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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Will Ferrell makes Will Ferrell movies, and Anchorman is his best. Adam McKay (Talladega Nights, Eastbound & Down) directs and co-wrote the script with Will Ferrell, who stars as stars as Ron Burgundy, the best anchorman in San Diego. Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, and Christina Applegate costar, and Judd Apatow produces.

Ron Burgundy is the best damn anchorman in San Diego. He’s number one and isn’t afraid to let everyone know it. His Channel 4 News team is made up of meteorologist Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), sportscaster Champ Kind (David Koechner), and field reporter Brian Fontana (Paul Rudd). Brick is legally retarded, Champ has man crush on Ron Burgundy, and Brian fancies himself a ladies man, but doesn’t have much luck. It’s a happier and lighter style of reporting, showcased by the ongoing reports on Ling-Wong the pregnant panda.

Things are going great for a while, but it’s the ‘70s and times are changing. Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) is the first female reporter hired at the station, and she has to deal with the immature men and blatant sexism as she battles for respect. Her and Ron get together and start a relationship, but it’s doomed because she’s looking forward to the future and Ron is stuck in the past.

One day Ron has a run-in with an angry biker who kicks Ron’s dog Baxter off a bridge. Ron is too distraught to report the news, so Veronica fills in and nails it. Ron is hurt and betrayed that Veronica would read his news and ends their relationship. There’s no denying Veronica’s talent and she is promoted to co-anchor.

Ron and his news team try to get rid of her in various ways, but Veronica sabotages Ron’s teleprompter so that he says, “Go fuck yourself San Diego”. You generally can’t say shit like that on TV, so Ron gets fired and Veronica becomes the lead anchor.

After a few months, Ron is just a drunk, but Veronica is more famous and successful than Ron ever was. One day Ling-Wong the pregnant panda finally starts to give birth, so the all of San Diego’s media shows up for the story of the year. Veronica gets shoved into a bear pit by a rival anchor that wants a good shot of Ling-Wong giving birth. When nobody can find Veronica, Ron Burgundy gets a chance to report once again.

Ron cleans himself up and shows up at the zoo to do some anchoring, but when he sees Veronica is in trouble, he jumps into the bear pit too. And just for good measure the rest of the news team jumps in too. Just when it seems like they are completely fucked, Baxter the dog shows up again. After he got kicked off the bridge by an angry biker, he had a fantastic journey to get back to Ron. He met a bear named Katow-jo, who coincidently happens to be the bear’s cousin, and so Ron and Veronica and the Channel 4 news team is safe. Talk about deus ex machine.

Will Ferrell is hysterical but he plays the same character in every single movie. Anchorman was before he wore his shtick into the ground. But there’s no denying he is funny as hell. Anchorman would not have worked without Will Ferrell, but Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and David Koechner deserve a lot of the credit for making the movie one of the best comedies of that decade. Sex Panther… 60% of the time, it works every time. There are a lot of cameos: Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Jack Black, Seth Rogan, Tim Robbins, and a few other celebs make appearances. The news team showdown is one of the highlights of the movie.

Judd Apatow movies are usually always good. He track record is almost as good as Pixar’s. Drillbit Taylor sucked but Cars 2 was no gem either. This is Will Ferrell’s best movie. I can’t wait for the sequel.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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Top Gun

If you haven’t seen Top Gun, you have not lived. Tom Cruise stars as Maverick, a renegade Navy pilot who gets recruited to the elusive Top Gun program, where the best of the best compete to be the best. Ridley Scott’s younger brother Tony Scott directs this classic action film. Ridley Scott may be a genius, but Tony has some pretty good action films under his belt. Top Gun is probably his best.

Maverick (Tom Cruise) is a natural pilot, but is impulsive and has some daddy issues. His dad was also a pilot, but his plane went down under some shady circumstances, and Maverick has to deal with his father’s tainted legacy. Maverick and his wingman Goose (Anthony Edwards) fly recklessly, but get the job done. Despite some reservations, Maverick gets a chance to prove himself as one of the best Naval Aviators.

Maverick and Goose face some fierce competition, but their main rivals are soon revealed to be Iceman (Val Kilmer) and his wingman Slider. Iceman is the best pilot, not because he is naturally gifted, but because he works hard to be the best. He doesn’t like the way Maverick flies, because Maverick doesn’t fly safe, and he doesn’t want to work as a team. Iceman is made out to be the villain. Iceman should be the hero. He trains and studies and strives to do well, he does the right thing, and he looks out for the team. He calls Maverick out for being a maverick and he gets shat on. You can’t look out for yourself in the military, you endanger everyone else.

No matter how arrogant Maverick is, no matter how brash and stuck up, he is still a gifted pilot, and so everyone bends over backwards for him. Even though Charlie (Kelly McGillis) repeatedly stresses that she can’t date him because it wouldn’t be professional, she ends up spreading her legs. Even though Maverick kills his best friend and wingman Goose, he still gets more chances to prove himself.

He struggles a bit, and then regains his confidence, just in time to shoot down some real enemy MiGs and save the day. And then gets the girl at the end. Hurray for cliché Hollywood endings.

Top Gun was made in a different time. Back then there was no CG… if you saw a couple of jets doing some crazy cool maneuvers, you knew that shit was real. I know Tom Cruise isn’t flying an F-14, but some guy is, and that guy is a bad ass.

Every ‘80s movie needs a hit soundtrack. And the Top Gun soundtrack is epic. Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins is one of the cheesiest macho songs ever. Berlin’s Take My Breath Away is an awesome and awkward love song. There might have been a few more songs on the soundtrack. None of them matter.

