Nowhere to Go But Downey

By our unofficial count, exactly one actor performed in a movie in blackface in 2008. Tropic Thunder may have seemed like just another wacky-brave escapade in the fascinating career of loony-tune genius Robert Downey Jr., but there was a method to this particular madness: Bobby D. was tracing a cursive line back to his pop’s subversive strain of anarchic comedy. You see, in the ’60s and ’70s, Robert Downey Sr. wrote and directed a quiver of clever and largely undisciplined (read: mightily stoned) movies satirizing social conventions. “Under the Underground: The Films of Robert Downey” concludes tonight with the messy bull-in-a-china-shop escapades No More Excuses (clocking in at just 44 hit-and-run minutes) and the ultrarare Moment to Moment (starring the comic dervish Elsie Downey, Pop’s wife and Junior’s mother). Don’t be shocked if someone dashes across the screen in blackface.

No More Excuses screens with Moment to Moment starting at 7 p.m.
Thu., Jan. 15, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 18, 7 p.m., 2009

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