Ruddtrospective #22: Sixty Percent of the Time…

Full spoilers for the movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy as well as the sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Even though I’m pretty sure everyone has seen this movie. It’s a beloved classic. But spoilers for this movie that came out 18 years ago. And spoilers for the sequel, which is essentially just the same movie.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy(2004) stars Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, and Fred Willard. It also features Chris Parnell, Kathryn Hahn, Fred Armisen, Seth Rogen, Paul F. Tompkins, Danny Trejo, Judd Apatow, Jack Black, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Jerry Stiller, and Vince Vaughn.

This is probably one of the more beloved Paul Rudd movies. Personally? I think it’s fine. I don’t think I saw it at the right age, and I never really fell in love with it. But I still appreciate it and enjoy the performances of most of the people in it. There’s one actor in this that I have never understood the appeal of and really wish wasn’t in this. But we’ll get into that later. Also I’m going to try and identify each of the quotes in this that I heard before I ever saw this movie. Let’s get into it!

So for those of you who have somehow missed this one, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is about the misadventures of a beloved anchorman and his news team as they struggle to stop their industry from changing. It takes place in San Diego during the 1970s.

  • I’ve never been a huge fan of movies that have no real plot and are just flimsy collections of skits, sketches and jokes. I guess Monty Python typically managed to pull it off. But this is definitely a step above all the other movies that tried to do the same thing.
  • And to be fair, pretty much every line from this has been quoted a million times since it came out. So they obviously did something right.
  • “The following is based on actual events. Only the names, locations and events have been changed.”
  • So we’ve got our main news team: Ron Burgundy(Will Ferrell), man on the street Brian Fantana(Paul Rudd), weatherman Brick Tamland(Steve Carell), and sports anchor Champ Kind(David Koechner). Each one of them sexist and stupid. Brick Tamland especially so.
  • “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’m kind of a big deal.” I’ve probably heard that quote a million times.
  • CHAMP: “What in the hell is diversity?”
    RON: “Well I could be wrong. But I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.”
  • I don’t even know why I’m trying to be critical of this movie. It’s ridiculous and funny and everyone in this is on the top of their game. Personally I’m not the biggest fan of David Koechner and consider him to be a bit miscast. Of the four main characters, I find him to be the least endearing. Each of them are playing ignorant jerks, but Rudd, Ferrell and Carell all have some sort of charm to their characters. But Koechner has just found a niche of playing this character over and over and over again. I don’t enjoy watching him do it on The Office, and I don’t love watching him do it here. Although I did recently watch F is for Family where he voices Bob Pogo, a character who is still stupid, sexist and rude, but there’s something about the way he plays off of Bill Burr that makes him fun to watch in that. So he’s not all bad, but I’m personally not a fan of him in this.
  • The original pitch for this movie was to have a team of seventies news anchors in a plane with a bunch of monkeys and throwing stars. The plane would crash on an island and bloody mayhem and action would follow. No studio was willing to do that, because it’s a ridiculous and unfilmable idea, so they made this instead. I would have liked to see the original though.
  • Will Ferrell was always making Paul Rudd break on set with ridiculous improved lines, and he wanted to get him back. So he came up with the “Sixty percent of the time, it works every time” line, thinking he’d get him for sure. But Will Ferrell fired back “That doesn’t make sense” without skipping a beat and made Paul Rudd start laughing again.
