DR. STRANGELOVE (1) vs.
GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM (6)
FIRST HALF: PLOT
“Dr. Strangelove” begins with an insane general sending a flight of B-52s to drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union. The rest of the plot involves the attempts of the two leaders to avoid nuclear war and the attempt of one bomber to complete its mission. The movie shifts from scenes on the bomber to scenes in the War Room. A subplot involves an assault on the rogue general’s base to recover the recall codes. The tone shifts from suspensefully claustrophobic on the bomber to farcical discussion in the War Room. The taking of the base has the look of news footage from Vietnam. The plot flows well and builds to a satirical crescendo.
“Good Morning. Vietnam” begins with the arrival of Cronauer in Saigon. He immediately starts rocking the boat at the radio station and butting heads with the old school leadership. Meanwhile, Cronauer falls in lust with a Vietnamese girl and takes over an English class to get to know her. He also gets to know her brother who turns out to be a Viet Cong agent. The plot shifts back and forth from the romance to the dysfunctional station. The plot is inconsistent because the romance and the other serious moments pale compared to Williams’ manic radio performances. Kudos to the film for not having a happy ending to the radio stint or the romance.
First half score: Strangelove - 48 GMV - 38
SECOND HALF: LINES
The second half will consist of comparing memorable quotes showcased on IMDB.
Ripper: I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
Turgidson: Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.
Muffley: Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room. (#64 on AFIs greatest movie quotes)
Sadetsky: There were those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. At the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we had been spending on defense in a single year. The deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap.
Strangelove: Mein Führer! I can walk!
Turgidson: Mr. President, we must not allow a mineshaft gap!
Strangelove: Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious... service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.
“Good Morning, Vietnam”
Cronauer: I just want to begin by saying to Roosevelt E. Roosevelt, what it is, what it shall be, what it was. The weather out there today is hot and shitty with continued hot and shitty in the afternoon. Tomorrow a chance of continued crappy with a pissy weather front coming down from the north. Basically, it's hotter than a snake's ass in a wagon rut.
Cronauer: Goooooooood morning, Vietnam! Hey, this is not a test! This is rock and roll! Time to rock it from the Delta to the D.M.Z.!
Cronauer: Excuse me, sir. Seeing as how the V.P. is such a V.I.P., shouldn't we keep the P.C. on the Q.T.? 'Cause if it leaks to the V.C. he could end up M.I.A., and then we'd all be put out in K.P.
Cronauer: The Mississippi River broke through a protective dike today. What is a protective dike? Is it a large woman that says "Don't go near there! But Betty- Don't go near there! Don't go down by the river!"... No, we can't say "dyke" on the air, we can't even say "lesbian" anymore, it's "women in comfortable shoes. Thank You."
Cronauer: Here's a news flash: Today President Lyndon Johnson passed a highway beautification bill. The bill basically said that his daughters could not drive in a convertible on public highways.
Cronauer: What is the difference between the Cub Scouts and the military? Bzzzzzt! Cub Scouts don't have heavy artillery!
When it comes to memorable lines, Strangelove has the quality and GMV has the quantity.
Second half score: Strangelove - 46 GMV - 42
“Strangelove” wins mainly based on a superior plot. The three part structure works well and is a blend of action and humor. The tone shifts are not whiplashing. GMV’s plot is more problematical. The love story seems to serve the purpose of getting Cronauer out of the station and giving Williams a chance to show off his acting. A trip into the jungle is just silly. As far as memorable lines: the GMV lines are memorable because they are funny, the Strangelove lines are famous.
Dr. Strangelove - 94
Good Morning, Vietnam - 80
MASH (6) vs. TROPIC THUNDER (13)
FIRST HALF: PLOT
MASH begins with the arrival of Hawkeye at the hospital. The rest of the movie is basically a series of vignettes leading up to the football game. The scenes include the suicide of “Painless”, the exposure of “Hot Lips”, the trip to Japan by Hawkeye and Trapper John. The structure works and fits a film about the ebb and flow of a surgical hospital in a time of war.
Tropic Thunder begins with the shooting of a Platoonesque scene. The first part of the movie deals with problems with the production of the film. The movie then shifts into the jungle for a dysfunctional trek by the main actors. It concludes with the “assault” on the drug camp which is full of gunfire and explosions.
