Need I say more?
Need I say more?
Took the kids in to see this today, and went with very low expectations. I didn't mind the first Anchorman, but I didn't love it either. It struck me as maybe half a dozen decent Saturday Night Live sketches strung together with more of a thematic link than a narrative one. Appropriate really, since the period in which it was set, the 1970s, was something of a high water mark for sketch comedy cinema. Think Flying High or The Kentucky Fried Movie. Actually, don't think about The Kentucky Fried Movie. It's sort of undermines my whole high water mark thesis.
But Thomas wanted to see the Anchorman sequel, probably because of the amazing job Will Ferrell has done injecting it into mass consciousness over the past couple of months. I let him rent the first movie on iTunes the other day and being an eleven-year-old boy, he loved it. So, what the hell? I figured I'd go with him.
I owe Mister Ferrell an apology for ever doubting his comedic or sequential chops. It is rare of course to encounter a sequel that surpasses the source material and it is all but unique when the source material wasn't that strong to begin with. So little interest did I have in this movie I even broke my own rule about reading reviews before seeing it.
Most of the reviewers seemed to get a few chuckles and consider it worth dropping your dollar for the big screen experience. Most reviewers are morons. This is a really, really good film. It far exceeds both the satiric and narrative vision of its forerunner, working at a number of levels both as a comedy and as a deconstruction of the malaise of the modern news media.
It's funny. Let's just get that settled up front. It's really fucking funny in its particulars, the hundreds of little jokes peppered through the script, and it's funny in the metanarrative of Ron Burgundy's redemption as a harbinger of civilizational decline.
American humor is often critiqued as loud and brash, two-dimensional, as being all tip and no iceberg, but only by morons or a certain type of cultural commentator from the UK, or wishing they were from the UK. In Anchorman 2, Ferrell and his ensemble cast give us a master class in writing and performing comedy with wildly different layers of meaning, intent and sophistication. From Steve Carell's absurdist shihan, Brick Tamland – a tour de force of post-Python silliness which reaches sublime heights in his double act with Kristen Wiig – to Josh Lawson's channeling the animal spirits of Rupert Murdoch there hardly seems to be a school of larfs which doesn't get a look in.
None of this would lift the sequel above the original were not for the obvious care Farrell and Co. have taken with the larger story. This was what I didn't expect, and it's what brings all of the jokes together for an unexpected payoff. Anchorman 2 is not just a scarifyingly talented comedy troupe working through some highly polished zingers. It is a savage takedown of the dumbing down of the electronic news media. This could have been a worthy and ultimately woeful exercise in finger wagging but never once does the script even veer in that direction. The cold cruelty of the judgment is all the funnier for being delivered without potentiousness or fake sentimentality. Not that Burgundy simply reprises his role as a giant joke vending machine this time around. The final triumph is that he manages all of the above while Ferrell's much loved cult creation goes on a genuine hero's journey.
Go see it. You won't be disappointed. And if you are disappointed, then fuck you, you're dead to me.
This looks cool.
Mad props for the Wayne's Worlds reference.
Strewth, it's finally here.
Continuing this week's unscheduled Star Wars festival here at the Burger.
Like most families we have all the Star Wars vids on DVD and they get a regular thrashing over the school holidays. It's been years since i've bothered to sit down and watch them with the kids (which means Thomas, really) but I'm thinking that when I get off deadline (Ha!) I might give them another go. A marathon, indeed, but in the order suggested by Nicholas Carlson in this article at Business Insider:
There is only one proper way to watch the series, and it’s not from Episode 1 to Episode 6. There are lots of story arcs in the Star Wars saga that matter. The one that matters most, and every movie touches on, is the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker, also known as Darth Vader, also known as Luke’s dad.
Because of that, the best order to watch the movies is the original Star Wars, then Empire Strikes Back, then the second prequel, then the third, and then final movie in the original trilogy, Return of The Jedi.
Watched that way, you get a story that introduces a hero and a terrible all-powerful monster, reveals that the monster is the hero’s father, goes back in time to show how the father became a monster, and ends with the monster redeeming himself.
It’s a deeply resonant narrative framework — full of allusions to eras gone by and foreshadowing of drama to come.