Adam McKay

The teaser trailer for Anchorman 2 is in front of The Dictator, which means it should be swimming its way onto the internet any second now. Wait for it. Wait. For it. But while you’re waiting, scope out this new poster for the forthcoming film which seems to have taken forever to greenlight and yet no time at all to film. It’s nowhere near being done, but doesn’t it feel that way? With Will Ferrell announcing the project on Conan, a trailer that’s already ready to roll and now one sheet work, it almost seems like we should be seeing Ron Burgundy in theaters next week or something. Nevertheless, by great Odin’s raven, here’s the poster:

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Culture Warrior

Tomorrow, the Sacha Baron Cohen-starring, Larry Charles-directed The Dictator opens. Unlike the previous two docu-prank collaborations between Charles and Cohen, the humor of the fully staged Dictator doesn’t so much rely on the reactions of ‘real people’ to an idiosyncratic foreigner as it uses its fish-out-of-water arc to chronicle the pseudo-enlightened changes that its eponymous character experiences (this is all based on the film’s advertising – I have yet to see it). With its riches-to-rags narrative, The Dictator seems to be the newest iteration of a long tradition in Hollywood comedy: the story of the redeemable asshole. It’s rather appropriate that the teaser trailer for Anchorman 2 will be premiering in front of The Dictator.  Will Ferrell has made the redeemable asshole into something of an art form in his collaborations with Adam McKay. Ferrell’s often narcissistic, privileged, ignorant, and empathy-challenged creations should, by any measure of any other genre (audiences are far less tolerant of asshole protags in, say, dramedys) be reviled by audiences. But we ultimately find something redeemable, even lovable, in Ferrell’s jerks, even if this surface-level redemption overshadows the fact that they never quite achieve the level of self-awareness that would actually redeem one from assholedom. These are characters we would likely avoid in nearly any real-life circumstance, but yet we go see movies about them learning life lessons which add up to little more than common knowledge for the rest of us. The redeemable asshole is often a white male who is conniving, manipulative, entitled, […]

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Hot off the announcement that Adam McKay and crew are finally going to make Anchorman 2 comes word that the director has another project in the works, this one a strange choice for a filmmaker mostly known for absurdist comedies starring Will Ferrell. Deadline Coconut Grove is reporting that, after McKay finishes up shooting on the next Anchorman film, he’s negotiating to begin work on a remake of the 1974 Sydney Poitier film Uptown Saturday Night. For those of us whose memories don’t go all the way back to 1974, Uptown Saturday Night was a comedy that Poitier starred in himself, alongside Bill Cosby, that saw the two of them playing in over-their-head everymen faced with the task of hunting down some shady criminal types. On a whim, the duo go to a seedy nightclub where their wallets are promptly robbed by some thug types. Problem is, one of the wallets contains a winning lottery ticket, so the freaked-out friends have to do whatever it takes to get their property back.

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When it was finally announced that Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and company would be coming back and making a sequel to their 2004 modern classic Anchorman, the world rejoiced. But, with as many people as there are who love this movie, and with the way it’s continued to remain a relevant part of popular culture, why did it take so long to make a sequel? McKay spills some details on the long road to this highly anticipated sequel in a recent interview with THR. Apparently the delay between Anchorman movies came down to two things: first there was a lack of interest in sequels from the creative end of things, and then there were budget concerns from the accountants. Or, as McKay puts it, “the movie came out and did really good but then got even bigger on DVD and cable. So then, when he (Adam Goodman) was at Paramount, he said to me, ‘Would you ever do a sequel?’ And at first we were like, ‘No, we don’t want to do sequels, we have too many ideas. Why do sequels?’ And then finally, we kept hearing the question so much from fans, and we’re like, ‘Shit, man, there’s almost something original about doing a sequel,’ like, can-we-do-a-sequel suddenly became an interesting challenge to us. We got our heads around on it and said, ‘All right, we’ll do it,’ and Goodman was really excited. But then it went in the numbers machine over there.”

