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Daily Dose of Doozy #16: Epic Slapstick Battles of History: Will Ferrell


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#21 Bluboo

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 09:34 PM

1. How does the spoof style of Ferrell and McKay differ from or compare to the styles of Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, or the team of ZAZ? Be specific.

I think that Ferrell and McKay are closer to to ZAZ and different from Allen and Brooks. Allen's films a re closer to being farces where his like able character always seems to be in outrageous circumstances. Brooks seems to create identiable characters that are placed into the progression of a plot ... Some characters are a little unusual or stereotyped (Lily Von ****. Mongo, I-Gor, and The Inspector), but they fit the plot. Like ZAZ, the characters in the Ferrell/McKay clip are their own parodies, and their egos drive the action.

2. We first saw a portion of this clip during our Breakdown of a Gag on Cameos – in the full context, what do the cameos add to this fight scene?

I have never seen the film and honestly did not recognize any of the cameos. I did catch the references to Planet of the Apes and West Side Story, but I did not find the clip appealing.

3. Of the slapstick influences we covered in this class, who do you think most influenced Will Ferrell as a slapstick comedian? You can select for your answer any of the studios, directors, writers, or actors covered in this course.

I can detect some W.C. Fields with that air of superiority. I see some of Woody Allen's absurdity. I have not seen any of Ferrell's body of work, so it is hard to make a judgment based on one clip.
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#22 Motorcitystacy

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 07:57 PM

One heck of a way to end the course with this over the top slapstick fight sequence.

 

It is as over the top as anything ZAZ would produce, with the same amount of wit as a Mel Brooks film. Everything builds up slowly and comes to a fast and furious crescendo like in a ZAZ film, and is indeed as cartoonish as anything Frank Tashlin dished up.

 

The ability to recognize certain stars adds to the fun of the cameo appearances.

 

Will Ferrell had to have been influenced by the Three Stooges with their physical slapstick humor, and Mel Brooks's sharp wit. He also had to have been a fan of ZAZ as he tries to take their work to the next level in this scene.

 

It's been a pleasure learning about slapstick. Would REALLY love the next class to be about Pre-Code.


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#23 CynthiaV

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 07:11 PM

1. How does the spoof style of Ferrell and McKay differ from or compare to the styles of Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, or the team of ZAZ? Be specific.

By our definition of spoof I don't see this as one. It's a parody because there is definitely imitation and exaggeration of network newscasters and the field of 1970s television newscasting as a whole but the humor is so broad and extreme that there is never any doubt Ferrell and McKay are 100%,"playing it for laughs,and " showing no respect for the genre. So in this sense they are very similar to Brooks, Allen and ZAZ.

2. We first saw a portion of this clip during our Breakdown of a Gag on Cameos – in the full context, what do the cameos add to this fight scene?

Seeing familiar faces in this out of control scene helps anchor the dizzying action. It's similar to what designers or artists accomplish by using black in a room or on canvas. Also, because we bring our prior knowledge of these actors/comedians into the scene our anticipation and thereby our pleasure is increased. We are laughing even before the action begins.

3. Of the slapstick influences we covered in this class, who do you think most influenced Will Ferrell as a slapstick comedian? You can select for your answer any of the studios, directors, writers, or actors covered in this course.

It felt the most to me like it was primarily a Frank Tashlin production because it was so cartoonish. The wild weapons, the entrance of the different gangs from different perspectives and the circling of the bikes and whoops like Cowboys and Indians. Even Ron Burgandy's, "... here are the rules..." announcement reminded me of Bugs Bunny.

I believe he was most influenced by Peter Sellers and Gene Wilder.
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#24 ScottZepher

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 07:11 PM

1. Applying Jeffery Miller's distinctions, Ferrell most closely resembles Woody Allen, in that the deception in Anchorman is that Male Chauvinism did exist in the local news outlets during that time period.  The character's attitudes accurately reflected this . . .until we get to know the characters better, or worse as the case may be.  Both Ferrell and Allen have very creative ways of exposition without breaking the fourth wall, either by thinking out loud (Allen) or by interacting with animals or inanimate objects (Ferrell's classic-but still funny-discussion with his dog). 

