This is At the Buzzer’s countdown of the best 25 comedies of all-time. Our panel of 10 cast their votes, and we’ve been revealing the results one by one until today. Tomorrow, we’ll wrap everything up and look at the list as a whole.
And now, our number 1:
1) Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (7 votes, 434 points)
Brick, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you’re probably wanted for murder.
Chris: Our panel’s number one pick (and my own number one as well) ended up lapping the field. Anchorman flew past Happy Gilmore by more than 150 points — a first- and fourth-place vote’s worth. It received the second-most votes, being beaten only by Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It was the only film to earn multiple number ones. So while your mileage may vary, there’s little doubt that as far as our panel of 10 is concerned, Anchorman is the best.
This is my favorite comedy because I find almost all of it to be eminently quotable. Sure, there are some of the staples like a whale’s vagina and milk being a bad choice and I love lamp and being in a glass case of emotion. Those are great. But I find myself gravitating toward some of the more oddball stuff.
“I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.”
“Where did you get those clothes, at the….toilet….store?”
“Well, I could be wrong, but I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.”
“The following is based on actual events. Only the names, locations and events have been changed.”
Honestly, I think my favorite scene in the movie is the second of two prank calls that Ron pulls on Veronica in the office. It’s so childish and stupid, but I love it, especially “you’re pathetic.” Man.
Look, I just like this movie a lot. I enjoy Jack Black’s cameo. I love Fred Willard’s exasperation with the entire news team and his frequent phone calls for his delinquent son. This is the most tolerable that Chris Parnell has ever been for me (actually, that’s not true, because Lazy Sunday still exists). There’s some fun cameos from the likes of Ben Stiller and Luke Wilson and Danny Trejo. The jazz flute performance is wonderfully ridiculous.
I could list off a dozen other things, but ultimately this is the type of movie that you either get or you don’t. For someone like me who generally prefers quick, back-and-forth exchanges and subtle jokes you only get after a moment of reflection (like Brick spooning mayonnaise into a toaster), Anchorman scratched the itch perfectly. I’m glad to see it ended up as our number one.
Cary: Before Anchorman, the song “Afternoon Delight” used to conjure up images of well…y’know.
Well, whenever I hear it now, I think of Anchorman instead of what the song is actually about. I picture the cast (Brick most prominently, because he’s my favorite) belting out this song in pitch perfect harmonies at a moment in the movie when the audience least expects it. And it is a goddamn beautiful thing. THAT is the power of this movie.
Okay, so maybe its power also lies in the fact that the movie exudes a ton of charm and gracefulness in its adult-minded humor (even though one might not think to apply the words “charm” and “grace” to Ron Burgundy, himself). When you think about how well the movie flows from one plot point to the next, it embraces silliness and seriousness together, and it treats the world of Ron Burgundy as fact rather than happenstance. This lends to the overall believability of Burgundy’s character and those of his compatriots. And there’s also no pervading sense of meanness to undermine Burgundy’s actions. Sure, he’s a giant ass who needs to be put in his place, but Will Ferrell imbued him with such a brilliant sense of self that it’s impossible to not root for him.
Humanity itself, in all its graciously fallibility, can make for the best comedies, And there’s no better display of what it means to be a human – a dumb, egotistical, and righteous human – than in Anchorman.
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