  • I do love the other cologne options that Will Ferrell suggests: London Gentleman and Blackbeard’s Delight. Ridiculous and hilarious.
  • The names of all the characters in this movie are fantastic. Vince Vaughn’s character is named Wes Mantooth. Which is probably the best name of any fictional character I’ve ever heard.
  • I’ve only seen this a few times, but I always forget that when Ron and Veronica have sex for the first time, there’s a weird but short animated sequence of Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate riding unicorns. So yeah.
  • I’m sure everyone has their own favorite bit of this movie, but mine has to be when Ron, Brick, Brian, and Champ sing Afternoon Delight today. If you haven’t seen the movie, watch that scene. It’s very good.
  • I know Ron is meant to be a complete idiot that’s difficult to root for, but I’m glad that they seemed to go out of their way to give him a love interest that is still a good character in her own right. And Christina Applegate is great as Veronica Corningstone.
  • The turning point of the movie is, of course, when Ron throws a burrito out his car window while driving and hits a leather-clad biker played by Jack Black, who then decides to punt Ron’s beloved dog Baxter off a bridge. Ron is distraught and races to the station, while Veronica reads the news in his absence. I’m not entirely sure why he runs back to the station, because he was in his car at the time. Did he just abandon his car? And Veronica’s time as anchor is very successful and leads her to become co-anchor.
  • I’ve never noticed this before, but at one point they show the credits for the Channel 4 News Team, and two of the writers credited are Jon Hamm and Adam Scott. I don’t know why they’re credited, because they aren’t in the movie at all. I guess they just decided to throw in the names of a couple of incredibly talented actors for no reason.
  • Oh good. We’ve arrived at the weird and inexplicably violent fight scene between Ron’s team, Wes Mantooth’s team, and a bunch of other news teams. There’s Channel 4 News, which is Ron, Evening News, which is Wes, Channel 2 News, led by Luke Wilson, Public News, led by some random guy, and Spanish Language News, led by famous hispanic actor Ben Stiller. I’m still not sure why this scene is in the movie, because it has no real significance to the plot of the film. But I’m not going to complain. It’s funny. At one point two guys on horses net Brian Fantana, and then Brick throws a trident at a guy. Brick also has a hand grenade that I don’t think he ever actually uses. They basically replicate it in the sequel, but twenty times more insane.
  • Kathryn Hahn is in this as just some random woman who works at Channel 4 and barely has any lines. She’s great in everything, obviously, and her character actually helps ruin Ron’s life for a little while. But it’s great to see that she started here and now her insane talent is being acknowledged.
  • I’d like to acknowledge how incredibly talented the late great Fred Willard is, and how great he is in this as the studio head Ed Harken. He has a funny subplot about his son becoming increasingly murderous at his school, but it only takes place over the course of three or four phone calls that escalate more and more each time.
  • Oh hey, Danny Trejo is in this.
  • Fun fact: Paul Rudd’s hair and mustache in this movie are 100% real. Every time he does a movie where he has to have weird hair or facial hair that he can grow, he grows it for real.
  • I completely forgot that the climax of this movie is just the news team fighting bears together.
  • It is weird that they did a sequel, because they say what happens to all the characters at the end. But anyway, it’s a good and ridiculous movie.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10(It isn’t my favorite movie of all time, but I enjoyed it more on rewatch than I thought I would. It’s mostly just nice to see very talented people popping up in background roles. Chris Parnell and Seth Rogen both show up as guys who work for the studio, and they’re both extremely funny.)
Rudd Rating:
9.5/10(There are few actors who can play a man-child quite like Paul Rudd can, and there’s no denying that he’s excellent in this. He’s got some great iconic lines, too. Good for him!)

