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Face-Off: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy vs. Step Brothers

11.21.2017by: Matt Rooney
Welcome back, cinematic hedonists! I hope you're ready to have your sides tickled this week because this session is all about the funny. There are plenty of beloved comedies out there that we could compare, but there are no two out with as much talent behind or as many quotable lines as this week's combatants: ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BRUGANDY and STEP BROTHERS

Both are the brainchildren of director Adam McKay and star Will Ferrell, who bonded while working together on SNL. With ANCHORMAN they put out their first movie together, establishing relationships between the actors and their director that remain just as strong today, making bigger stars out of Ferrell, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd. With STEP BROTHERS, McKay and Ferrell reunited, but instead of working with a big ensemble like with ANCHORMAN and TALLADEGA NIGHTS, the duo of Ferrell and John C. Reilly were given the stage to create comedy magic.

Both films are loved comedy hits, and both are among the most quoted movies of the modern age, but this is not a shared trophy we're giving out. This a battle of the best comedy, and now it's time to see which one truly has the stuff to make us laugh till be die.

ENSEMBLE CAST
Will Ferrell as Ron Burgandy
Christina Applegate as Veronica Corningstone
Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana
Steve Carell as Brink Tamland
David Koechner as Champ Kind
Fred Willard as Ed Harkin
Chris Parnell as Garth Holliday
Vince Vaughn as Wes Mantooth
Kathryn Hahn as Helen
Fred Armisen as Tino

Plus tons of cameos

Will Ferrell as Brennan Huff
John C. Reilly as Dale Doback
Mary Steenburgen as Nancy Huff
Richard Jenkins as Robert Doback
Adam Scott as Derek Huff
Kathryn Hahn as Alice
Andrea Savage as Denise
COMEDIC PREMISE
Taking place in the 70s, Ron Burgandy and his news team are living the high life as San Diego's most beloved local news team, but soon feel threatened when a confident female reporter, Veronica, comes in to shake things up. Hilarious chaos ensues as Ron and Veronica fall for each other only to fall apart. Gender roles and the patriarchy are challenged, great men fall, and news teams fight in the back alleys.
Two near-40-year-old men, Brennan and Dale, are still living at home with their single parents when suddenly said parents decide to get married. The two man-children must then live under the same roof as their immature egos begin to clash. They've both refused to grow up and continue to lean on their parents for support. Mentally trapped in their teenage years, they bicker over drumsets, and have petty arguments about who's better at karate. But soon they form a bond of true brotherhood as they discover they are kindred spirits. Why argue about who's better at karate when you can just go into the garage and break shit together?
NOTABLE BITS & LINES

Ron: "I look good. I mean really good. Hey, everyone! Come and see how good I look!"

Ron's Pre-Air Moments

The Channel 4 News Team

Ron: "You stay classy, San Diego."

Ron: "Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I've just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story. I need all of you to stop what you're doing and listen....Cannonball!!!"

Meet the Team

Brian: "I know what you're thinking and the answer is yes; I have a nickname for my penis. It's called the Octagon. But I also named my testes; the left one is James Westfall, and the right one is Dr. Kenneth Noisewater. You ladies play your cards right you might get to meet the whole gang.

Champ: "WHAMMY!"

Brick: "...Years later, a doctor will tell me I have an IQ of 48 and am what some people call "mentally retarded."

Veronica Corningstone

Ron: "I don't know how to put this but I'm kind of a big deal...I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany."

Ron: "I wanna say something. I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. I want to be on you."

Ron and Baxter

Ron: "Come again? You know I don't speak Spanish. In English, please."

Ron: "What? You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole... wheel of cheese? How'd you do that? Heck, I'm not even mad; that's amazing."

Hungover

Champ: [Uncut Version] "I woke up this morning and I shit a squirrel. I mean it, literally. Hell of it is, damn thing's still alive. So I got this shit-covered squirrel down there in the office. Don't know what to name it."

    Brick: "Oh, I'm sorry, Champ. I think I ate your chocolate squirrel."

Champ: "What the hell's diversity?"

    Ron: "Well, I could be wrong, but I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship used during the Civil War era."

The New Reporter

Outrage!

Brick: "I don't know what we're yelling about!

    Ron:"She... Sh... It's terrible. She has beautiful eyes, and her hair smells like cinnamon."

    Brick: "Loud noises!"

