Step Off: Anchorman Is Better Than These 14 Classic Movies
Today’s top story is one of the more remarkable things ever to happen to San Diego. Or even the world. Here’s the headline: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, that Will Ferrell/Adam McKay cinematic treasure, is more than just one of Cracked’s top fifty comedies of the past fifty years. It is also unequivocally, inarguably, and justifiably better than at least 14 other movies considered “classics” by cinephiles and other pretentious jerkwads. Don’t believe us? Here’s the proof and if you want to throw down, we’ve got Jack Johnson and Tom O’Leary waiting for you.
Anchorman is a better behind-the-scenes look at broadcast news than Broadcast News
Look, James L. Brooks's Broadcast News is a beloved, Oscar-nominated rom-com. But as far as a realistic look at how television news really works? Both movies understand that self-infatuated anchors with nominal IQs are the engine that drives your local newscast. But it's Anchorman that nails the rest of the inner workings of TV journalism, from petty inter-station rivalries to drinking on the job to dumb-as-a-brick weathermen.
Anchorman has more to say about masculinity than Fight Club.
Forget Tyler Durden and his whining about the bitter fate of modern masculinity. It’s all just an excuse to take off his shirt and get sweaty with friends. In truth, it’s Ron Burgundy (along with Brian Fontana and Champ Kind) who honestly wrestle with evolving sexual and gender mores. “It is anchor MAN, not anchor LADY,” argues Champ in the film’s first act, but by the story’s end, he’s cheering for a matured Ron’s acceptance of the concept of “co-anchor.” In fact, Ron and Veronica are more than co-anchors. They’re co-people.
Anchorman captures the 1970s better than Argo.
Ben Affleck reportedly spent a crazy amount of time with set designers and costumers to accurately reflect the polyester-woven texture of 1970s life. He needn’t have bothered. Seventies perfection had already been achieved, and God looked down and pronounced it “the Channel 4 News Team.”
Anchorman breaks into unexpected song better than Beetlejuice.
OK, we’ll admit it -- we’re suckers for the “Day O!” song break in Beetlejuice. But it’s more of a spooky adventure in lip-sync as the characters channel the undead calypso strains of Harry Belafonte. That just can’t compare with the actual cast’s tight “Afternoon Delight” harmonies and skyrocketing sound effects. If you didn’t understand the concept of love before? Well, you do now, compadre.
Anchorman is a better Adam McKay movie than Don’t Look Up.
Four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture? Please. Don’t Look Up was released right in the middle of the pandemic, one of about, oh, four movies released in 2021. The universal reaction was “meh,” as evidenced by critics’ 56% on Rotten Tomatoes. (Anchorman, “just a comedy,” rates 10 points higher, and audiences have it at 86%.)
Tell us about the last time any of your friends sat around a party sharing favorite catchphrases from Don’t Look Up. We’ll wait.
Anchorman flaunts the beauty of San Diego better than Top Gun.
If naval training centers are your thing, then sure, Top Gun shows off some of the glamour of San Diego. But for a movie that really knows how to romance a city? No one does it for San Diego like Anchorman.
And while Tom Cruise set hearts a-racing in those beach volleyball scenes, does he really look better than Ron Burgundy inviting Veronica to the gun show?
Anchorman’s Baxter is a more faithful dog companion than Marley and Me
Let’s face it, Marley is kind of an a-hole. His own owner calls him “the worst dog in the world.” The pooch tears through screen doors, chews UPS packages to shreds, and ruins baseball games. Pretty much four-legged destruction. Compare Marley to Baxter, the dog who can poop in a refrigerator, survive a punt over a bridge, and defend the entire news team from a bear attack. Are you kidding? No contest.
Anchorman is a better commentary on the corrupting influence of fame than A Star is Born
Poor Jackson Maine. The country singer is crushed by the weight of maintaining his fame, a long, slow tumble fueled by drugs and alcohol. But Maine’s anguish can’t compare with the utter despair of Ron Burgundy, a man who had it all -- fame, sex, dog -- only to lose it with one simple “Go f*** yourself, San Diego.” It’s enough to put a man in a glass case of emotion.
Anchorman is more fun than What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape was lauded for its sensitive portrayal of Arnie, a mentally impaired young man played by Oscar-nominated Leonard DiCaprio. That’s all well and good, but Arnie wasn’t nearly as fun as Brick Tamland, the Channel 4 weatherman with an IQ of 48. Whether he’s extending an invitation to the pants party, killing a guy with a trident, or simply loving lamp, we’ll watch Brick over Arnie any day.
Anchorman has better sex scenes than Showgirls
Despite its racy reputation, the sex scenes in Showgirls are stilted and emotionless, more of an acrobatics exhibition than a display of passionate love. But when Veronica implores Ron to “take me to Pleasure Town” in Anchorman? Rarely has big-screen cinema been more erotic. Cue the Tom Jones!
Anchorman shows that good times don’t last forever better than Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights’ Jack Horner should have seen it coming. Home video was about to knock pornography out of movie theaters, and no amount of artistic integrity was going to keep the hits coming for the 70s adult film director. But he wasn’t as blind to the future as the Channel 4 News Team, a group that believes that good fortune will continue forever. After topping the local ratings once again, the gang gathers for a groupie-infested pool party. “I’m telling you,” says Brian (the Bri-Man) Fontana. “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”
“We’ve been coming to the same party for 12 years now,” agrees Ron. “And in no way is that depressing.” Little does he know that everything is about to change.
Anchorman has a better gang fight than West Side Story
Both movie versions of West Side Story were nominated for Best Picture, but when it comes to gang fights? West Side Story only had the Jets and the Sharks. Pathetic! How can that compare to a bilingual bloodfest between the Channel 4 News Team, Wes Mantooth’s Evening News Team, Channel 2 News, Public News Team, and Spanish Language News? Five gangs are always better than two. Let’s dance, dickweed.
Anchorman seduces with a flute better than American Pie
Who knows, Jim might still be a virgin on a couch if Alyson Hannigan’s Michelle didn’t get a little forward about her fluency with band instruments. Sure, it worked -- young Jim would have responded to just about any come-on. But it took a Burgundy virtuoso performance on the jazz flute to convince Ms. Corningstone that a night of romance was in the offing.
Anchorman confronted a bear better than The Revenant
We’ll spare you the gruesome video clip. Suffice it to say, The Revenant’s Leonardo DiCaprio gets his ass royally kicked by a bear. We mean, it wasn’t even close! If there’s ever a rematch, put all the mortgage money on the bear and thank us later.
The Channel 4 News Team, on the other hand, more than holds its own against multiple beasts. Brian Fontana gets in a few good licks and Champ is no worse for wear after getting tossed around by a unfriendly creature. And to the brave Brick Tamland, a bear is no more threatening than a furry tractor.
In the end, it’s Baxter (again, much better than Marley) showing Leonardo that the best way to defeat a bear is to befriend it.
There’s a lesson there for all of us.
For more ComedyNerd, be sure to check out:
Saturday Night Live: Our Fearless Predictions for Season 48
Seinfeld: 15 Times George & Jerry Were Just The Worst
Heavy Meta: Sitcoms to Watch Before Reboot
For ComedyNerd exclusive content and more, subscribe to our fancy newsletter:
Top image: Apatow Productions