 

2. The cameos do not add nearly as much, in my opinion, as the numerous homages.  I would be repetitive if I listed them all here, though I would like to add how the net and rete combination brought to mind Jack Parlance's character in Barabbas

 

3. Who are Ferrell's Slapstick influences.  His exaggeration calls to mind the silent era, though I can't nail it down to a specific character.  His violent tendencies call to mind the Three Stooges,  He also tends to straddle the limits of make-believe, which is another silent film trait.  I had said more, but unfortunately it is lost to cyberspace. 

 

 

I really have enjoyed this exchange of ideas immensely, and I hope to do it again.

 


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#25 Heather Mary

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 06:46 PM

I would say Will Ferrell closely follows the ZAZ doctrine of "pile on" humor. Make it ridiculous. Make it relentless. Up the ante. You also can see Mel Brooks influence. Zany and silly. Great characters. And even Woody Allen's earlier films. Perhaps not as conceptual. Again I think it's more like the airplane type of movie. As we see these news man prepare for their fight. The weapons become more and more of absurd. Scariest of all, dimwitted Steve Carell with a grenade!
The cameos push it right over the top with excitement. Delighted with the first second and then third Ben Stiller latino news man. Very funny. It was a great way to again push this over-the-top. All there and ready for action!
Will Ferrell's influences? Interesting question I wonder. I would definitely say AIRPLANE and THE NAKED GUN was a great influence on the younger will Ferrell. I can also see a Mel Brooks influence. Zany over the top characters. Lovable. I hear from his Saturday night live costars that he never came out of character when he first developed Ron Burgundy.
Enjoyed all these clips. The history of slapstick. It's been a wonderful class. Wegot one more week right?
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#26 Pjdamon

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 05:46 PM

1. Ferrell and McKay work is more closely related to ZAZs. The pace is at a fast insane pace. In both films Ferrell and Nielsen are clueless and bumbling. Yet he is similar to Sellers that he tries to come off with a bit of sophistication and is a snob. This is evident when he pronounces several item on the menu in an earlier scene. It's also a spoof of the news programs in the 60s and 70s. The good ole boy club with a woman trying to break into being an anchor. Also Ferrell and Nielsen are more physical in a lot of their gags.

2. The cameos were a nice touch. You weren't sure who was going to show up, when or what as. In this scene each news team protraded a different part of society in their dress, speech and mannerisms. And they all played out of their typical rolls. Tim Robbins was, to me, the nicest surprise in this type of roll. The other thing that added to the scene is that the insane weapons that seem to come out of nowhere and the variety of them.

3. I see Farrell patterning his comedy between Nielsen and Sellers. More to Nielsen with the pacing of the speech, timing and his perception of the world.

I would also thank Dr. Edwards for the class. I have enjoyed it and now look at slapstick with a different eye. I'm not a fan of Woody Allen or Will Ferrell but I now do have an appreciation for their works and their contributions. I hope that TCM, Dr. Edwards and Bowling Green offer more classes like this in the future.
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#27 Lawrence Wolff

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 04:53 PM

1) Different styles - I would say that Ferrell differs most from Woody Allen. I see bits of influence of the others in this clip. Allen is much more subdued and doesn't have the exaggerated violence that this clip has. Allen's violence is comical without the fake gore. The violence reminded me a bit of Monty Python.

 

2) What do cameos add - For me, it's the fun of seeing surprise familiar faces, which adds to the comedy. Known comedic quantities add to the fun, rather than unknowns.

 

3) Who most influenced Ferrell - I would think ZAZ did, due to the outrageous fight scene, the news man on fire (where did that come from? I guess that was the point!) and references to other genres that have nothing to do with this film.

