So...it wouldn't be a good year of film without some controversy.
I've been hearing some about the controversy caused by the movie Tropic Thunder.
I would have thought that the controversy might be based on the fact that Robert Downey Jr. portrays an Australian actor who is portraying a black Vietnam war soldier. Yes...if you haven't seen a picture yet, that man is Robert Downey Jr as a black man.
Yet this is not the controversy. The controversy is over the word "retard," and specifically how it is used in the film.
The protest is led by Special Olympics chairman and CEO Timothy Shriver who, although he hasn't seen the full film, is encouraging protest and boycotts of this film for it's use of the word "retard" 17-20 times.
As I understand it, there is a film within the film called Simple Jack, in which Ben Stiller, an actor in the film, is portraying someone with a mental handicap. As a comedy the discussion about this film and it's role make light of the handicap.
What's your thoughts on this controversy? Is this a hate crime, or is it just something potentially offensive in an R-rated comedy?
Honestly, I think many comedies are offensive, and you can watch them with sensitivity and be offended, you can chose to not watch them, or you can be insensitive and laugh along.
It seems to me (without seeing the film, only hearing some of the film clips) that Shriver might be taking this too seriously.
I don't think he's taking it too seriously by criticizing the message of the film, and using the opportunity to encourage people to be more aware of the struggles that mentally disabled people have...BUT...I hate the term "hate crime" because it's a dangerous word. A crime is a strong word, usually associated with punishment, courts, and legal action.
Ben Stiller's comedy about a group of actors trying to play baity roles to win Academy Awards is sure to be offensive. Yet, I have a hard time saying that they have committed a crime.
What do you think?