cheek by jowl

‘Tropic Thunder’: A ‘¡Three Amigos!’ for Our Time

Photo: Photo: Columbia Pictures

So, these three prima donna actors think they’re just shooting an action movie, but in fact, they’ve landed themselves balls-deep in a real-life disaster. Sound like the plot of Tropic Thunder? Fair enough. But before Stiller, Black, and Downey Jr. donned camo and ammo belts, Short, Martin, and Chase sported Mariachi outfits for John Landis’s ¡Three Amigos! in 1986. There are, in fact, a plethora of similarities between the two films. You do know what a plethora means, don’t you? —Julie Klausner

Tropic Thunder

¡Three Amigos!
Plot Three prissy actors find themselves in the jungles of 'Nam, and must become the soldiers they portray in the movie. Three prissy actors find themselves in the constantly pillaged Mexican village of Santo Poco, and must become the heroes they portray in their movies.
Catchphrase "I'm a lead farmer, motherfucker!" "We will not die like dogs! We will fight like lions!"
Obstacles overcome Land mines, drug lords, water torture. The Invisible Swordsman, a singing bush, Mexican townspeople whose only skill is being able to sew.
Cameos Tom Cruise plays Jewish film producer Les Grossman. Joe Mantegna plays Jewish film producer Harry Flugelman.
Hit single "I Love Tha' Pussy." "My Little Buttercup."
Bat-eating scene Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) gnaws on a bat that ate his heroin stash in a desperate attempt for a fix. Dusty Bottoms (Chevy Chase), Lucky Day (Steve Martin), and Ned Nederlander (Martin Short) sit around a campfire munching on bats for sustenance.
Withered creepy old-guy character Nick Nolte. El Guapo.
‘Tropic Thunder’: A ‘¡Three Amigos!’ for Our Time