Today! Because the Human Torch was denied a bank loan –
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Directed by Adam McKay
Starring Will Ferrell (x5), Christina Applegate (x2), Steve Carell, Paul Rudd (x4), David Koechner (x2), Fred Willard, Chris Parnell (x2), Vince Vaughn (x3), Kathryn Hahn, Fred Armisen, Paul F. Tomkins (x3), Bill Kurtis, Jack Black (x5), Luke Wilson (x3), Ben Stiller, Tim Robbins (x4), Missi Pyle (x2), Jerry Minor (x2), Ian Roberts (x3), Danny Trejo, Seth Rogen (x3)
Meeting Sarah in 2004 as I did, the comedies of those early years of the relationship that stuck really stuck. I’ve mentioned #134 Wedding Crashers, #130 Napoleon Dynamite, #189 Team America, #184 Super Troopers, to a lesser degree #313 Fever Pitch – but at the core of the entire era was Anchorman. Not unlike your Austin Powers and Napoleon Dynamites, Anchorman suffers somewhat as the years go on due to its endless quotability. Sure, it stays in the public consciousness and thus sells t-shirts or whatever, and afforded us that okay-ish sequel, but really, I think the details of the original film get a bit lost in the “Scotchy scotch scotch,” “I love lamp,” “Afternoon Delight” of the whole thing. Does everyone recall the whole panda plot of the film? I mean, the less said about pandas the better, just as a general rule for living, but that’s actually the driving through line of the story. Sure, it doesn’t really matter, but it gives a little structure to the wild Burgundy/Corningstone relationship and that epic multi-network news team free-for-all.
But seriously, and I can’t say this enough, fuck pandas.
Anchorman made its way onto many mix CDs of the time, to the point that I know Bill Kurtis’ narration better than almost anything else in the film. Oh, here’s an interesting debate – what do you think is better, 2013’s Anchorman 2 or the oddball deleted scene movie Wake Up, Ron Burgundy? Seems like an obvious choice, but Anchorman 2 was a surprisingly tired affair, even bringing back as many people and rehashing as many jokes as they did. Wake Up at least still has the anarchic energy of the original movie, plus a panda-free plot, and solid turns from Maya Rudolph, Chuck D, and Amy Poehler. It’s not great overall, but there are still a lot of solid gags in the excised film. It’s a little padded to round into a 93 minute film (Film? Kinda?), whereas this might’ve worked better about half an hour shorter. But hey, if you’ve had the DVDs sitting there all these years and never bothered watching it, throw it on – it’s kinda okay.
And even though there are tons of folks who might qualify as Anchorman MVP, so loaded with great comedians as this film is, I think the choice is kinda obvious. The heart and soul, the central catalyst to the entire breakdown in the second act, the most impressive character thanks to his Spanish barking, if nothing else – Baxter.
The Jack Johnson/Tom O’Leary showdown produces the two furthest advancing guild folks today, with Will Ferrell (#225 Old School, #204 Semi-Pro, #134 Wedding Crashers, #208 Jay and Silent Bob) and Jack Black (#258 King Kong, #372 Walk Hard, #352 Be Kind Rewind, #310 Mars Attacks!) taking it to the Fives! Spotlight!