Can you remember a time before you knew every line in "Anchorman" by heart? A moment when all those jokes were brand new and hadn't yet been plastered on t-shirts and inducted into everyday jargon? I certainly couldn't -- until I had the pleasure of watching the film with my little sister, for our latest installment of Sibling Revivalry.
This month's pick was inspired by the brand-new sequel to director Adam McKay's 2004 classic. The original is so beloved and widely circulated that even I, knowing my little sister's storied penchant for avoiding movies, was shocked she hadn't yet been introduced to Will Ferrell's hilarious Ron Burgundy.
So, before you head out to join the Channel 6 news team's hijinks again in "Anchorman 2," take a trip down memory lane by vicariously experiencing the original. Here's what my sister had to say after her first viewing of "Anchorman," nine years after its release.
Ron Burgundy's Greatest Hits
During the film's rapid-fire opening sequence featuring Burgundy's preparations before going on air, my sister scrunched her face and asked solemnly, "What's wrong with this guy?" Eventually, she understood his twisted logic, and admitted he was her favorite character (Steve Carell's Brick Tamland was a close second, because he was "So insanely clueless!") It was hard for my sister to choose a favorite Burgundy moment ("They're all pretty great!" she protested), but when pressed, she listed a few. "I like how he talks to his dog. I like how he's ridiculous about picking up women. The teleprompter gags with 'Go f-ck yourself, San Diego' and 'I'm Ron Burgundy?' were awesome. And when he talked to Baxter about pooping in the fridge and eating the cheese wheel, I almost couldn't breathe I was laughing so hard."
The Less Flattering Side of Ron
"Ron is an ugly crier, which is a funny gag, but he's kind of a really ugly everything," my sister said. "It's true, and you know it!" During the film's opening sequence, she yelled, "His hair looks like a helmet! It's like 'Spaceballs'!" She then went on to lambast a key scene where Burgundy attempts to woo Channel 6's new female reporter, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) "Dude, it's one thing to have your shirt off," she said. "It's another thing to have your shirt off and be all doughy and pasty and hairy and think that it looks good, then call your arms 'guns' when your muscles are barely bigger than mine! I know the whole point is that you're supposed to have this reaction, but I'm just going to reiterate: There's nothing good about that package."
High Praise for the Players
My sister called all of the actors "super-human" for being able to keep a straight face during scenes, especially Applegate, who had to play serious alongside all the comedians. "I bet her cheeks hurt every day from laughing between takes," she said. Ferrell received the highly-coveted, "He's real good!" reaction, and when I asked if she'd seen any of his other films, my sister responded, "I've seen him in that movie where he goes streaking." She went on to decree, "We should only do Will Ferrell movies for Sibling Revivalry from now on, because this is the only kind of thing I actually like." Would you guys be cool with that?
What's in a Name?
When I explained the process by which the "Anchorman" writing team came up with their character's names, which were gleaned from real-life anchor names across the country, my sister wasn't all that surprised. "All anchors have ridiculously fake names," she said. "That's why this movie is so funny, because it's kind of true. We all think news anchors are ridiculous! The way they speak, the way they look, their names." Not relegating her wrath to on-camera talent, my sister turned on me. "Your name is so rhymey! What were our parents thinking? I mean, really Katie -- your name's not good." In an attempt to divert her critique, I took to an online anchor name generator. My sister's: Sally Michaels. "Ugh, I'm so not a Sally!" she exclaimed. Mine: Paige Michaels-which my sister noted as, "Way better than your real name, seriously."
If Any Subject Could Get the 'Anchorman' Treatment...
The brilliance of "Anchorman" is that it shines a satirical light on a relatively commonplace profession. My sister found that particularly fantastic, which led me to ask who she'd like McKay, Ferrell, and team to skewer next. "I think TSA people are ridiculous," she said. "They should definitely make a movie about them! They get such a power trip out of their jobs that it would just be awesome to make a mockery of it in a comedy film. I mean, they piss me off so much every time I fly and I know everybody else feels that way, so it'd be a guaranteed hit!"
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"Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" is in theater now.