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- see 8 spoilers
When Lazarus is talking to Tugg about 'Simple Jack' he claims that an actor should never go "full retard" and mentions Peter Sellers (Being There (1979)), Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man (1988)), Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump (1994)), and Sean Penn (I Am Sam (2001)) as examples. He claims that Sean Penn is the only one of those to go "full retard" and come away without an Oscar after being nominated. However, Peter Sellers did not win an Oscar either. He received a Golden Globe award, while the Best Actor Oscar went to Dustin Hoffman for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). (This is rectified in the Director's Cut DVD, where the line about Sellers is removed.)
Both Kevin Sandusky and Alpa Chino are carrying Vietnam War era correct M16A1 rifles, complete with the fixed butt stock, 20" barrel and the three pronged flash suppressor. Tugg Speedman is carrying a modern era M4 carbine rifle. This rifle is distinctly different looking than the A1, in that it has the adjustable length butt stock, 16" barrel with the round fore stock and the modern "birdcage" flash suppressor. This rifle didn't come out until well after the Vietnam War had ended.
Les Grossman says that "Speedman is a dying star, a white dwarf heading for a black hole. That's physics. It's inevitable." But a white dwarf do not head for a black hole, white dwarf is the final state of average and small stars. White dwarfs will eventually become black dwarfs once they cool off, in a very very long time, so long that there's no known black dwarf existed in our universe.
Crew or equipment visible
Errors in geography
The opening crawl states that American POWs are being held in a North Vietnamese Army prison camp in "southeast Vietnam." In 1969, southeast Vietnam was firmly under control of the South Vietnamese government and the American military. Although this could be chalked up to Four Leaf embellishing his autobiography.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs
In the opening moments, we are told the location is "South East Vietnam." Later the specific setting is Quang Tri. During the Vietnam War, Quang Tri was South Vietnam's northernmost province. However, it is specified that Quang Tri was the location of the "set" of Tropic Thunder, not that it was the location of the events on which the film was based.
Towards the beginning on the movie when the character gets disemboweled with a bayonet in the stomach, when the attacker removes the rifle (supposedly with the bayonet attached) it is obvious there is no bayonet attached to the rifle. However, since this scene is part of a mega-budget movie being filmed, they probably planned to add in a CGI bayonet.
During the opening credits, the helicopters fly past a chalk cliff face with a distinctive pattern. When the four actors later stumble upon the heroin processing plant, the wide shot of the camp shows the exact same cliff in the background, but it's a flipped shot of the opening credits (or the opening credits were flopped to begin with).