“I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal.”
Ron Burgundy, Anchorman
I just watched Anchorman for the first time in a few years. There may be some artistic or social subtext there, but it is really just a monumentally stupid and funny movie. I’ve been watching the news, living in Trump America, and I need laughs.
So I checked out some reviews from when it was first released in 2004. Most reviewers liked it and thought it was a monumentally stupid and funny movie.
And then I found Stephen Hunter’s review in the Washington Post. I quote it here because his description of Ron Burgundy and his colleagues reminded me so much of somebody else.
Oh, yeah, I love lamp.
On the Spot News
By Stephen Hunter
Friday, July 9, 2004
Over the past century, film geniuses have erected many a cathedral of style, solemn structures of tradition and cohesion, the highest projection of the imagination: Swedish Realism, German Expressionism, Spanish Poetic Realism, Italian Neorealism, Danish Dogmatism.
To this hallowed list does Will Ferrell’s “Anchorman” petition for admission. Its contribution: San Diego Neo-Infantilism….
The source of much mirth in “Anchorman” isn’t just the self-deluding Burgundy himself — though Ferrell is typically brilliant at projecting a character without a shred of inner life or self-awareness — but also his little coterie of on-air stud boys. They see themselves as four horsemen outlined against a diamond-blue, eternal April sky, but of course they’re really four horses’ asses on a one-way trip toward oblivion. Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd with his own Royal Air Force mustache; why did guys then think that was so cool?) is Mr. Cologne; he knows the right man-perfume dabbed on his neck gets him to chick heaven. Steven Carell is Brick Tamland, the weatherman, whose IQ approaches that of the object for which he’s named and whose continual inability to understand reality is endlessly funny. Finally, sports guy Champ Kind (David Koechner) wears ten-gallon hats, makes poo-poo faces and boo-boo sound effects for comic relief among the guys (how unfunny they are is really funny) and is secretly gay.
The men fight the ascension of Veronica and the new woman she represents; the joke is how ridiculously inefficient their campaign is and how utterly it’s ignored by station management (Fred Willard and Chris Parnell). The guys, it turns out, have no chops, no arguments, no resources, no skills, nothing except the maleness that has been at the center of their entitlement their whole lives. (emphasis added)