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Drinking Games

Last week, the interwebs exploded with the awesome announcement that Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Steve Carell and Paramount Pictures have come to an agreement on moving forward with a sequel to the 2004 comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Sweet Lincoln’s mullet, this is exciting! Even though the movie’s release is at least a year away, you can still pop in your DVD, Blu-ray or HD-DVD (yeah, those are still out there) of Anchorman to refresh yourself in preparation of the sequel. Enjoy some scotchy, scotch, scotch, down into your belly. Or drink from a half-gallon carton of milk on a hot day. Either way, slap on your Sex Panther cologne and take a trip back to the glorious 70s. And don’t forget to stay classy, rejects!

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anchormanfight

Back in 2010, Paramount punted Anchorman 2 off a bridge, but after Conan O’Brien teased an appearance by Ron Burgundy on his show, it became clear that something big was afoot. Anchorman 2 is happening with Will Ferrell getting back behind the news desk alongside director Adam McKay and co-stars Paul Rudd and Steve Carell. Right now, a ton of people are having to walk off their comedy erections in whatever office they’re about to be fired from. Fortunately, I work from home. This is great, great news. Does it seem a bit like going back to the well? Absolutely, but it’s a well worth diving back into and one that will represent a real challenge for its cast and crew. Catching scotch-covered lightning in a bottle twice will be tough, but hot damn is it ever a goal worth shooting for.    

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  In Frank Portman‘s debut novel from 2006, the song-writing, classic Rock-loving high school loser Tom Henderson has a lot of nicknames. King Dork is one of them, but it might be the most important (which is what made it such a great choice for the title). When Tom discovers his dead father’s “Catcher in the Rye,” it changes everything for the crazier, but it might be the ticket to conspiracies and the holy grail of high school hormones. The book is now being turned into a movie by Gary Sanchez Productions, and the team of Adam McKay and Will Ferrell have hired on director Matt Piedmont to helm the project after teaming with him on the forthcoming Casa de mi Padre. According to Deadline Suburb of Detroit, this was the first project that Gary Sanchez bought when McKay, Ferrell and Chris Henchy founded it. It’s a cool project, and it’s been written by a strong writer with a music movie background – D.V. DeVincentis (High Fidelity, Grosse Point Blank). If it’s anything like High School Fidelity, it’ll be an excellent flick.

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Like Garth Ennis’s Preacher, it’s hard to imagine a series like The Boys having an easy time making it to the big screen. It’s dark, unconventional, brutal, and funny in ways most people wouldn’t deem “commercial.” It’s a great series with a lot of potential, potential that director Adam McKay definitely sees. The project had been at Columbia Pictures for sometime, but they just recently dropped it. I reached out to McKay for an update, who responded the project’s still very much alive.”It’s not dead. Two studios very interested. Love Sony but they made a mistake,” said McKay. As for whether they’ll continue to try to make an R-rated version of The Boys, the answer is no. But that doesn’t mean we are going to get a neutered down adaptation of Ennis’s world, according to McKay, “It’s now PG-13. But I found cool ways to keep it edgy. Nolan does so much with that rating. I want this movie to have the conceptual floor of MIB: the police for the superheroes, with the bad ass action groove of The Matrix or Oldboy.” A mixture of Men in Black, The Matrix, and Oldboy is definitely a film I’d want to see, especially coming from McKay. [THR]

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A couple weeks ago it was reported that Adam McKay and Will Ferrell’s production company Gary Sanchez had spent about a million dollars to pick up a spec script called He’s F***ing Perfect. Today it was reported by Deadline that actress Emma Stone is negotiating to be in said film, only they’re referring to the project as He’s Fuckin’ Perfect. I’m not sure which is actually the official title of this movie, but it doesn’t matter because there’s no fuckin’ way this thing is getting all the way through development and keeping either. More than likely it will be called something pseudo hip but still generic like He’s the Bomb or Friend Request, so there’s no point debating that issue. The thing to focus on is that Emma Stone would be perfect for this role. The story is about a girl who uses her advanced social media skills to dig up dirt on all of her friends’ loser boyfriends to convince them to dump them. A wrinkle comes when she finds that one of her friends is actually dating the perfect guy, so she uses those same social media skills to figure out what his perfect girl would be, and then become her. Essentially, she’s trying to break people up, and then steal her friend’s boyfriend. What a bitch. That’s not going to be a character that’s easy to like, no matter how funny writer Lauryn Kahn’s script is.

