Which Clique Had The Better Run?
It’s Go Time
Rise & Fall of The Frat Pack
So, last nite I was flipping channels when I realized there was nothing on and I didn’t want to settle on something to pass the time between that moment and the 9pm broadcast of Family Guy.
I decided to put on a movie I hadn’t seen in a while, a Todd Phillips movie starring the Frat Pack’s Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller, and Vince Vaughn, with a cameo by Will Ferrell. I decided on Starsky & Hutch. I hadn’t seen it in a while so the jokes will be newish and unedited, as Spike or USA or one of them channels has showed the movie all edited for TV and whatnot.
As I’m watching the movie I reflected upon the greatness of the Frat Pack’s run, how every flick was an event and for 2.5 years, they ruled the world of cinematic comedy. Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, and Vince Vaughn churned out classic comedies, quotable and hysterically funny, while still having some charm to them. (oh, btw, anyone who says Jack Black was in The Frat Pack is a moron. You can tell them I said that.)
Then I recalled how, after Wedding Crashers, the Frat Packers fell off, opting to break up the gang for cringe worthy romantic comedies (You, Me & Dupree), uncomfortably realistic, frustrating romantic comedies (The Breakup), hokey high concept romantic comedies (My Super ExGirlfriend) or amusing but not classic Frat Pack comedies (Night At The Museum 1 & 2, Four Christmases).
Yep, it was sad to see. Will Ferrell kept the momentum going for a bit with Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and the underappreciated-yet-hilarious Blades of Glory, but ultimately couldn’t sustain his mastery with hit-or-miss comedies such as SemiPro and Step Brothers.
The Frat Pack era was dead…
…but a new troop had arrived.
Enter: The Apatow Gang
In August 2005, Judd Apatow’s first feature film, The 40 Year Old Virgin. The movie was an instant classic, with great characters, great dialogue, and 3 breakout stars in lead Steve Carell and supporting actors Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen.
Still, while this was The Apatow Gang’s emergence, these guys had actually crossed over into The Frat Pack turf a year earlier, where we had the first (and to date, only) collabo between TFO and TAG. I’m speaking, of course, about Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. 2004’s Anchorman had Ferrell, Vaughn, L. Wilson, Stiller representing The Frat Pack, while future Apatow Gang members Carell, Rudd, & Rogen were present.
However, 2005 was the real introduction. Not as big on the goofier stuff of The Frat Pack series, The 40 Year Old Virgin struck an impressive balance between realistic characters and situations (for the most part) and hilarious, quotable dialogue.
(just for the record: “Quotable” doesn’t just mean that you can bust out lines. “Quotable” means that, not only are the lines funny, you can apply them to real-life situations)
The 40 Year Old Virgin was hilarious, and The Apatow Gang was introduced. Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, & Jason Segel.
It looks like The Apatow Gang’s time has come and gone. The good news is that, if it has, the offspring of TAG has already established a far better post-breakup record than The Frat Pack did. Films like I Love You, Man, Pineapple Express, Date Night, Zack & Miri Make A Porno, and Role Models are light-years funnier than what The Frat Pack did.
This is not about the aftermath. This is about the Glory Days. Who had the better run? Whose movies were more quotable? Which was the best out of all of them? 20 years from now, what classic movie will the ReyTheHussein of 2030 break out to watch with his BFF Young Mista of 2030? What classic movie will they see as truly classic the way we look at Caddyshack and the original Ghostbusters? What classic movie will they watch and wonder what the big deal was, like Young Mista & I did with Fletch?
Let’s do the work, MoFos & FaFos.
I’m selecting the 5 Frat Pack films that represent the era, and I’m selecting 5 Apatow Gang films that represent their era. We’ll be going in chronological order, 1st movie vs 1st movie, 2nd movie vs 2nd movie, etc etc. We’ll be judging them on the lineup (which members of the core group are in which film), classic quotables (please keep in mind my definition for “Quotable”), OMG Scenes, & “Other” (“other” is any intangible that i liked from a movie, be it my own experiences or stuff I thought was awesome that might not be universally agreed upon–f**k it, it’s my blog, I can do that).
Here we go:
Old School vs The 40 Year Old Virgin
“Old”- Vaughn, Ferrell, L. Wilson.
“Virgin”- Carell, Rudd, & Rogen.
Advantage: Crikey. I should’ve saved this one for last. I’m giving the advantage to Old School because the 3 of those guys carried the whole movie. Virgin had so many other great characters, but it was also a longer movie, and for “Old” to stand toe-to-toe with it proves just how effective those 3 leads were.
Classic Quotables (courtesy of IMDB):
“Old”- “True love is hard to find, sometimes you think you have true love and then you catch the early flight home from San Diego and a couple of nude people jump out of your bathroom blindfolded like a goddamn magic show ready to double team your girlfriend…”, “We’re… We’re going streaking! We’re going up the quad and to the gymnasium.”, and “You’re my boy, Blue! You’re my boy.”