Brick: "I read somewhere their periods attract bears. Bears can smell the menstruation."

    Brian: "Well, that's just great. You hear that, Ed? Bears. Now you're putting the whole station in jeopardy."

Wes Mantooth and the Evening News Team

Champ: " I will smash your face into a car windshield, and then take your mother, Dorothy Mantooth, out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again."

    Wes: "Dorothy Mantooth is a Saint!"

Brick: "Where'd you get your clothes... from the... toilet store?"

Courting Corningstone

Sex Panther

Brian: "60% of the time, it works everytime."

Brick's Pants Party

Veronica: "Brick, are you saying that there's a party in your pants and that I'm invited?"

Ron's Gun Show

Ron: "Ohh, it's the deep burn. Oh, it's so deep. Oh, I can barely lift my right arm 'cause I did so many. I don't know if you heard me counting. I did over a thousand."

Optical Pants Illusion

Ron: "Don't act like you're not impressed."

Panda Watch

Brian: "Hey, you're making me look stupid. Get out here, Panda Jerk!"

Ron: "I'm Ron Burgandy?"

Ron and Veronica's Date

Ron: "It's a fact it's the greatest city in the history of mankind. Discovered by the Germans in 1904, the named it "San Diago" which of course in German means a "A Whale's Vagina."

Jazz Flute

Pleasure Town

Ron Confesses His Love

Brick: "I love lamp."

    Ron: "Do you really love the lamp, or are you just saying it because you saw it?"

    Brick: "I love lamp. I love lamp."

Afternoon Delight

Champ ReallyMisses Ron

Champ: "We need you. Hell, I need you. I'm a mess without you. I miss you so damn much! I miss being with you. I miss being near you. I miss your laugh! I miss your scent. I miss your musk... When this all gets sorted out, I think you and me should get an apartment together!"

Ron: "...And then our children will form a family band. And we will tour the countryside and you won't be invited!"

The Burrito Incident ft. Jack Black

Punted Baxter

Ron in Hysterics

Ron: "I'm in a glass case of emotion!"

Co-Anchor Veronica

Announcer: "You're watching Channel 4 News with five-time Emmy award-winning anchor Ron Burgundy and Tits McGee."

    Veronica: "Good evening, San Diego. I'm Veronica Corningstone. Tits McGee is on vacation."

    Ron: "And I'm Tits... I'm Ron Burgundy."

Trash Talk During the Credits

News Fight!

Ron: "Brick, where did you get a hand grenade?"

    Brick: "I don't know."

Brick's Trident

Luke Wilson's Arm

Ron: "Boy, that escalated quickly."

Ron v. Veronica

Ron: "You are a smelly pirate hooker!"

    Veronica: "You look like a blueberry!"

    Ron: "Why don't you go back to your home on Whore Island?"

    Veronica: "Well, you have bad hair."

Veronica's Plan

Ron:"And I'm Ron Burgandy. Go fuck yourselves, San Diego."

Ron: "Great Odin's Raven!"

Garth: "You were my hero Ron! Why'd you have to say that? You come out with stink like that. Poop. You poopmouth, with poop out of your mouth!

Destitute Ron

Eat the Cat Poop!

Ron: "It's so damn hot! Milk was a bad choice!"

Panda Time!

Bar Talk ft. Danny Trejo

Veronica in the Bear Pit

Ron: "NEWS TEAM - ASSEMBLE!!!!"

Brian: "Ron, I know it sounds harsh, but God does not want her to live."

Bear Fight

Brick: "Hey, Ron. I'm riding a furry tractor."

Luke Wilson's Other Arm

Baxter to the Rescue

The Future of The News Team

National Anchors

Ron: "You stay classy, planet earth."

Meet the Man-Babies

Dale: "But dad what if I want wings?!"

    Robert: "You don't need wings"

    Dale: "That's not enough dad!"

Robert and Nancy Meet

Brennan: "I didn't want salmon! I said it four times!"

Moving In

Brennan: "I'm not gonna call him dad."

    Nancy: Brennan, you're 39 years old, I would not expect you to call him dad."

    Brennan: "Well I'm not going to, ever! Even if there's a fire! Robert better not get in my face, cuz I'll drop that mother fucker"

Dale: "Dad, we're men. That means a few things - we like to shit with the door open, we talk about pussy, we go on riverboat gambling trips, and we make our own beef jerky. That's what we do, and now that is all wrecked!"