 

Steve Carrell  switching sides and the guy on fire gave me the largest smirk, but neither Ferrell or Carrell are my particular cup of tea. They usually don't do much for me, but maybe I'm too old school. Ferrell's comedies usually seem a bit on the nasty side, which is prevalent in much of today's comedy.

 

I have enjoyed this course immensely. Dr. Edwards knowledge and love of film is evident. He has shown me a few things that I was not aware of, and that is always good in life, but especially in comedy. I have also enjoyed reading the many insights provided by my fellow students. While I do not have the talent of putting my thoughts into words as some of you have, I have enjoyed reading all of the comments very much. I'm so sorry I missed the Noir course.

 

 


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#28 Marianne

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 04:13 PM

I'm planning to take the last quiz and the final, so I don't feel like I should be saying goodbye just yet! But just in case many won't be back: thank you for all the great interactions and insights. I especially enjoyed "seeing" some familiar faces from the film noir class. I hope we all come back for the next class offered here and on Canvas.

 

And thanks to Dr. Richard Edwards, Wes Gehring, and Vince Cellini for all the great information that you shared with us!

 

My only wish is that we had more Fan Panels from Club Slapstick. I enjoyed the first and only one that was produced for this class.


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#29 ilovetcmandslapstick

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 03:54 PM

1. How does the spoof style of Ferrell and McKay differ from or compare to the styles of Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, or the team of ZAZ? Be specific.

 

For me this particular clip is the most exaggerated of the movie and approximates the style of ZAZ, as other commentators have pointed out. The homage aspects referencing West Side Story, Spartacus and Planet of the Apes for some reason makes me think of Mel Brooks.  Overall Ferrell's Anchorman reminds me of Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther, with his exaggerated self confidence yet bumbling and even clueless demeanor.

 

2. We first saw a portion of this clip during our Breakdown of a Gag on Cameos—in the full context, what do the cameos add to this fight scene?

 

Cameos bring added excitement to the scene and emphasize the make believe, exaggeration, and perhaps even the ritualistic components of slapstick.

 

3. Of the slapstick influences we covered in this class, who do you think most influenced Will Ferrell as a slapstick comedian? You can select for your answer any of the studios, directors, writers, or actors covered in this course.

 

Of course I have to believe Will Ferrell is a serious student of his craft and as such has been influenced by many of these. However I would say Peter Sellers might be the greatest influence, as Ferrell seems to have the same type of breadth in his talent to play so many interesting characters.

 

Lastly let me thank you all who made this course-- I shall miss you!


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#30 HMB

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 03:45 PM

I am not sure I would classify Anchorman as a Spoof. Maybe Parody or Satire. It has the " amusing imitation of un-amusing human behavior" of a parody as the sexual discrimination in the work place going for it, but maybe the satire on the stupid news stories that they discuss, (until the woman gets on the scene and makes a mark!) and the egos etc. Anyway, it really isn't my cup of tea. 

 

1. I think the style is more in line with ZAZ, as it is over the top ridiculous. Gangs of anchorman meet in an alley to fight it out, bringing in weapons that they couldn't have been carrying around with them, grenades, tridents, horses dragging nets. It was amazing. but the jokes seem to be similar in flavor to ZAZ movies. 

 

2. I think the cameos do add something to the fight scene. I don't think it would have been as interesting if they had random guys in the parts. Because we, as the audience, knew the actor, we were drawn in to see them playing these characters, and see who wins. 

 

3. I think ZAZ had to have been some influence. Anchorman had the same flavor as an Airplane or Naked Gun to me. I think ZAZ did it better, but that is just my opinion. 

 

Loved this course, because it took me out of my comfort zone with these comedies.My happy place is pretty much all the black and white ones! Love Abbott and Costello, the Stooges, Lloyd, etc.  I am not a huge fan of the "new" ones, Airplane and Naked Gun not included, but this course did give me an appreciation the creators ideas and where they were trying to go with these slapstick movies. I might not skip watching future ones after this course. 

