Saturday, June 28, 2014

21. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

[has it really been 10 years? of July 5th, apparently it will be]

Code-name: Brick

Director: Adam McKay
Writers: Adam McKay and Will Ferrell
Notable Producers: Judd Apatow, (executive) David O. Russell
Type: Frat Pack Comedy

Ron Burgundy- Will Ferrell
Veronica Corningstone- Christina Applegate
Brian Fantana- Paul Rudd
Champ Kind- David Koechner
Brick Tamland- Steve Carell
Channel 4 news exec Ed Harken- Fred Willard
Wes Mantooth of the Channel 9 newsteam- Vince Vaughn

Jack Black as the biker Ron hit with a burrito
Luke Wilson as the anchorman of Channel 2 news
Tim Robbins as the anchorman of the Public News Network
Ben Stiller as the anchorman of the Spanish Language News
Seth Rogen as the "eager cameraman"



Up until this movie came out, I thought Will Ferrell was an idiot.'s that for an introduction? :-P

Seriously, what little I saw him, his sense of humor to me was nothing but idiocy and stupidity. He was nothing but an unfunny man-child and I just didn't get the hype after him.

But when I saw the trailer of "Anchorman," I couldn't explain why but I felt like I had to see it. The idea of a movie about people in a newsroom, a comedy no less... it just looked like one of those "so crazy but just might work" sort of things.

Not that I thought it was crazy. It just looked legitimately funny. And it absolutely was.

Plot, Characters and So On

Something this insanely awesome can't really be sectioned off too much. Everything is more or less interrelated.

Ron Burgundy is THE anchorman with perfect hair, a dog named Baxter and mad jazz flute skills.

Brian Fantana does all the reporting on the streets, is a bit of a womanizer and believes that 80% of the time, his potent Sex Panther cologne works every time.

Champ Kind is an overenthusiastic sport guy who may be a tad possessive with little sense of personal boundaries.

Brick Tamland is the rarely late weatherman with an IQ of 48 who loves lamp and enjoys a good pair of slacks.

And Veronica Corningstone is the new woman [the first ever female reporter] on the block of the Channel 4 new station who soon rises to the role of co-anchor.

Before this movie, I only knew three actors.
Besides Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd (who I was happy didn't disappear with the rest of the "Clueless" cast) and Christina Appelgate (who my family knew as Kelly Bundy on "Married with Children").

David Koechner, I'd seen a couple times doing similar roles to Will Ferrell. Not terribly funny and a bit of an idiot. Including cameos on "The Office" and a small role in "Get Smart"... both are gigs he probably got because of Steve Carell.

Steve Carell

He deserves his own subheading :P
and let's just say he had me from "

This was my first ever encounter with Steve Carell and it made me a fan for life.
I'm not sure if I made this connection with him before or after my dad saw the movie and said "the weatherman is hilarious"... but either way, every one of his lines is funny because it's so idiotic but he says it with confidence.

It all began with: "Right now, it’s 82 degrees in our fair city, and compare that to 48 degrees in the upper Northwest and 38 degrees in the Middle East."

One of the most lovable idiots you'll ever find on film.
It took me a little while to find the humor in "The Office," and Michael Scott is also a bit of an idiot, but he's got a big heart and really cares about the people around him.

I'd seen plenty of Steve Carell since and [not knowing of his involvement in Comedy Central satire] I predicted he'd become a big star.

His films have been a little uneven. For every "Get Smart" and "Dinner with Schmucks," there's a "Crazy Stupid Love" (which became a complete buzzkill when we found out Emma Stone with his daughter and he wasn't okay with her dating Ryan Gosling... so quick to turn on his newest male best friend).

But nothing beats:

"I love lamp" and "LOUD NOISES!"

Back to the Story...

The Channel Four news team has been #1 in the San Diego area for what feels like forever.
Then we're introduced to the newest addition: Veronica Corningstone.

Such a testosterone embroiled workplace, it's obvious where this is going:
she's the latest conquest and all the men fail miserably.

However innocent, Brick had the best idea with his invitation to "that pants party"...
Champ did a seemingly innocent reach-around, which was insanely obvious.
Brian was the second most memorable after Brick and not in the best way: his Sex Panther cologne resulted in a hazmat chemical shower.

Then Ron did the phony workout thing where he pretends to do 100 reps on his "guns" and says his arms are tired from doing so many.
He does however get her attention with a good date where he plays jazz flute and they wind up in "Pleasure Town" when they return to his place.

However, it does not last long as Ron finds himself in a "glass case of emotion" and the studio has no choice but to have Veronica anchor in his place...

Aside from being a chauvinistic pig, the things to remember about Ron Burgundy is that the only thing he loves more than poetry and a glass of Scotch is his dog Baxter...
who gets punted off a bridge by this biker Ron hits with a burrito he carelessly throws out a window...

Yeah, this would have only worked in this movie and with Jack Black playing the biker. And in any other context, Will Ferrell in the phone booth would have just not been funny.
He's crying unintelligibly to Brian Fantana

"Bad man punted Baxter... on the bridge... I hit him with a burrito!"
Even more ridiculous, what sells it for me is when he's just crying, Brian asks him to repeat himself and he keeps doing so at a higher volume :-P hilarious every time

The end result of this entire episode is that Veronica is a hit with the ratings and the guys have no choice but to deal with the fact she's Ron's new co-anchor.