Dale: "Suppose Nancy sees me coming out of the shower and decides to come on to me. I'm looking good, got a luscious V of hair going through my chest pubes down to my ball fro. She takes one look at me and goes, " Oh, my God, I've had the old bull, now I want the young calf," and she grabs me by the weiner."

    Robert: Shut the fuck up!"

Face-to-Face

Dale: I'm Dale, but you have to call me Dragon."

    Brennan: "You have to call me Nighthawk."

Dinner Table/Fancy Sauce

Brennan: "That's cute. I remember when I had my first beer."

    Dale: "That's so funny! Last time I heard that I laughed so hard I fell off my dinosaur!"

The Drumset

The Talent Show

Bedtime

Dale: "The only reason you're living here is because me and my dad decided your mom was really hot, and maybe we should just both bang her. We'll just put up with the retard in the meantime."

    Brennan: "Who's the retard?"

    Dale: "You are."

    Brennan: "Hey you don't say that!

Dale: "You and your mom are hillbillies. This is a house of learned doctors"

    Brennan: "You're not a doctor; you're a big, fat, curly-headed fuck!"

Brennan: "I'm gonna get a pillowcase, fill it with bars of soap, and beat the shit out of you."

The Battle is On

Brennan Rocks the Drumset

Dale: "Why are you so sweaty?"

    Brennan: "I was watching Cops."

Brennan: "I'm gonna go put my nutsack on your drumset!"

The Fight!

Brennan: "This house is a fucking prison!"

    Dale: "On Planet Bullshit!"

    Brennan: "In the galaxy of This Sucks Camel Dicks!"

Sleepwalking

Family Sing-Along

Treehouse of Nudie Mags

Punching Derek

Alice: "I wanna roll you into a ball and shove you up in my vagina."

Bonding

Brennan: "Listen, I know that we started out as foe. But after that courageous act that you showed me against the one they call Derek, maybe someday we could become friends. Friends who ride majestic, translucent steeds, shooting flaming arrows across the bridge of Hemdale."

Dale: "I would follow you into the mists of Avalon if that's what you mean."

Samurai Swords and Night Vision Goggles

Brennan: "Did we just become best friends?"

    Dale: "Yep!"

    Brennan: "Do you wanna do karate in the garage?"

    Dale: "Yep!"

Dale: "Can we turn our beds into bunkbeds?"

    Brennan: "And here' the thing, it would give us so much extra space in our room to do activities!"

Bunkbed Fail

Job Interviews

Dale: "We're here to fuck shit up."

Pam/Pan Dilemna

Seth Rogen: "Was that a fart?"

    Dale: "I don't know."

    Seth: "I can taste it...on my tongue."

Prestige Worldwide

The Gang of Children

Brennan Sings

Dale: 'Your voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus."

Nazi and a Klan Member

Brennan: "If you all need furtilizer I got a lot of it!"

Therapy

Male Therapist: "Is this GOOD WILL HUNTING?"

    Dale: "No."

    Male Therapist: "It sounds a lot like the plot of GOOD WILL HUNTING."

    Dale: "Yeah, anyway. My best friend is Ben Affleck..."

Faking a Death

Dale: "It's the asbestos in the air, that's what did it!"

Fucking in the Bathroom

The Presentation

Boats 'N Hoes

Brennan: "Hey, you're embarrassing yourself, you geriatric fuck! Two things: You keep your liver-spotted hands off my beautiful mother. She's a saint! And then you sit down and you write Dale and Brennan a check for $10,000. Or I'm gonna shove one of those fake hearing devices so far up your ass you can hear the sound of your small intestine as it produces shit!"

Sleepwalking Again

Throwing Robert Down the Stairs

Christmas Love Making

One Last Fight

Burying Dale

Dale: "I'm alive Brennan, I'm alive!"

    Brennan: "You're waking the neighbors! Shut up!"

Dale Emerges

Brennan: "ZOMBIE!"

Adulting

Randy: "POW!"

The Fuckin' Cataline Wine Mixer

Robert: "Don't lose your dinosaur."

Musical Gods

Brennan: "We could hug."

    Derek: "Yeah, I bet you'd like that, faggot!"