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Today we get one of the rarest bits of news that you may ever come across in this game of being a movie buff – a project has been put in development that isn’t a remake of something that already exists, isn’t an adaptation of some sort of world famous property, but instead is just a funny script that someone wrote. The idea sounds crazy to me. I don’t think it’s going to work. Will Ferrell and Adam McKay disagree though, because their production company, Gary Sanchez Productions, along with Fox 2000, have decided to purchase a script by Lauryn Kahn called He’s F***ing Perfect for somewhere around a million bucks. Kahn is new at the screenwriting game, but she has worked as McKay’s assistant at Gary Sanchez for several years now, so she’s not new to the comedy game. Her script tells the story of an unlucky-in-love woman who uses her Google skills to research all of her friends’ boyfriends to make them look bad. If that doesn’t sound bitter enough, further complication comes as she tricks one of her friends into dumping a good guy, and then uses her experience as a Facebook stalker to turn herself into his perfect woman. What a jerk, but what fertile grounds for comedy. In a post-Bridesmaids world, where women behaving badly on the screen is all the rage, I would have to say that this is a good pick-up for Ferrell and McKay, who are rapidly positioning themselves as our comedy overlords. [THR]

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Fear not worshippers at the house of Ferrell, the comic force of nature known to mortals as Will Ferrell once again be returning to big screen comedy after his lackluster series of guest stars on the past its prime TV series The Office. This guy is a big dang movie star and movies are where he belongs! This time Ferrell will be playing a hedge fund manager, one of those guys responsible for the recent financial crisis, whose life changes when he sees a vision of God. Whether this vision turns around his sleazy life in the classic Gordon Bombay tradition or just makes him go crazy in the classic Margery Kempe tradition is unclear, but the name of the film is Swear to God.

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Don’t we all know John C. Reilly by now? Does he still need a long introduction? Reilly seems to pride himself on being one of the “that guys,” but in the film community, he couldn’t be further from simply being a face you vaguely recall from one of his many films; if you’re reading this, you probably know him. So what’s the point of listing off Magnolia, Gangs of New York, Boogie Nights, The Good Girl, Casualties of War, The Year of the Dog, Cyrus, Sydney, and Step Brothers? There is no reason, even though I just did. I talked to Reilly about a year ago for Cyrus, and I found him to be both thoughtful and subtlety funny. He’d take time with his responses and put things in a new perspective, like the possible laziness digital cameras provide a crew. And as for the funny part, he’d do little things that some could easily misunderstand as seriousness, like moving blinds to look intensely out a window as if he’s stuck in a paranoia thriller or discussing how the hotel smelled like a mixture of puke and cheese (it did…) This time around, he expressed the same thoughtfulness from that interview we did last year. It was a pleasant chat about the honesty he strives for with his characters, bringing yourself to material, and the intense specificity of Roman Polanski.

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In a recent addition of Movie News After Dark the honorable Neil Miller let us all know about a new Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell comedy called Turkey Bowl that suspiciously sounded like an already existing indie film called, well… Turkey Bowl. In an interview with Inside Movies producer Adam McKay dished out some more details about the impending project. Firstly, the film was originally conceived as a vehicle for Wahlberg to reteam with Alec Baldwin and rekindle some of that meathead chemistry that they had going on in The Departed. It wasn’t until later that Ferrell heard about the project and it also became a reteaming of he and Wahlberg. Baldwin will play the Kennedy-family-obsessed patriarch of a clan of misfits who organizes a touch football game every Thanksgiving with the snooty family from across the park. His dream is to one day take the rich folk down and recreate his own little version of the Kennedy dynasty. Ferrell is going to be the father of the opposing family, one in which all of the children are going on to do successful things. Wahlberg is playing Baldwin’s eldest son, the one who gets tasked with putting back together his family of addicts and cons and finally getting one over on the folk from across the way. It’s Baldwin’s last wish after he goes down from a heart attack. Oh, and Rob Riggle will play a ringer who has been ejected from the family due to gayness, but who must […]