This boils to the point where the guys get in a 5-way bilingual new station brawl with the other news teams.
In other words, let the cameos fly!
Everyone from Luke Wilson to Tim Robbins to Ben Stiller show up... the only person missing is Owen Wilson, who didn't even show up in the sequel... maybe he was off doing another Wes Anderson movie :-P

Again, Brick steals the show on numerous occasions.
Before they even start fighting, we see him standing with the Channel 9 news team, laughing with them.
Everyone takes out their weapons and he has a hand grenade
("Brick where you'd get the hand grenade?" [he responds with no chance of expression] "I don't know")
When the fight breaks out, we see him waving it around, yelling, but never actually see him use it. But he does kill a dude with a trident... very randomly but hilariously.

When all the guys' schemes to get Veronica fired don't work, she pulls something of her own armed with another important bit of information:

"Ron will read ANYTHING that's on the teleprompter"... if you remember from a scene earlier on, there's a question mark in there and he pronounces it...

so... yeah, he unintentionally verbally flips off all of San Diego and is forced to resign...

For this 10 minute period, the movie is back to being Will Ferrell-grade unwatchable. The dude's miserable with a long phony beard.
Lucky for him, though, his ship comes back in when Veronica disappears in the midst of the biggest ratings grab in the San Diego news world...

Yeah, a new panda is being born at the zoo... they must really be starving for stories over there...
Ironically, that part of the storyline is 100% inaccurate. This movie takes place in the 70's and pandas didn't arrive in San Diego until 1987. Considering who's doing the writing, though, we know they're not complete geniuses.

Ron shows up to save the day and, yeah, Baxter is alive and well and arrives to save Ron and Veronica from the grizzlies. Wes Mantooth also gains the courage to tell Ron how he really feels, that as much as he dislikes him, he respects the hell out of him :P

We get a little bit of an epilogue, explaining where the news team wound up.
A couple memorable jokes is that Champ is sued for sexual harassment by Terry Bradshaw and Brick has 10 kids and is an advisor to George W. Bush... in other words, liberal Hollywood is poking fun at the Republican administration :shrug: what can you do, right?

Legacy and Sequel

I'm not entirely sure how big a hit this movie was when it first came out. I believe it was and it only gained more of a following as the years went by.
The lines hold up really well. YouTube is chock full of montages where people segued their favorite quotes and scenes together.

Anyone who didn't know the song at the time like I did also learned a little something about "Afternoon Delight" which the guys sang in a pretty darn good 4-part harmony.

News of a sequel had been on the horizon for years and last year it finally happened. To promote it, Ron Burgundy appeared in several Dodge Durango ads, released an autobiography and even got his own Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Sadly, "Scotchy Scotch Scotch" does not contain any actual scotch... it does however contain ample swirls of BUTTERscotch. I'm not the biggest fan of the stuff, but I did try it. It wasn't bad, but Stephen Colbert's "AmeriCone Dream" still is way better 8-)

As for the sequel... well, it's hit and miss for me... mostly missing.
I had issues with it like I did with the Sherlock Holmes sequel... they tried to up the ante a little too much and it kinda blew up in their face.

Namely, the humor is a little more extreme, going for the gross-out moments or pushing the envelope in general...
Ron is 100x the idiot he was in the previous film. He and Veronica are married with a kid, but they aren't exactly the most stable family. The kid adores him despite the fact he spends zero time with him. Their relationship is tested when Veronica gets a promotion and he doesn't and they wind up separating.

Ron's follow-up job is at a SeaWorld... being a marine biology major and animal lover in general, I was embarrassed with how that scene played out...

He's proposed the idea for a 24/7 news network (kinda like CNN) and "gets the band back together." Champ owns a KFC type place (where the overwought dialogue and puns get tiresome within 5 minutes). Brian is a cat photographer (hilariously because he talks to them as if he's shooting nude models). And Brick makes a cameo where he cries his way through a eulogy AT HIS OWN FUNERAL... now that's just priceless :-P

I think the part that really lost it for me was when Ron ice skates (which I kinda didn't appreciate on the surface since I saw this a few months after the Olympics... no way he could do a quadruple toe-loop) and the rival anchor played by James Marsden causes an accident where he is blinded.

Geesh, the logic of the quadruple toe-loop held more water than that BS.

And the BS continued. Veronica nursed Ron back to health and helped rehabilitate him with the intention of getting her family back together... to the point where she hid from him that a procedure could be done to get his sight back.
Even more idiotic was her starting a cat fight with one of the girls at the news station who had been sweet on Ron. Just, why? She didn't want Ron anymore so why is it her business that he's moving on with someone else?

Probably the worst joke of a scene in the movie was when Ron met the new girlfriend's family and tried to speak all ghetto so they'd understand him. Never mind idiotic, but insensitive... makes me want to ask if Will Ferrell's black friends still talk to him.

At the finale we have the return of the news team fight, but after the first five minutes it just goes too far... Harrison Ford turns into a freaking werewolf and Kanye West (who's already one of my least favorite people in the world) says he's got an idea for Michael Jackson... :facepalm: just no...

The only good thing about the movie was the story arc where they gave Brick the perfect love interest, played by Kristen Wiig.

Coming Soon

Independence Day is next weekend and in an odd sort of way, my next movie plays into that vein.
It got some people talking politics, those who chose to read between the lines.
It got other people, me included, excited with the special effects ALONE

Even after seeing the "true" winner, I still maintain it was robbed at the Oscars in its given year...

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