Awkward Hug

Treehouse.Boat Filled with Nudie Mags...and Chewbacca Masks...and Crossbows

PURE HILARITY
From the moment Ron Burgandy opens his mouth to the final quotable line, ANCHORMAN is never not funny. The sheer ridiculousness of Ron and his team is so infectious, and the improvisation of many of the now iconic lines allowed for the whole cast to carve out their own moments. The only reason it loses this category is that over time the film has lost some of its power. It's still funny all the time, and the cast is great, but the antics can't help but feel tame nowadays. It was it's own thing when it came out, but now with other McKay/Ferrell collaborations (and a sequel) out there, ANCHORMAN can't help but feel a bit waned.
Though it only came out four years after ANCHORMAN, STEP BROTHERS has lost almost none of its comedic power. This is large part thanks to the supreme talents of Ferrell and Reilly, but also because they are unrestricted thanks to an R-rating. The jokes have a punch to them that blow right to the funny bone and have a strong impact. This ability to take a joke and a scene anywhere does nothing but add to the goofy, absurdness that ANCHORMAN also had.
IMPROVISATION
Of course, Ferrell and McKay had the whole movie scripted when it came time to filming. But, after doing each scene a couple times, they would let the actors improv the scene. A lot of the actors came from improv backgrounds, and all of them are so goddamn good. They elevate the scenes and take them to such hilarious places, all while not trying to outshine the other and give their characters distinct voices. Having that kind of rapport is such a rare gem between actors, and we as an audience are so lucky this ensemble cast could work such magic together.
I read somewhere that a good 30% of STEP BROTHERS' final version was improvised material, and frankly, the work of Ferrell and Reilly is nothing short of genius. So many classic bits in the movie, like the weapons they used during the big fight, the sleepwalking, and the bedtime insults where improvised, and born out of letting the duo run with it and play off their character's hate for each other. Neither of them is trying to one-up each other, or trying to take things to crazy, unrelatable levels, and they bounce off each other so naturally and in a way that keeps the conflict between them alive. They behave like real brothers at odds, and there work together is a great example of putting two actors in a room and letting their symbiotic relationship shine.
CHEMISTRY
ANCHORMAN has a big ensemble cast, and Ferrell's Burgandy is at the center as the leading man. But the chemistry between the cast is so playful and supportive that no one feels like they're "just there." As a result, Burgandy is more like a lynchpin that brings all these characters together to form one great comedy team. It's amazing to think most of the people in this group never worked together before they filmed the movie, because they all work so easily with one another and wring out the best laughs.
Ferrell and Reilly are an unlikely match. Ferrell has always tackled comedy, while for a time Reilly was mostly a dramatic actor, starring in movies like BOOGIE NIGHTS, MAGNOLIA, THE AVIATOR and earning an Oscar nomination for CHICAGO. But by god are like peanut and butter and chocolate. In fact, peanut butter and chocolate can go fuck themselves. Ferrell and Reilly are the perfect pair. They both have the ability to go be absurd and goofy or play a scene with such hilarious intensity. Other actors like Scott, Jenkins, Hahn and Steenburgen are great too, bringing so much commitment to the work to form a terrific, dysfunctional family vibe. As for Ferrell and Reilly, they truly are one of the great modern comedic pairings, and it's a shame the two aren't in more movies together.
AWARDS, PRAISE & MONEY
Golden Schmoes:
    Best Comedy (nominated)
    Best Sequence: "The Newsman Rumble"
Praise Money:
    $85 million domestic ($90 million global)
Praise Money:
    $100 million domestic ($128 million global)
STEP BROTHERS

This bout was especially difficult. It truly came down to the wire, to the point where a tiebreaker had to be made. But, at the end of the day, as far as comedies go, STEP BROTHERS is just head-to-toe a funnier film. Both movies have the same kind of ingredients in them, and in a way do almost everything with near identical perfection. Where the battle is won is in the fact that STEP BROTHERS does just as much as ANCHORMAN but with less (smaller cast, more intimate setting), and lets its perfect duo bring out the best in each other. There are so many great ensemble comedies out there, many of which also heavily use improv methods. But STEP BROTHERS is a hilarious example of two actors so perfectly synched that they can make a movie as hysterical as the most well-tuned ensemble. This is a showcase for them both, and thanks to an R-rating make the absolute most of the scenario, making for one of the most endlessly hilarious, eternally quotable comedies of the century.

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