 

 


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#31 DebraDancer

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 03:28 PM

I agree with MrDougLong that Charley Chase could have influenced Will but I also see a little of the Chaplin pathos in Anchorman: Ron's relationship with his dog; how he's immediately smitten with Christina Applegate. . . etc. It would be interesting to know if Will has commented in interviews about folks who have influenced his work. . . I'm guessing he'd probably pick more recent artists but I'm guessing that he wouldn't take offense if someone said that they can see some Chaplin references in his work.


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#32 judith46

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 03:27 PM

This class is getting too intense;  last night I dreamed there were Keystone Kops digging up my yard!

 

I find the most difference in style between Ferrell and Woody Allen.  Woody is fond of language and ideas, whereas Ferrell and company are much more physical.  Ferrell seems to be referencing the old silent slapstick films, with violent behavior, only now with sound, he includes vulgarity and scenes with shock value as in the amputation.   This clip looks a lot like 3 Stooges, or maybe even Punch and Judy!  Has humor gone full-circle?

 

Beyond the groups of news anchors, I don't entirely get the cameo references.

 

It's been a blast to correspond with all you intelligent beings!


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#33 Chris_Coombs

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 02:03 PM

I see Anchorman as more of a satire than a spoof or parody. Allen's Bananas was a conceptual parody with it taking elements of a genre and putting them into different settings (like taking a supply raid and setting it in a sandwich shop). Young Frankenstein was a loving parody of the classic Universal monster movies. ZAZ was a zany parody of spy thrillers with it's visual puns and verbal gags. Anchorman however, isn't really a parody or spoof because there is no real genre of TV reporter movies. There are many reporter films, like His Girl Friday, Deadline U.S.A., and Five Star Final, but Anchorman isn't spoofing those. It isn't making references to archetypal scenes or concepts from a genre. Rather, it seems to be a satire on self-absorption, ambition, and sexual discrimination of the 70s, with its modern applicability. There are of course references to 70's fashion, but it is mostly a satire. A parody or spoof of the Investigative Genre would be closer to parts of Hudsucker Proxy, and the 1978 Superman movie, with their exaggerated depiction of archetypal elements from the Reporter Genre.

 

The Cameos elevate the scene into an event. It becomes larger than life. This plays into the gag when it suddenly cuts back to Ron in an office saying 'Boy, did that escalate quickly' as if he were telling a story, and you aren't quite sure if it really happened.

 

When I watched anchorman all i could think of was John C Reilly from Boogy Nights, which was set in the same time period. I wonder if it had any influence on Farrell. Of course Only Farrell knows what influenced him. Someone on this board mentioned Chevy Chase, and I can see that comparison as well.


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#34 jkbrenna

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 01:52 PM

Anchorman is an amusing film, and the cast does a great job in getting the jokes across, but I see it as a comedy, not necessarily slapstick. I think the newer films have some elements of slapstick from Chaplin to Keaton and to Chase. Ferrell and McKays style of slapstick involves exaggerated physical activity of the group.  I believe Ferrell reminds me more of Charlie Chase.  He doesn't do the physical activity of the silent slapstick comedians, like Lloyd.  Ferrell's is more verbal than physical.  The film, in my opinion, isn't as funny as Young Frankenstein or Bananas.

 

While I'm at it, I may as well add that I didn't like Gumball Rally; It wasn't all that funny, just a car race trying to emulate It's  Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and The Great Race, which were much funny and more slapstick, and better actors.

 

The cameos save the movie, with hints at previous films.  Vince Vaughan and his team circle Ferrell and his team like the old westerns when the native americans circles the wagons.  Tim Robbins with the pipe, turtleneck and jacket are very PBS, and I do like the line about taking time off from the donation segment.  Of course, Dr. Edwards ( I think) brought out the Planet of the Apes influence with the net corralling someone.  Ben Stiller and his hispanic group reminded of Viva Zapata.

 

Who I liked best was Steve Carrell, and it makes sense that he became a super star.

 

The fight scene, I think, had some influence from the fight scene in West Side Story.  Ferrell does ask Vaughan if he wants to dance.

