Anchorman 2: Is Will Ferrell Still the Star? (Part 1 of 2)

By: Christopher O’Brien

Apparently the Anchorman 2 teaser trailer came out a month ago. Today was my first time seeing it.

Up until about three years ago, I had a Midland Cinemas ticket stub from the original Anchorman buried in my tri-fold, velcro, Super Mario wallet. I’m not sure why I held on to this and, more importantly, I wish I knew why I gave up on this wallet. Some nonsense about growing up.

The date on the wrinkled up, faded green stub read: July 9, 2004. Amazing how different the world is now.

For starters, I would have been heading into my freshman year of high school. I remember the dominance this movie had all summer long in every possible conversation.

Hot day outside: It’s so damn hot. Milk was a bad choice!

Hanging out at the pool: Cannonball!

At the gym: Oh it’s a deep burn! I don’t know if you heard me counting, but I did over a thousand.

Preparing for a speech: Ow now brown cow, ow now brown cow

Any argument: That escalated quickly, I mean that really got out of hand fast

There was the Sex Panther scene, the singing of Afternoon Delight, “Knights of Columbus that hurt!”, Great Oden’s raven!”, “I’m not even mad, I’m impressed”, the list goes on and on. You can watch this movie ten times and keep finding hidden gems to quote with your friends.

Over a year after the movie’s release, I dressed up as Ron Burgundy for the annual Magazine Drive Assembly. I posted the photo on Myspace. Not Facebook, not Twitter, but Myspace. At that point in time, the other two really didn’t exist.

Word of advice, never revisit your Myspace page. My current profile picture is Heath Ledger’s Joker. This disturbs me on two accounts. One, apparently I held onto Myspace deep in to 2008. Two, I wanted strangers to associate me with the crazy villain in Batman.

In my defense, I do have a solid joker impression. It’s on par with my George W. Bush and leagues above my shaky (at best) Jack Nicholson and Bill Cosby.

My favorite thing about the Ron Burgundy photo post is one of the comments underneath from Sarah Katsoulos in 2008. She wrote:

“im guessing this is when livestrong braclets were cool. lol :)”

Out of all the layers of uncool, and I mean think about it, I posted a photo of myself, dressed up as Ron Burgundy, onto Myspace, but the only thing that really stood out as being uncool was my yellow Livestrong bracelet.

And it’s true! At some point the bracelet went from everyone and their cousin has one, to only a few people here and there, to eventually non-existent. I remember going into China Palace in Midland a couple years ago in a Livestrong t-shirt and got chewed out by a lady for supporting a doping cheat.

I wanted to get all self-righteous on her with some sort of, “Yeah, sorry for supporting cancer research and helping to save lives,” but the truth is, I was running out of clothes and this was the only non-smelly t-shirt lying around.

In 2004 Lance Armstrong was a hero, now his name is tainted. In 2004, Roger Clemens went 18-4 at the age of 41, but now very few people (with the exception of the jury yesterday) believe those numbers were clean. In 2004, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn were at the top of the comedy pecking order, but now…

Considering if all the actors come back for the sequel, I decided to rank the new comedic pecking order for Anchorman 2.

Honorable Mention: Chris Parnell

His character in the original Anchorman is best remembered for the hilarious “poop mouth” scene; an exchange that gets funnier each viewing.

Since Anchorman, Parnell’s been involved in a lot of big name comedy productions. The list includes 30 Rock, Archer, Saturday Night Live, 21 Jump Street, and The Dictator. He seems to have settled in as the guy from those wait-they-were-spying-on-us cell phone ads.

Parnell is always a solid casting call, does a great Tom Brokaw impression, but I think he has reached his ceiling in terms of movie stardom.

10. David Koechner aka Champ Kind

The first few times I saw Anchorman, Champ was quietly my favorite character. When I see him in other movies, I always expect him to be Champ Kind.