“Virgin”- Just click here. There’s like a bajillion quotes. We could be here all day.
Advantage: I’m sorry. “Virgin” takes it by a landslide. (hence the link to the page–it’s just easier)
“Old”- Frank Goes Streaking, The Dan Band’s version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, KY Wrestling…
Advantage: “Old” wins this one easily. The strength of “Virgin” is in the dialogue. The visual stuff or truly classic “Watch’n’laugh” stuff is just absent.
“Old”- Gratuitous nudity, Craig Kilborn playing a douchebag, Stifler in a mullet, and the fact that I was in “Fuck College” mode when the movie came out had me completely vibing with the idea of all the fun of college without any of the academics.
“Virgin”- Elizabeth Banks being a freaky freak, Excellent use of Asia’s “Heat of the Moment” (the acoustic version of which kicks much ass, bee tee dubs) and Lionel Richie’s “Hello”
Advantage: “Old” wins this one too.
Winner of The Originator showdown: Old School. The lack of truly quotable quotes was a surprise, but the rest of the movie was top notch. The dialog in “Virgin” was incredible, but the wacky happenings in “Old” are part of what made the movie great.
Starsky & Hutch vs Knocked Up
“Starsky”- Stiller, O. Wilson, Vaughn, Ferrell.
“Knocked”- Rogen, Rudd, Hill, Segel.
Advantage: “Starsky”, because 3 of those were leads, whereas “Knocked” really only had Rudd’n’Rogen in more than glorified cameos.
“Starsky”- Wow. Not a one off the top of my head. Not a good sign for ol’ Starsky.
“Knocked”- Nothing. This might be the bathroom match, folks. Not gonna lie.
“Starsky”- Starsky’s disco dance-off, Snoop Dogg (as “Huggy Bear”) saves the day, The locker room scene with the hot blonde chick.
“Knocked”- Ya know, not a one that I could think of. No scenes come to mind that were like “Wait for it…now! I love this part!”
Advantage: “Starsky”, onnastremf of I’m stealing some of his disco moves the first opportunity I have.
“Starsky”- Amy Smart & Carmen Electra kissing, Vince Vaughn’s mustache, seeing how many fraternity members from Old School director Todd Phillips has in supporting roles.
“Knocked”- Katherine Heigl in her bra, Ryan Seacrest spoofing himself, the Steve Carell cameo.
Advantage: “Starsky”. Girls Kissing > Seacrest.
Winner of The Follow-up showdown: Starsky & Hutch. Ferrell, Vaughn, Snoop, Girls Kissing all buoyed up Stiller & O. Wilson’s averageness. The deciding factor was that I’ve never even pondered wanting to spend a quiet Sunday evening watching Knocked Up.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy vs SuperBad
(quick note–is it bad that I got a rush of adrenaline’d excitement at the possibility of breaking down this matchup? I mean, probably, but come on! Both of these were motherf**king CLASSICS!)
“Anchorman”- Ferrell, Vaughn, Stiller (cameo), L. Wilson (cameo).
“SuperBad”- Hill, Rogen.
Advantage: “Anchorman”, and that’s not entirely fair when you consider how important Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse were to “Superbad”, but if you count them, you have to count Carell, Rudd, and David “Champ Kind” Koechner for “Anchorman”. So, either way, “Anchorman” takes it.
“Anchorman”- It’d be easier to copy’n’paste the script. Just click here and giggle your happy ass off.
“SuperBad”- “You know when you hear girls say ‘Ah man, I was so shit-faced last night, I shouldn’t have fucked that guy?’ We could be that mistake!”, “Fogell, shut the fuck up. And take off that vest. You look like Aladdin.”, (upon hearing about a breast reduction) “What? That’s like slapping God across the face for giving you a beautiful gift.”
Advantage: “Anchorman.” Now look, I know my rule about quotables having to be applicable in real life situations, but the fact that there are just so effing many for “Anchorman”, and that I’ve had at least 2 “Anchorman” quoting sessions over the last couple of months just lets me know how great they were.
“Anchorman”- The news team fight, Baxter gets kicked off a bridge, Ron Burgundy’s disheveled descent, and wow, that’s it.
“SuperBad”- Jonah Hill during cooking class, pretty much every scene with McLovin and the cops, Evan & Seth get hassled by the fuzz, Seth’s penis drawings.
Advantage: “Superbad.” Interesting. That was the exact opposite of what happened with Old School and The 40 Year Old Virgin. The Apatow Gang flick had more set pieces, while The Frat Pack movie had most of its humour in the dialogue. That was fun.
“Anchorman”- Not a lot of intangibles on this one.
