film, saying he is still proud of the comedy.

“I make no apologies for Tropic Thunder… It’s always been a controversial movie since when we opened. Proud of it and the work everyone did on it,” he wrote.

The movie is airing on TV tonight at Film4 at 11.40pm and is also available to rent through Apple, Google Play, Microsoft, Rakuten TV and the Sky Store.

You can check out its trailer right here:

Here are the other movies airing on TV tonight:

Mission: Impossible – E4 – 9pm

The terrific first entry in the Tom Cruise-spy franchise.

Kingsman: The Secret Service – Film4 – 9pm

Another quite good spy flick, albeit more comedic.

The Transporter Refueled – Virgin Media One – 9pm

The fourth one without Jason Statham.

Man Without a Star – TG4 – 9.10pm

A ’50s Western with Kirk Douglas.

The Hustle – RTÉ One – 9.35pm

In this comedy, Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson plan a con.

Angela’s Ashes – RTÉ2 – 10.50pm

The ’90s Irish drama based on the memoir of the same name by Frank McCourt.

Ant-Man – BBC One – 10.55pm

The fun first Marvel flick to star Paul Rudd.

The Inbetweeners 2 – Channel 4 – 11.05pm

The lads go on holidays again.

Dance with a Stranger – RTÉ One – 11.20pm

This acclaimed British drama from the ’80s tells the story of Ruth Ellis (Miranda Richardson), the last woman to be hanged in Britain.

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