November 29, 2012

Cornell Cinema Takes You to Pleasure Town

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This article may be biased. After all, on Google+ (whatever happened to that, anyway?), I describe myself as “an old, old wooden ship built in the Civil War era,” which is, of course, the definition that Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy ascribes to the word “diversity.” But, by the Beard of Zeus, I truly believe that Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, playing this Monday at Cornell Cinema, is, if not the funniest movie of the aughts, then at the very least the most instantly quotable film of our generation.

Anchorman is not high-minded, though Ron Burgundy does have “a voice that could make a wolverine purr and suits so fine they [make] Sinatra look like a hobo.” It’s not profound. There’s no moralizing, or some hidden message behind the absurdity. Yes, the film is put into the context of changing gender roles in the 1970s, but this backdrop is just that — a canvas onto which Ferrell and his compadres deliver lines with the precision of Michelangelo’s frescoes, if only his frescoes were made with bits of real panther and illegal in nine countries.

These lines have come to form an important part of our lexicon, and they allow us to express emotions in a way never before possible. Feeling down? Just scream incoherently about being in a “glass case of emotion.” Looking to get frisky? Look no further than Veronica Corningstone’s (Christina Applegate) impassioned cry to Burgundy, “Take me to Pleasure Town!” Craving milk? I don’t think I even need to state this last one. But my admiration surpasses its mere lexical significance; it is also very personal.

When I was 10, and Anchorman was still just a forbidden playground love affair with a loud, dirty and obnoxious child, I was drawn to some of the film’s more ridiculous moments: Brick (Steve Carrell) asking Veronica to a “Pants party,” or Champ (David Koechner) yelling “Whammy!” During my most awkward years, I was a die-hard devotee to “Afternoon Delight,” though I knew neither the song’s folksy origins nor the sexual connotations its lyrics implied. I also, very regrettably, sometimes threatened to punch girls “straight in the ovary,” just like my hero, Ron. Today, I see myself as an erudite scholar of Anchorman linguistics, quoting with ease some of the film’s more “underground” lines; an outtake of Ron’s vocal exercises, when he asserts that “the human torch was denied a bank loan” is among my current favorites.

Ah, Anchorman. As Sportscaster Champ Kind once put it, “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 … and when this all gets sorted out, I think we should get an apartment together.” But enough waxing nostalgic. For Anchorman lives on in all of us, every time we exclaim that something smells like a diaper filled with Indian food, or argue that 60 percent of the time, it works every time.

If this article has not been a sufficient supplement for your Anchorman needs, I highly recommend attending. For those among you who have not yet seen this film, I deeply apologize for including so many references, and I strongly urge you to go see this movie so that you can one day understand these references. Just one more for the road: Stay classy, San Diego … err … Ithaca.

Anchorman is playing at Cornell Cinema on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

Original Author: Sam Bromer