“SuperBad”- That little skirt Becca was wearing, the use of “Big Poppa” (even if they do edit the song–throws me off every time), the fact that, at 29 years old, I’d be okay with a girl only wanting to hook up with me cuz she was shmammered (but only if it was her idea. i won’t hit on drunk chicks, but i won’t shoo them away either. don’t judge me!)
Advantage: “SuperBad”. So far “other” has come to mean “Gratuitous Hot Chicks” or “Awesome part I liked”, and these movies were kiiiinda lacking in that. Interesting.
Winner of The Pinnacle showdown: This one is too close to call. “Anchorman” is hilarious but not realistic at all. “SuperBad”, while also a bit “Okay, that wouldn’t really happen”‘ish, is more grounded in reality. I like that “Anchorman” has so many lines you can bring out and laugh, but I also enjoy “SuperBad” realistic dialogue and interaction between its characters. I think we’re gonna have to go with the one that I’m more attached to personally, and that one is “SuperBad.” *exhale*
Outside The Box
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story vs Forgetting Sarah Marshall
(I just got a psychic image of someone going “Oh come on!” at this one. Hush. It’s closer than you think. I mean, probably. I write these things one line at a time so you never know. You know who does know? The Shadow knows. Beeyotch.)
“Dodgeball”- Vaughn, Stiller.
“Sarah Marshall”- Segel, Hill, Rudd.
Advantage: “Sarah Marshall.” My man-crush on Paul Rudd gives this the win. (I’m definitely a P. Rudd stan, but that will be tested with the upcoming Dinner For Schmucks, which looks just aight. Also in “Dinner”? Steve Carell, who was really only in 2 Apatow Gang flicks, but he gets credit for being in the group, even with his 2nd appearance being a cameo in Knocked Up. Okay, I’m rambling.)
“Dodgeball”- “And I’ll tell you, there’s no way I can go back to working out at my high school…they’d laugh at me there, lock me in lockers, make me eat clay.”, “Go ahead, make your jokes, Mr. Jokey… Joke-maker. But let me hit you with some knowledge. Quit now. Save yourself the embarrassment of losing with these losers in Las Vegas, La Fleur.”, Cotton McKnight: “I’m being told that Average Joe’s does not have enough players and will be forfeiting the championship match.” Pepper Brooks (in response): “It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.”
“Sarah Marshall”- “I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life.”, “He turned down a blow job from his ex-girlfriend… mid-blowjob. You know how hard that is for a man? It’s called blue balls. He’s like Gandhi! But better – he likes puppets!”, [singing] “Everybody hates you. Everybody wishes that you were dead. Peter you suck. Peter you suck. Peter your music is fucking terrible. Peter you suck, Peter you suck. You don’t do anything of value. Peter you suck. Go write some music. But instead you sit and write these bullshit songs. It’s so self-loathing. Go see a psychiatrist. I hate the psychiatrist. Go see one anyway.”, “Excuse me. No, I haven’t had anything to drink today. Maybe the problem is that you broke my heart into a million pieces and so my cock doesn’t want to be around you anymore! Okay? EVER! Because you know what I just realized? You’re the g-ddamn devil!”
Advantage: “Sarah Marshall”, but only because “Dodgeball” came out in 2004 and everything from that year is bittersweet, and “Sarah Marshall” came out at a good time for me, so doing lines from each movie is a different experience. That being said, “Dodgeball” has some great lines. You know what? Let’s just move on.
“Dodgeball”- Every dodgeball game (particularly the one vs the girl scouts), The Jason Bateman scenes, the cameos from William Shatner, Chuck Norris, and the Armstrongs, Lance & Curtis (“Booger” from Revenge of the Nerds.
“Sarah Marshall”- The fake orgasm shout-off between Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell, any scene with Russell Brand, Paul Rudd teaching Jason Segel how to surf, and, of course, the Dracula Musical.
Advantage: “Sarah Marshall.” The Dracula musical takes it.
“Dodgeball”- Ben Stiller will actually play characters every now and then instead of being the same guy in every movie, so that was nice. Not much in the way of hot chicks aside from the dodgeball dancer chicks. Wait! I forgot about the hot cheerleader that gets with Justin Long. Mmmm, she was wonderful.
“Sarah Marshall”- Kristen Bell & Mila Kunis in bikinis. Muppets. ‘Nuff said.
Advantage: “Sarah Marshall.” Again: Bikinis. This is a big deal.
Winner of the Outside The Box showdown: Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It’s closer than it seems. I’ll have to watch the two of them again. Depends on what your sense of humor is. If you like laughing at goofy stuff with some quick’n’clever lines thrown in, you’ll like “Dodgeball.” If you like more of the reality based stuff, or have hard-ons for the Freaks & Geeks/“Undeclared” era, or are a hopeless romantic with a bit of oversensitive cry’er in you…you’ll choose “Sarah Marshall.” Which, um, I did. So there.