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With The Other Guys, director Adam McKay walked a fine line of not making another cop spoof and has instead turned in a straight-faced comedy. But it’s really more of an action movie. It follows the tropes, the story structure and the whole cop movie formula we all know… except it has an oblivious non-hero duo at the center. Mean-spirited is possibly the best way to describe most of McKay’s protagonists. They’re usually completely oblivious and seem to have no guilt for what they do and say. While McKay slightly disagrees with that stance when it comes to Allen and Terry for The Other Guys, he agrees there are still sprinkles of cruelness to them. McKay and I talked about this at length:

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Culture Warrior

No doubt you’ve read about it if you haven’t seen it. The Other Guys, the latest collaboration between masters of the sophomoric Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, concludes with an animated chart-and-graph sequence over its end credits detailing the inner workings of Ponzi schemes, the exponential disparity between the wages of corporate CEOs and their average worker, and the rather comical eventual release date of currently imprisoned white-collar criminal Bernie Madoff. It seems startling at first, for one of the most hilariously dumb comedies of the summer (I certainly don’t mean this as an insult, as true silliness is hard to come by and McKay/Ferrell routinely pull it off masterfully) to conclude with something of a visual lecture. It’s confounding for a film that asks the bare minimum of its viewer to conclude with what seems to be a message built from populist outrage, a message for which there seemed, on the surface, little if any buildup toward. The best course of action – for most critics, anyway – has been to read and enjoy The Other Guys wholly separate from its end credits (films, after all, are often misread as ending before their credits; we’re conditioned not to any pay attention to them). I find this reading of The Other Guys too selective, and its end credits – as didactic and ill-placed as they may seem at first to be – paint a rather different film in hindsight to the one we think we have been seeing.

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Eastbound and Down is one of the best shows currently on television. Since the show began it’s been picking up followers like wild fire, and deservedly so. Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) is a character that’s endlessly watchable. He’s despicable, but you still sympathize with him. More Kenny Powers is never a bad thing. Season two of the series is set to air this September and for a while now, it’s been rumored and expected that this would be the final season. Thankfully, that may not be the case.

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It would be easy to say The Other Guys is the funniest ‘buddy cop’ movie of the past several years. Or that it’s the most consistently entertaining action/comedy since Hot Fuzz. Or that it’s easily the best Will Ferrell movie since Anchorman. Or that even if Kevin Smith’s Cop Out was remade as a comedy the result still wouldn’t be anywhere near as as hilarious as The Other Guys. All of that’s true, but you won’t catch me saying it here because the hyperbole (and cheap digs at Smith) can’t hide the fact that the movie also has a glaring problem with plot and an overly long running time. But then again, those problems can’t hide the fact that The Other Guys will have you smiling and laughing aloud from beginning to end either. Detectives Danson and Highsmith are heroes in blue. They catch every criminal, they break every rule, and both their co-workers and the public view them as NYPD super-cops. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are not Detectives Danson and Highsmith.

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Anchorman

As if the fact that Anchorman 2 isn’t happening wasn’t enough, there is new information coming from director Adam McKay today saying that it would have been awesome. As in, full-on musical awesome. “It was a musical,” McKay said today at the junket for his latest, The Good Guys. “We were going to do four months on Broadway and then jump right into filming.” And amazing idea, killed by the bean-counters at Paramount. No hard feelings, says McKay. I can’t say that the fan reaction will be quite some amiable. [CHUD]

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Remember how you really wanted to see Ron Burgundy and his wacky team of adventuring newsmen and newswoman again? I’ve got some bad news for you.

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In an interview today with Nightmare on Elm Street director Samuel Bayer, we chatted about a project of interest — Garth Ennis’ The Boys. And from what Bayer tells us, he’s interested, but he may not be the guy who ends up with the job.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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