I decided to include the sequel in this, because it’s essentially just the same movie from what I can remember. We’ll see if I change my mind after rewatching it.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues(2013) stars Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Judah Nelson, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Fred Willard, Chris Parnell, Dylan Baker, Meagan Good, Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Greg Kinnear, and Harrison Ford. It also features appearances from Will Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Marion Cotillard, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, John C. Reilly, Vince Vaughn, and Liam Neeson.

I hadn’t really seen anything similar to these movies back when I watched them for the first time, but as I’ve gotten older and watched other movies that try and fail to replicate this formula, I’ve been able to appreciate them for what they are. I don’t remember loving the sequel when I first saw it, but I don’t remember liking the first one that much either. I do know that one day when I was in sixth grade I turned on the TV and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues was playing. I think there was some weird montage where Ron Burgundy walked around in a fur coat and fought a shark? I can’t remember. But a year later I was on a canoe portaging trip with this camp, out in the middle of nowhere. And I woke up before everyone else and started walking around. I was in this beautiful forest area, but for some reason all I could think about was the beginning of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. This continued to happen until I finally watched the movie in full. For years I would just be walking around, minding my business, and then suddenly I’d find myself unable to think about anything else. So my brain seems to think this movie is more important than I do.

  • He does fight a shark and wear a fur coat! I remembered correctly.
  • Ron and Veronica are still doing the news where they were at the end of the movie. I’m glad they have the continuity of it all intact.
  • Oh look, it’s Harrison Ford playing himself! Except everyone is calling him Mack Tannen, despite the fact that he’s just playing himself. So Mack Tannen just fired Ron and promoted Veronica. And Ron insists that Veronica can either stay with Ron or accept the job, despite him seemingly becoming less petulant and jealous at the end of the last movie. They’re also married and have a son. So he of course ends up out on his ass.
  • Six months later, Ron is fired from Sea World and tries to kill himself. But he fails and is approached by Dylan Baker, who is starting a new news network that runs for 24 hours a day. So Ron goes to reassemble the team.
  • Champ owns a chicken restaurant that doesn’t actually serve chicken. It serves deep-fried bats. He joins Ron and they go find Brian, who has become a famed and rich cat photographer, but he agrees to rejoin the team because New York has all nude strip clubs. Brick, unfortunately, is dead. Or at least people think he’s dead. Supposedly he drowned trying to pet a bird at sea. At this point we get a cameo from Fred Willard and Chris Parnell’s characters. Mere seconds after they give their eulogy at his funeral, Brick gives his own eulogy for himself. So now the whole team is back together.
  • While driving back to New York in Ron’s Winnebago and reminiscing about good times, Brian realizes that nobody is driving. Because Ron seems to think that cruise control means autopilot. Soon the Winnebago turns over itself seven times, sending the bowling balls, deep fat fryer oil, and terrarium full of scorpions into the faces of the news team.
  • I’ve been over-explaining so far, because after this the movie follows mostly the same general plot points of the first. Ron and the team meet their new boss, Linda Jackson, who Ron is very surprised to see is black. For a while the two of them fight over how to do the news, and eventually they start dating.
  • The best part of this movie is Jack Lime, the lead anchor of GNN, the new station that Ron works for. Jack Lime is played by the great and under-appreciated James Marsden, and he’s so hilarious and charming. I love that guy. And then Ron makes him change his name to Jack Lame after he loses a bet. Because there needs to be another male anchor for him to clash with, just like the last movie.
  • The worst part is that Brick is given far too much screen time. Him saying ridiculous and idiotic non sequiturs was funny in the first movie. But just like everything else in the world, they took a good and funny thing and went overboard with it. He says way too many stupid things in this movie and I don’t consider any of it to be funny. They also put Kristen Wiig in this movie as a very similar love interest. There is a funny scene where they switch Brick’s weather map to green screen on Saint Patrick Day, so he has a mental breakdown because he’s wearing green pants and the monitor makes it look like he has no legs.
  • There’s also an incredibly awkward sequence where Linda brings Ron to a family dinner and he acts completely stupid and intolerant the whole time. I had to skip it this time because I can’t handle crap like that. I don’t think it’s funny at all.
  • Oh, and by the way, Judah Nelson, the actor that played Ron’s son, has hopefully become a better actor since doing this movie. Because he’s one of the worst child actors I’ve ever seen. So goddamn annoying and talentless.
  • Halfway through the movie, Ron is ice skating in front of a large crowd, only to be tripped by an electrical cord thrown by Jack Lame. When he falls he knocks his ocular nerves apart and goes blind.
  • This movie is okay, but it’s also pretty stupid.
  • Veronica leaves her job and her boyfriend Gary, played by Greg Kinnear with a ponytail, to be there for Ron and help make his relationship with his son better. But then Veronica learns that Ron can get his sight back but starts erasing all the doctor’s messages so Ron doesn’t find out because life is better now.
  • Ron brings GNN crashing to the ground and runs to see his son’s piano recital. But he’s stopped on the way by a much larger recreation of the news anchor battle from the last movie. So we’ve got Ron vs Jack Lime and his team, Sacha Baron Cohen leading the BBC news team, the MTV news crew, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey and the Entertainment Tonight crew, Jim Carrey leading the Canadian News team, Marion Cotillard and the Quebec News team, and Will Smith, as an ESPN reporter. Plus Liam Neeson leading the History Network team with John C Reilly playing the ghost of Stonewall Jackson. And a minotaur. Oh, and Harrison Ford shows up and turns into a were-hyena? But he thinks Star Wars movies are stupid. I thought I imagined all of this before. Kirsten Dunst is playing someone named El Trousias Maiden of the Clouds. It’s all very stupid. And I’m positive they were all filming from different locations. By the way, Ron spends the whole movie accusing Gary of being psychic. He shows up in the middle of the battle and reveals that he is, in fact, telekinetic.
  • Oh yay! Wes Mantooth is back!
  • But I think he’s dead now. So that sucks.
  • How is this a weirder movie than the last one?
  • And now he’s fighting the shark. Great.

Overall Rating: 6/10(Again, the movie is fine. But it’s not great to rewatch. I didn’t love the first movie when I first watched it, and now I think it’s fun. This one has a lot of redeeming qualities, but a lot of dumb things too. But overall it’s fine.)
Rudd Rating: 10/10(I think he’s actually more good-looking in this. He isn’t given much to do unfortunately, but he’s still funny and good-looking.)

Again, I’d like to apologize for the delay on this one. It almost definitely wasn’t worth the month-long wait, but it’s here.

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