 

I can't say with any confidence who influenced Ferrell the most.  He's a mixture of all of them.

 

 


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#35 Marianne

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 01:36 PM

1. How does the spoof style of Ferrell and McKay differ from or compare to the styles of Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, or the team of ZAZ? Be specific.

I think Ferrell’s and McKay’s spoof style is closer to ZAZ’s than to Woody Allen’s or Mel Brooks’s. The clip of the fight scene is over the top, with its many teams of news show fighters and the make-believe violence they inflict on one another. I liked how Brick (played by Steve Carell) ends up with a hand grenade but has no idea where it came from. There is some similarity with Woody Allen because both Allen and Ferrell reference older dramatic films in their work. I notice in Bananas, for example, that Allen referenced Battleship Potemkin and The Seventh Seal; Ferrell references West Side Story and Planet of the Apes. But even these examples show—to me anyway—that Woody Allen’s brand of humor is more cerebral.
2. We first saw a portion of this clip during our Breakdown of a Gag on Cameos—in the full context, what do the cameos add to this fight scene?

The famous stars who lead the fight teams are funny because the film maintains that news anchors were famous in their local markets before cable came on the scene and that there was a lot of competition, with the big networks competing for ratings. But I wonder if later generations, or even anyone born after the age of the Internet, will really get the joke.
3. Of the slapstick influences we covered in this class, who do you think most influenced Will Ferrell as a slapstick comedian? You can select for your answer any of the studios, directors, writers, or actors covered in this course.

I would say the ZAZ team influenced Will Ferrell the most, at least judging from what I saw in this clip from Anchorman. All the exaggerated violence in the clip from Anchorman reminded me of the opening of the clip from The Naked Gun, when the car goes rolling off and nothing can stop it from bursting into flame and spreading destruction.


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#36 MrDougLong

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 12:56 PM

1.       Like Young Frankenstein and The Naked Gun, full appreciation of Anchorman and this scene in particularly depends on the viewer’s knowledge of the media form it’s parodying, in this case TV newscasts. Visually these characters appear to be well-groomed newscasters, but their behavior is like rough characters in a western. The verbal slapstick usually bridges these portrayals. Anchorman Wes Mantooth (Vince Vaughn) sets the rules of the fight in a manner one might expect in a western or gang setting, but then he localizes it to the world of newscasters by saying , “No touching of the hair or face.” Newscaster Arturo Mendes (Ben Stiller), who has appeared wild and unhinged up to this point, adds, “Of course.”  In the clip we watched from Bananas, everything and everyone in the “banana republic” seemed authentic except for our protagonist, who is Woody Allen’s usual urban intellectual nebbish character. Here, all the characters are essentially from the same world – news stations where ratings and looks are paramount – but we see them in an unexpected setting, battling in a deserted lot with deadly weapons.

2.       The cameos work to a modern audience because knowing that suddenly we’re seeing Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, and Tim Robbins is both a comic “kick” and helps keep track of which news team is which. In 50 years, if anyone takes this same class, those personalities may not have the same resonance and won’t work as cameos in the same way.

3.       As far as influence, it’s probably previous SNL comedians and other contemporary figures. But in terms of which slapstick comedian his style reminds me of, I’ll go with Charley Chase. In his 1930s Hal Roach comedies, he often played a man who was pompous but not nearly as suave and clever as he thought. In The Pip from Pittsburg, Chase felt he was too good to be seen with a “dumpy” woman but wanted to shave and dress up more when he realized his date was glamorous Thelma Todd. In this Anchorman scene, Ron Burgandy (Will Ferrell) has that same condescension toward all the other news anchors, believing he is the one best suited for the job.


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#37 Mandroid51

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 12:51 PM

You guys have answered these really well.

I think Will Ferrell's slapstick style can count Gene Wilder as an influence. He's got the repressed, barely contained insanity that explodes out of him in hilarious fashion like Gene does in his best roles (Producers, Young Frankenstein, Stir Crazy). The main difference is Wilder's characters are repressed out of fear of behaving badly and Ferrell's characters are contained because they want to project an image of cool and power.


