Wednesday, April 2, 2014

(Once) Rare Flix: Wake Up, Ron Burgundy- The Lost Movie

Here's a first: damn you, Blu-Ray!  Today's film is Wake Up, Ron Burgundy, the sort-of Sequel to Anchorman that had to tide people over until last year's Anchorman 2.  The problem: the bonus Film was not included on the regular DVD release.  Instead, it was only on a Special Edition released shortly after the film's release and it quickly went OOP.  As a fan of the original, I've waited a long time to see it.  Here's the rub: the Blu-Ray/DVD Release on Anchorman- just in time for the Sequel, naturally- included this once-lost Film on a Bonus Disc.  I'm torn.  I want the film to be Rare, so it means more when I Review it.  On the other hand, it is actually pretty damn funny and I want more people to see it.  Damn my conflicted nature!  So what is the story behind this Story?  Basically, they shot ALOT of footage and a longer version didn't test well.  A whole sub-plot was cut and, as such, a new Ending had to be shot.  To make the 'new' film, they took the Deleted Scenes and Sub-Plot & made up a Story to connect it to the original Narrative.  Honestly, it is an amazing effort that they put into it.  Is it funny though?  Should you track this down (which is much easier now)?  To find out, read on...
If you don't know what Anchorman is, here's a summary...

* Ron Burgundy and his crew are sexist Newsmen.  Their world is thrown out of balance when a strong, female Anchor comes to Town.
* Everyone is completely insane.  That is also important to know.
* The 'Lost Movie' is set in a reality where different events brought about *most* of the same outcomes.
The cut Sub-Plot involves a gang of Bank Robbers with an Agenda.  That Agenda- um...their Leader has yet to figure out what it is.  He'll get back to you.
He meets our lady Anchor at a Cat Show, which is a Scene left in the original cut...just without him.  Oh and her Camera Man is Seth Rogen (in 2004).
There are two stand-out bits to me...

1. Champ makes a 'time of the month' joke, only for him to be questioned on what it means.  He rambles for a good three minutes of amusing nonsense.
2. The 2nd Robbery goes awry when they are questioned by a Teller- Amy Poehler- about their random masks- Lincoln, Nixon, a Werewolf mask at all.  It is odd.
Jealous of his Co-Anchor, Ron becomes a real Reporter and not just a Newsreader.  This leads to a funny, if random scene of him threatening this old man (who he thinks is the robber).

In addition, he allows the bad guy to escape with their Van, setting up an alternate reason for him to be fired.  Oh and Danny Trejo is not the Bartender.  Why?
Ron meets his Mentor- a man gone from the the Theatrical and Extended Cuts- and is driven to try again.  His mentor is also a bit weird...and possibly a Nudist.
In this alternate story, Ron and company go out into the Woods to find the Robbers (who have also kidnapped his Co-Anchor).  They get lost and contemplate cannibalism...quite quickly.  It's been like an hour.
They find the place leading to a weird bit where we learn that Carrell's Brick Tamblyn used to be a Military Commander.  He has a sudden burst of Patton, which would have been nice to see in some form in the Theatrical Cut.
I won't SPOIL the Ending, but I will say that is a decent replacement for the Panda Finale from the Theatrical Cut, though lacking a bit with Brick riding a bear.

I'm also a bit biased as they do some crazy Batman-style action.  It is appropriately-goofy.  The End.
I'm glad that this didn't stay lost.  Don't get me wrong- it has some issues.  Many bits are just Deleted Scenes cut for time.  The bit with the News Team doing donuts is funny, but not all that necessary.  Some of them are quite funny though too.  A Deleted Scene of Ron driving Veronica while NEVER LOOKING AT THE ROAD is quite funny.  I wonder why this was cut.  Was it for Time or did jokes about nearly killing people with a Car not test well.  Speaking of Deleted Scenes, I'm still haven't seen the source of the film's best Outtake- Brick saying that he cancelled his Celebrity Golf Tournament since too many people died last year- in ANY Cut.  What the hell happened to that scene?!?  Anyways, the question is this- is The Lost Movie as good as Anchorman?  Given that it is not a complete film (it glosses over the introduction of Veronica and most of her rise to notoriety), it is hard to compare them properly.  Wake Up, Ron Burgundy is essentially an alternate version of the last 2/3 of the Movie.  On its own, it can be pretty damn funny.  I still prefer the actual Anchorman film, but this definitely didn't deserve to stay mostly-hidden for nearly a Decade either.  Isn't that right, Seth Rogen?
Up next, I prepare for this Sunday's Wrestlemania 30 with a Wrestler film.  With the Host in Paradise, what could go horribly, horribly wrong?

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