Adam McKay became known for performing two relentless and hilarious satires on TV news starring Will Ferrell.
Do not look above is the movie of the moment. His portrayal of politicians and the media has generated a stir, discussions and all kinds of interpretations. In different countries, local audiences saw their own environment reflected, even when the film was set in the United States. But director Adam McKay throws some of his darts at TV news anchors.
Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry play two charismatic and funny drivers who do anything but worry about the importance of the news in front of them.
But, before Do not look up , the same director wrote and directed two comedies that are contemporary classics of the genre and that show in a crazy but precise way, how the television news works – or rather does not work. These satires from the media world are Anchorman: The Legenda of Ron Burgundy (2004) and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013), both available on Paramount Plus.
Anchorman is the English name for a newscaster. In this case, the protagonist is Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) a Channel 4 news anchor from San Diego, California. The story of this first installment takes place in the seventies and Burgundy believes himself to be the king of the world, a person whose pedantry is not even suspected by him and his team of journalists: Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and Champion “Champ” Kind (David Koechner).
Everything will be turned upside down when a female journalist , Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), arrivesAnd all the old macho rules are questioned. The film is the debut feature of Adam McKay, who wrote the script with Will Ferrell. It is a comedy in the strictest sense of the term, that is to say that the gag is more important than the speech and without a sense of humor one cannot even come close to this masterpiece.
But what Anchorman does, if one has the chance to stop laughing for a second, is to satirize the way in which the media became more and more twisted every day towards something other than an information space.. So many perfect gags has the film, that some time later another film appeared built with the shots and scenes that were left out. The extra prize is a large number of special guests, all stars of contemporary American comedy.
The line started by this film was deepened in Anchorman 2 , made nine years later. The cast is repeated, but now they are in New York and the era of news channels begins. Adam McKay here doubles the bet on everything.
The humor is even more absurd and wacky, and the cast is joined by Harrison Ford, James Marsden, Kristen Wiig and Greg Kinnear. The celebrity cameos are many more and finally the satire against the media is much sharper and more precise.Anchorman 2 shows what the news channels added to the general chaos and how they multiplied the superficiality in the topics. Once again, the laughter multiplies, but the ideas are devastating.
After his time of pure comedies, Adam McKay turned to what many have considered the most serious and important films, garnering nominations and awards from all sides. The Big Short (2015) and Vice (2018) were nominated for an Oscar for best picture and McKay himself received nominations for best screenplay and direction in both cases.
The Big Short recounts the financial crisis of 2018 and Vice is a ruthless biography of Vice President Dick Cheney. The first is very ambitious and sophisticated, with noteworthy storytelling ability, the second is completely out of tune and the jokes are too obvious and underlined. McKay seems to have stopped trusting viewers’ intelligence.
In Don’t Look Above combines both styles and the result is a bit uneven. It’s funny when he talks about journalism, but it goes too obvious with politicians. It has sophisticated moments and others that are cartoons that seem to be afraid that the viewer will fall in love with the villains of the film. The hulking cast made it the number one movie on Netflix globally and everyone has something to say about the story. This allegory of climate change from the imminent arrival of a giant meteorite seems to have struck a chord in the world of 2021.
People have begun to distrust governments and the media more than ever, and networks have fluctuated between the commitment and total insanity.The best two Adam McKay films are still Anchorman and Anchorman 2 but they are so subtly clever that they have not received awards or prestige, they are just two perfect comedies.We’ll see if Don’t Look Up ends up in the Oscars race or is just a short-lived Netflix phenomenon.