Posts Tagged ‘Old School’

Metro In Focus: When bros who need dates get out-bro’ed by sis’s

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 6.16.37 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

I have a brother but he’s not my bro, at least by the contemporary definition. My sibling and I are biologically brothers but neither of us fall into what the NPR Codeswitch blog described as the four rudimentary characteristics of “bro-iness”— jockish, dudely, stoner-ish and preppy.

There are as many ways to define bros and brahs as there are bros and brahs at your local frat house. Oxford Dictionary writer Katherine Connor Martin sums it up simply as “a conventional guy’s guy who spends a lot of time partying with other young men like himself.” The urban dictionary isn’t quite as elegant, describing bros as ”obnoxious partying males who are often seen at college parties… [standing] around holding a red plastic cup waiting for something exciting to happen so they can scream something that demonstrates how much they enjoy partying”

This weekend Zac Efron and Adam DeVine play brothers who are also bros in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Based on the real-life exploits of Mike and Dave Stangle, the guys get out-broed at their sister’s Hawaiian wedding by broettes Tatiana and Alice (Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick).

In real life Mike, Dave, Tatiana and Alice are the kind of people it might be fun to hang out with before ten o’clock at night, before the tequila shots and samplings from the mystery medicine cabinet have taken effect. After that, all bets are off. Luckily in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, like so many bro movies before it, the screen separates us and we can sit back and observe them like cultural anthropologists, as if we’re studying animals in a zoo.

Hollywood has long had a bromance with bros. Lately in movies like Neighbors and Dirty Grandpa Efron has made a career of playing dim witted frat boys but to find the proto bros you have to go back to 1940. Starting with Road to Singapore Bob Hope and Bing Crosby cocktailed and adlibbed their way through seven Road movies playing two slightly skeezy men with boatloads of bravado and an unbreakable bond—at least until love interest Dorothy Lamour showed up.

National Lampoon’s Animal House was the next landmark of bro-cinema. From toga parties to food fights and doing The Worm on the dance floor, it’s a politically incorrect classic that celebrates the best and worst of bro culture.

A 1996 movie gave us the bro with a million catchphrases like “Vegas, baby,” “wingman,” “beautiful babies” and “you’re so money.” As Trent in Swingers Vince Vaughn gave a voice and brocabulary to a generation of bros. Jon Favreau wrote the script but many of the sayings came directly from the lips of his best friends and co-stars Vaughn and Ron Livingston.

No look at bro-cinema would be complete without a nod toward Will Ferrell. The comedian has broed out on screen many times but Old School’s Frank the Tank, a character who unravels after his wife leaves him, is King Bro. When he’s not doing beer bong hits (“Once it hits your lips, it’s so good!”) or streaking he lets his freak flag fly as one of the most over-the-top bros ever seen on screen.

Dean Wormer’s classic scolding from Animal House, “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son,” doesn’t seem to apply, at least at the movies.

Anchorman 2 review: Where there’s a Will (Ferrell), there’s a way to laugh

burgundy1By Richard Crouse & Mark Breslin Reel Guys – Metro Canada

Synopsis: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues opened this week bringing confident but thick news anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) back to the big screen after a nine year absence. The first film made catchphrases like, “I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch,” and the names Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and Champion “Champ” Kind (David Koechner) household words. In celebration of the return of the team from San Diego’s KVWN Channel 4 the Reel Guys have a look back at the career of funnyman Will Ferrell.

Richard: Mark, I think Will Ferrell is one of the bravest comedic actors working today; someone willing to do anything for a laugh. Trouble is, I often don’t laugh. Anchorman is laugh-out-loud funny. Ditto Elf and Old School, but sometimes I feel he has to rein the manic energy in, do half as much and maybe be twice as funny. Having said that, the Shark Week jokes in Step Brothers really make me giggle.

Mark: Richard, I share your ambivalence toward Ferrell. He’s not my go-to guy for funny. Still, he’s done some great work. My favourite Will Ferrell movies are two indie films he’s starred in: Stranger Than Fiction and Everything Must Go. They’re the equivalent of Jim Carrey’s work in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Maybe not huge crowd pleasers, but they show the true breadth of his talent.

RC: I agree. I think Stranger Than Fiction is worth a rental. It’s touching and funny, which for me is Ferrell’s sweet spot. A Night at the Roxbury is a silly comedy but Ferrell’s wide-eyed performance is the kind of thing I like from him. Outrageous, yes, but underneath the silly is a real guy. Sometimes I can’t see the real guy underneath his characters and those are his movies that don’t work for me. Except Zoolander. As fashion guru Mugatu he’s so strange he dares you not to laugh at him.

MB: Yes, he’s sometimes better in a supporting role in which his over-the-top zaniness doesn’t sink the whole picture. Mugatu for sure, but also the mattress salesman in The Internship or Franz in The Producers. But generally, I find his man-child jock character wearying. Which is why, I think, Anchorman is such a successful movie. It’s a Will Ferrell movie for people who don’t care for Will Ferrell movies. Did you enjoy the sequel, Richard?

RC: I did. I think there is a lot of life left in Ron Burgundy. It’s funny in an outrageous way. It’s a bit too long, (and don’t bother sitting through to the post credit scene unless you find the sight of Steve Carell eating cookies hilarious) but the buffoonery level is high in a season where serious drama seems to be the ticket.

In the last couple of weeks I have seen Ferrell, in character, sit in on some local newscasts and he fit right in. As long as there is media, egomaniac announcers and local news, there will be a place for Ron Burgundy.

MB: Yes, but let’s not forget he’s supported by a stellar cast of comic actors: Paul Rudd, Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Wiig. Even if Ferrell isn’t your cup of tea, it’s hard to believe this movie won’t work.