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Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Bobby vs. Burgundy
I'm not a fan of all the recent comedies that star some combination of the following: Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Jack Black, Owen/Luke Wilson and Vince "Puffy Neck" Vaughn. Old School, Dodgeball, Meet the Fakers, Starsky and Hutch- for reasons I can't explain I've seen them all and they none of them can hold a candle to Animal House, the once and forever pinnacle of raunchy comedies.
And then there's Wedding Crashers, the unfunny juggernaut that made hundreds of millions of dollars last year. Several people told me it was not just hilarious but "hee-larious." Despite my high threshold for cinematic crapulence, I saw it on DVD and came close to turning it off. I'm speaking as someone who has sat through the entirety of Mac and Me, a movie with a 10-minute dancing sequence set in a McDonalds and staring a five-dollar, bootlegged ET puppet. For crimes ranging from being incredibly lame, casting Christopher Walken and then giving nothing to do and mutating from a boring frat-comedy to a schmaltzy chick flick in the last 30 minutes, Wedding Crashers is begging to be "BLACKLISTED!," as Vague over at Zemblan Grammer might put it.
But from amidst of all of these horrible comedies there arose one that lived up to the legacy of National Lampoons' early film efforts: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Unlike nearly everything else Will Ferrell has ever done (he should probably have been thrown out of the business after those cheerleader sketches on SNL), it was funny. Anchorman consisted mostly of jokes about San Diego, '70s newscasts and bears and that's all needed to become a classic.
Now along comes Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, a sort-of follow-up also staring Ferrell and directed by the same guy responsible for Anchorman. After this rambling intro I'm not going to judge one movie vs. the other- which one's funnier or has more jokes about scotch, etc. I just want to address one thing: which Ferrell character would win in a fistfight: Ricky Bobby or Ron Burgundy?
It's obvious that Bobby and Burgundy could easily defeat the yuppie wankers in Wedding Crashers and, even while blindfolded, Starsky, Hutch and even Zoolander. But if the two of them came to blows on a southern California overpass? Or in a jazz club? Or in an Applebees? Let's look at the facts:
Bobby: Champion NASCAR driver.
Burgundy: TV newsman.
Bobby: Limited. Easily vested in a bar room fight with a race car driver from France (France!).
Burgundy: Skilled at street fighting. Occasionally rumbles with rivals from another news affiliate.
THRESHOLD FOR PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL PAIN:
Bobby: Enormous, almost superhuman. Can survive a NASCAR smash-up and emerge unscathed. Cries like a baby after stabbing himself in the leg with a steak knife though. Also endures the pitfalls of being the child of a drunken, absentee father.
BEASTMASTER-ESQUE POWERS OVER THE ANIMAL KINGDOM:
Bobby: Able to subdue cougars and convince them to tag along with him on high-speed drives around the neighborhood.
Burgundy: Has to have his multi-talented mutt bail him out when he's cornered by captive bears at the San Diego Zoo.
Bobby: KFC, Taco Bell, numerous product endorsements and an insatiable appetite for driving at breakneck speeds.
HIGHER POWER PRAYED TO:
Bobby: Baby Jesus (specifically, no other versions of Jesus will do).
Burgundy: Unknown. Compares his dog to Buddha. Professes a love for poetry, scotch and Baxter (the mutt). This could be the closest he comes to spirituality.
Bobby: "I wanna go fast!"
Burgundy: "I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Yum, yum, yum. Here it goes down, down to my belly."
Bobby: Steak knives.
Burgundy: Jokes about his hair, teleprompters.
ARCH NEMESIS (outcome determined by level of intimidation)
Bobby: Ali G.
Burgundy: Kelly from Married With Children.
Advantage, if you could call it that: Burgundy
Bobby: Cougar sedation.
Burgundy: Talented jazz flutist.
So Burgundy comes out on top in five out of nine categories. Guess that answers that question. If he could overcome various logistics including time, space and reality in general, Ron Burgundy could totally kick Ricky Bobby's ass.