His career hasn’t taken off since 2004, but I think this is more indicative of his film choices (Final Destination 5 and Piranha 3DD are odd spots for a comedian) than on him as an actor. He’s crucial to the Channel 4 News Team and is the perfect guy to cast for any loud, beer drinking, but overall good intentioned middle aged guy.

9. Luke Wilson aka “Ah, I did not see that coming!” newscaster

In the 2000-2005 era, Luke Wilson had some good momentum going with Royal Tenenbaums, the Legally Blonde films, Old School, and then his part in Anchorman.

From 2006-07, the movies My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Idiocracy, and Vacancy tried Wilson out as a leading man. I liked two of those three movies, thought Wilson did a good job, but commercially these weren’t big hits (combined for about $50 million total in the U.S.).

In 2008-09, much like modern day Chris Parnell, Wilson started showing up in wireless phone ads.

But even at the peak of Luke Wilson’s success, I think he was still seen as, “Owen Wilson’s brother.” This is a hard situation to get out of, think Eli Manning living in Peyton’s shadow. I think it’s taken awhile to figure out what exactly we have in Luke Wilson. He’s not a leading man like his brother, but is a high quality fourth or fifth option in a major comedy.

8. Vince Vaughn aka Wes Mantooth

2003-05 was Vince Vaughn’s prime.

He played the leading man in Dodgeball, was part of one of the best comedic tandems of all time in Wedding Crashers (at least it seemed like it then, Wedding Crashers hasn’t aged particularly well), dominated his small roles in Starsky & Hutch, Anchorman, Be Cool, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, then even gained some indie cred with his role in the under-appreciated Thumbsucker.

Side note, if you haven’t seen it, go rent/Netflix Thumbsucker. Big names: Vince Vaughn, Keanu Reeves, and Tilda Swinton, in probably the best movie with ADHD as the subject matter.

The only explanation I have of why Vince Vaughn isn’t at the same level now is because of how fast the comedy landscape changes. He played the same Vince Vaughn character we loved in The Break-Up, Four ChristmasesCouple’s Retreat, and The Dilemma but we had moved on to the Apatow and  Hangover era.

Vince Vaughn has proven he can carry a movie, it’s just been awhile since his last big hit.

7. Jack Black aka Angry Motorcyclist

Not sure if Jack Black will be back for Anchorman 2. If he is, I have him ranked slightly above Vince Vaughn.

He has his leading man success with School of Rock. He played a big role in the comedy classic Tropic Thunder. He traveled the indie roads with Nacho Libre, Be Kind Rewind, and Envy. 

By the way, my definition of indie is basically any kind of artsy non-mainstream film.

What can’t be discredited is Jack Black’s success as the voice of Po in the Kung-Fu Panda films. I think this is Black’s best fit. As a leading man, it’s just a lot to handle at once. He pulls it off in School of Rock, doesn’t work so well in Gulliver’s Travels. As the voice of Po, it’s perfect.

I do need to see Black’s newish and well-reviewed film Bernie to see if Black can carry this dark comedy as the leading man.

Black’s not a superstar right now but I could see him re-emerging as a big name in the future with the right role.

6. Fred Armisen aka Club owner/guy who makes Ron eat poop

This may seem a little high, but I’m going with it.

If you could buy stock in comedians, Fred Armisen would be a really good investment right now. First of all, Andy Samberg and Kristiin Wiig are leaving SNL. This puts Armisen and Bill Hader as the new stars. Second, Armisen has really fine-tuned his Obama impression and will have plenty of chances to shine this election year. Third, he’s building his cult following with the show Portlandia. 

I don’t think Armisen’s destination is movie star. I see him thriving in the TV world and eventually getting his own late night show. Think of his SNL star route as more Jimmy Fallon than Adam Sandler.

This brings me to the end of Part 1. Check out the Top 5 in Part 2.

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One thought on “Anchorman 2: Is Will Ferrell Still the Star? (Part 1 of 2)

  1. Pingback: Anchorman 2: Is Will Ferrell Still the Star? (Part 2 of 2) | chistopherobrien

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