No movie about military life is complete without a homoerotic beach volleyball scene. Maverick knows that he has a date that night, with a really hot instructor nonetheless, but playing shirtless volleyball with the boys is a little more important apparently.

Top Gun is one of those action films that defines a decade. It’s like Star Wars, if you haven’t seen it, you are weird. Real planes doing real stunts means real excitement. Is anyone else slightly distracted by Tom Cruise’s unibrow?

Critically Rated at 14/17

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Green Lantern (film)

The Green Lantern is an iconic DC comic. The Green Lantern Corps is an intergalactic police force that patrols the DC universe. Each Green Lantern has their own sector to protect, and each Green Lantern gets a power ring and power lantern that lets them harness their willpower to control over the physical world. There are a bunch of different Green Lanterns, but this movie is about Hal Jordan. Sorry Guy Gardner. Ryan Reynolds plays Hal Jordan and Martin Campbell directs.

Most superhero movies really play up the origin story. As if you can’t enjoy Superman until you see Clark Kent growing up for an hour. This movie doesn’t do that. They give you a little background on the Green Lantern Corps, and you spend a little bit of time with Hal Jordan, but it jumps into the main plotline pretty quick. An evil alien named Parallax fought a Green Lantern named Abin Sur. Abin Sur escaped to Earth and passed his lantern and ring on to Hal Jordan. Parallax somehow comes back and takes infects Hector Hammond’s brain and makes him the antagonist.

Hal and Hammond fight a few times. Hal quits the Green Lanterns for a little bit. Hector Hammond gets more and more powerful. Hal has a change of heart and rejoins the Corps, just in time to beat Hammond and save the world from Parallax.

Hollywood likes to make big blockbusters. But just because you have a $200 million budget and an established character with a built-in fan base doesn’t mean you will have a hit. A decent script is way more beneficial for box office success. The special effects in this movie are sometimes slightly awesome, but they don’t mean anything. It’s just eye candy. And you actually feel bad because everything looks great but sounds stupid because of the half-assed script. It’s not a terrible as you might think, but when you have good comic book movies like the Dark Knight and the Avengers it makes this translation seem even worse.

There is a decent supporting cast. Blake Lively plays the love interest. Peter Sarsgaard plays Hector Hammond. Angela Bassett and Tim Robbins also show up unnecessarily in supporting roles for some reason. Geoffrey Rush and Michael Clark Duncan lend their voices to a couple of CG Green Lantern aliens. Ryan Reynolds should stick to comedies. He’s just not cut out to be an action star.

This movie had a lot of potential. And it was pretty shitty. It’s not the worst superhero movie ever made, it is just really disappointing. You wonder how they blew $200 million to make such a mediocre movie. There are no memorable moments that stand out. No director will ever look upon this shit for inspiration. It’s just a really expensive exercise in futility.

Critically Rated at 8/17

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The Shawshank Redemption

Some movies transcend the big screen and will change your life. The Shawshank Redemption is one of those movies. The first time you see it you want to run around shouting about it and share it with the world. Frank Darabont directs this adaptation of a short Stephen King novella, and Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman headline the amazing cast. Tim Robbins plays Andy Dufresne, a hotshot banker who gets locked up for killing his wife and her lover.

Andy’s not cut out for prison. He doesn’t belong there, he kind of strolls around like he doesn’t have a care in the world. He maintains his innocence, but so do all the other prisoners except for Red (Morgan Freeman), the only guilty man in Shawshank. Andy and Red form a friendship, and he makes a few more friends as well. Tim Robbins does a great job, but Morgan Freeman steals every scene that he’s in, plus he narrates the movie (which is always awesome cause his voice is like sexual chocolate).

Prison life kinda sucks. Especially when you’re constantly getting man-raped by the Sisters. And when the corrupt warden relies on your prodigious banking skills to launder money. And when a sadistic guard will beat the shit out of anyone for any reason. And when you’re getting thrown into solitary confinement for months at a time.

Despite a few minor setbacks like those, Andy is able to maintain his sanity when a lesser man would break. He finds flashes of freedom by celebrating the little things in life. He makes a deal with the guard and gets a few bottles of beer and Morgan Freeman goes, “We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the lords of all creation. As for Andy, he spent that break hunkered in the shade, a strange little smile on his face, watching us drink his beer.” Another memorable part is when he broadcasts the opera music over the loudspeaker and all the prisoners drop what they are doing and listen in silence. Little victories like these make you all warm and fuzzy inside like an Irish coffee in the shower.

Some of the happier moments are really inspirational, and you kinda want to go to prison. Then you remember the man-rapes and realize you’re stupid.

The Shawshank Redemption

So here comes a little spoiler: Andy actually is innocent. He’s just a victim of circumstance. He also escapes at the end. Oh yeah, another spoiler. Not only does he escape, he escapes in spectacular fashion. It’s not super spectacular, there’s no ninjas or exploding hot air balloons, but it’s a memorable reveal that blows your mind the first time you see it.

Most chicks don’t like prison movies. But they like this movie. That’s because it’s not really a prison movie. It just takes place in a prison. It’s about a man who finds freedom, hope, and happiness within himself. So even though he’s trapped he’s free. Brooks (the decrepitly old inmate) got institutionalized, and when he finally got released he couldn’t handle the world. He had no friends, no family, no hope. He was trapped in his freedom, and took his own life. Red is going down the same path as Brooks, but Andy’s friendship saved him. You have two choices: get busy living or get busy dying.

The Shawshank Redemption is one of the best movies of all time. Go to IMDB and see for yourself. It’s practically a perfect picture. If you don’t like this movie you have no soul.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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