Now that you mention it RickyBobby stabs himself in the leg just like Wilder did in Young Frankenstein
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#38 BLACHEFAN

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 12:02 PM

1. This was more meta-referential than Brooks, Allen, and ZAZ combined. The film was referencing films of the past, such as Planet of the Apes, and Spartacus (1960) to make the fight look more ridiculous. 

 

2. It adds recognition from the audience, as well as being a throwback to anchors from different news stations As well as famous news personalities and their distinctive voices.

 

3. I believe that the Hal Roach Studios have influenced Ferrell as a slapstick comedian. The Roach studios were known as the Laugh Factory by having the comedians write as much material that they can add to their material comical and fun at the same time. Since the Roach studios was known for having comedians becoming friends at the studios and they got along very well together.


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#39 savaney

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 11:58 AM

1. How does the spoof style of Ferrell and McKay differ from or compare to the styles of Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, or the team of ZAZ? Be specific.

 

I think that Ferrell and McKay have more of a connection to ZAZ because the jokes are more crude and raunchy. There is violence to the more physical stunts, where someone actually gets hurt. The comedy is less subtle than in Allen's and Brooks' films. Obviously, Ferrell, McKay and KAZ know that the audience isn't stupid and they are aware of that. However, they have still have enough jokes and gags to keep the audience satisfied.

 

2. We first saw a portion of this clip during our Breakdown of a Gag on Cameos – in the full context, what do the cameos add to this fight scene?

 

The cameos add to the fact that Vince Vaughn, Tim Robbins and Ben Stiller are not afraid to go there, meaning that they are adept at poking fun and satirizing themselves, without completely destroying their careers. They say and do stupid things in the fight scene, but in the end, you still admire them for supporting Ferrell in the film.

 

3. Of the slapstick influences we covered in this class, who do you think most influenced Will Ferrell as a slapstick comedian? You can select for your answer any of the studios, directors, writers, or actors covered in this course.

 

I think that you can see both Peter Sellers and Leslie Nielsen. Ron Burgundy, the character that he portrayed in Anchorman, is a complete idiot. He thinks he's God gift to women and television news. He's like Sellers because he can be a little stuck on himself and snobbish; he can also be very clumsy and bumbling. He's also like Nielsen because he can be deadpan when delivering his lines. He could be subtle, but he could also be physical. In a way, he connects to Gene Wilder because he can be a little erratic, especially when he starts to raise his voice to scream.

 

I just want to say thank to Dr. Edwards for bringing us another wonderful and educational film course. I certainly hope that there will be more courses in the future, because there is always something to learn about Cinema.


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#40 Janeko

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 11:56 AM

I can only base my response on the two clips we saw from this film because I've not seen Anchorman in its entirety.

 

ZAZ defintely was a big influence  in this film.  Ferrell's manner and attitude are so like Nielsen's--serious and tough.  The whole fight scene is nonsensical!  Everyone is dressed in business suits and yet are able to pull out these big weapons from under their jackets!!  Ferrell's coworker has a hand grenade and has no idea where it came from.  These guys are all going to rumble but set up the ground rule that there's to be no touching of faces and hair!!!  The fight starts and violence escalates quickly and in a crazy manner from the guy getting thrown on top of the car to the guy who is set on fire and the one who has an arm amputated and states "I didn't see that coming!"

 

The cameos added "highlights" to the scene and I think added to the audience's enjoyment as they got to see familiar people break out of the mold and take on a completely different (and outrageous) persona.

 

I picked up the influence of Peter Sellers and Gene Wilder in Ferrell's style-- the man trying to come across as controlled, in command, even as all hell breaks loose around him.

 

I am so going to miss this class.  As with the film noir course, it's has been a great experience.  I've learned so much from the lectures and videos and from the comments of my fellow classmates!!  I hope we meet again when TCM, Dr. Edwards and Ball State University offer the next course!  A great big thank you to everyone!!


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