First half score: MASH - 43 Tropic Thunder - 45
SECOND HALF: LINES
Trapper: Watch out for your goodies, Hawkeye. That man is a sex maniac; I don't think Hot Lips satisfied him. Don't let him kiss you, Hawkeye.
Hot Lips: I wonder how such a degenerated person ever reached a position of authority in the Army Medical Corps.
Father Mulcahy: He was drafted.
P.A. Announcer: Attention. Attention. Friday night's movie will be The Glory Brigade. Rock'em sock'em kisses you never got. It's Uncle Sam's combat engineers charging side by side with Greek hand bags. Showing the world a new way to fight as they use bulldozers like bazookas, bayonnets like bazook - bullets. Starring Victor Mature. That is all.
Gen. Hammond: Henry, I have some reports here from your Major O'Houlihan that I frankly find hard to believe.
Colonel Blake: Well, don't believe them then, General. Good-bye. [hangs up]
Trapper John: Look, mother, I want to go to work in one hour. We are the Pros from Dover and we figure to crack this kid's chest and get out to golf course before it gets dark. So you go find the gas-passer and you have him pre-medicate this patient. Then bring me the latest pictures on him. The ones we saw must be 48 hours old by now. Then call the kitchen and have them rustle us up some lunch.
Frank Burns: I don't drink.
Hawkeye Pierce: Jesus Christ, I think he means it.
Total – 87
Kirk Lazarus: I don't read the script. The script reads me.
Tugg Speedman: [as Simple Jack] Goodbye mama, now you can have ice cream in heavan! I'll see you again tonight when I go to bed in my head movies. But this head movie makes my eyes rain!
Lazurus: Same thing happened to me when I played Neil Armstrong in Moonshot. They found me in an alley in Burbank trying to re-enter the earth's atmosphere in an old refrigerator box.
Alpa Chino: That's the theme song for the Jeffersons!
Kirk Lazarus: Man, just cause it's a theme song don't make it not true.
Lazarus: Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, 'Rain Man,' look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Counted toothpicks, cheated cards. Autistic, sho'. Not retarded. You know Tom Hanks, 'Forrest Gump.' Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain't retarded. Peter Sellers, "Being There." Infantile, yes. Retarded, no. You went full retard, man. Never go full retard. You don't buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, "I Am Sam." Remember? Went full retard, went home empty handed...
Lazarus: I know who I am. I'm the dude playin' the dude, disguised as another dude!
Grossman: Cockburn, from now on my fist is going to be so far up your shithole that every time you have a thought, it's gonna have to tiptoe past my wedding ring...
Tayback: In the Winter of 1969, an elite force of the US Army was sent on a top secret assignment in Southeast Vietnam. The objective: rescue Sgt. Four Leaf Tayback from a heavily guarded NVA Prison Camp. The mission was considered to be near-suicide. Of the ten men sent, four returned. Of those four, three wrote books about what happened. Of those three, two were published. And of those two, only one got a movie deal. This is the story of the men who attempted to make that movie.
Kevin Sandusky: [to Jeff] I got a baaaad feeling on this one there, Fats.
Jeff Portnoy: [as Fats] Our asses don't get fragged in this bullshit valley, first thing I'm doin' is payin' my two bucks so I can watch Brooklyn bust his cherry on a sweet little mama son's dinky-down poon-tang!
Lazarus: And the Oscar goes to. Yes! Tugg Speedman for "Tropic Blunder: The True Story Behind The Making Of The Most Expensive Fake True War Movie Ever"
TT has the quantity. As far as quality, it depends on your sense of humor. MASH’s lines are PG-13 (some would have been edgy for the 1970s) and Tropic Thunder’s are definitely R. Personally, I find the TT lines much more hilarious.
Second half score: MASH - 38 Tropic Thunder - 45
This is a battle between 1970s humor and recent humor. Both plots serve their films well. MASH is more episodic and Tropic Thunder has a more traditional structure. As far as the comedic lines, MASH is more subtle as the movie is more situational humor and obviously the situation is more serious. It’s hard to play surgery for laughs. Tropic Thunder has no restrictions and absolutely pushes the envelope. The jokes are unceasing and often crass, but a good bit of them are satirical and not simply aimed at a cheap laugh (and then there are quite a few that are).
Tropic Thunder - 90
MASH - 81