The Last Hurrah
Wedding Crashers vs Funny People
(okay, before we get started, lemme just say that both of these movies advertised one thing, but ended up being glorified chick flicks. both were funny and had some excellent lines in them, but the hilarity kinda fell off when the movies settled into “Boy Chases Girl” turf. No hatin’, just statin’.)
“Crashers”- Vaughn, O. Wilson, Ferrell
“Funny”- Rogen, Hill (i know Sandler was the star, but ya’ll know the rules!)
Advantage: “Crashers.” Vaughn was on his A-Game, Wilson knew his role, and everyone was happy to see Will Ferrell show up in the 3rd wheel.
“Crashers”- “Tattoo on the lower back? Might as well be a bulls eye.”, “HEY MOM! CAN WE GET SOME MEATLOAF?”, “Janice, I apologize to you if I don’t seem real eager to jump into a forced awkward intimate situation that people like to call dating. I don’t like the feeling. You’re sitting there, you’re wondering do I have food on my face, am I eating, am I talking too much, are they talking enough, am I interested I’m not really interested, should I play like I’m interested but I’m not that interested but I think she might be interested but do I want to be interested but now she’s not interested? So all of the sudden I’m getting, I’m starting to get interested… And when am I supposed to kiss her? Do I have to wait for the door cause then it’s awkward, it’s like well goodnight. Do you do like that ass-out hug? Where you like, you hug each other like this and your ass sticks out cause you’re trying not to get too close or do you just go right in and kiss them on the lips or don’t kiss them at all? It’s very difficult trying to read the situation. And all the while you’re just really wondering are we gonna get hopped up enough to make some bad decisions? Perhaps play a little game called “just the tip”. Just for a second, just to see how it feels. Or, ouch, ouch you’re on my hair.”, “She’s fit for a strait-jacket. This broad’s fucked three ways towards the weekend. But you know what, Father? I dig it! It turns me on.”
(wow, Vaughn just carried this flick, huh?)
“Funny”- “Don’t put me in a position where I have to fuck my way out of a corner!”, “I masturbate so much with hand cream, I forget people use it for shit other than masturbating. Literally, when I’m in public and I see someone pull out hand cream, I’m like ‘This guy’s about to jerk off!'”, “Fuck Facebook!”
(okay, this isn’t out on DVD yet–i don’t think–so the IMDB quotes aren’t really up to the task. bah.)
Advantage: “Crashers”, for now. I haven’t spent enough time with “Funny” to know for sure.
“Crashers”- Vince Vaughn and the priest, The climactic scene in the church, the montage with the different names/disguises, and, oh yeah, THE 10 HOT TOPLESS CHICKS FALLING ONTO BEDS! For um, artistic reasons. *ahem*
“Funny”- The standup scenes were all great, but no real set pieces that I can’t wait to see again. Well, okay, the scene with Eminem was great. So that one.
Advantage: “Crashers.” Topless Chicks vs Marshall Mathers? Pff… Sorry, Em.
“Crashers”- Will Ferrell’s cameo, the revelation of Isla Fisher’s hotness, The Rules of Crashing, Vince Vaughn making the movie watchable during Owen Wilson’s search for love, and, oh yeah, THE 10 HOT TOPLESS CHICKS FALLING ONTO BEDS!
“Funny”- The cameos by so many standup comedians were cool to see, Sandler’s performance was, IMO, very good, and I could relate to Seth Rogen being so shy around that Daisy chick.
Winner of The Last Hurrah showdown: Wedding Crashers. For the simple fact that the ending to Funny People was beyond aggravating. It took me a while to accept how unsatisfying that whole thing was, but now it’s here to stay. At least with “Crashers”, you have Vince Vaughn keeping up his Vince Vaughn’ness and balancing out the quest for love and the lack of further wedding crashing fun. “Funny” had everything stop so Adam Sandler could chase after Leslie Mann, an annoying chore of an actor that bogs down the entire movie. Apatow, buddy, I know she’s your wife, but maybe leave her out of the next one. Quit being “That Guy Who Brings His Girlfriend/Wife Everywhere Thus Bringing Down Everyone Else Because She’s Not Fun At All”, Judd. QUIT BEING THAT GUY!
Now we’ll take a second before tallying up the score. Enjoy this while you wait:
The winner of the battle for 00’s Comedic Supremacy is:
THE FRAT PACK!
Stiller, O. Wilson, Vaughn, L. Wilson, & Ferrell defeat Rogen, Rudd, Segel, Hill, & Carell
The five movies that represent the apex of The Frat Pack era have more replay value than the five films that showcase The Apatow Gang at their height. Ben, Vince, Owen, Luke, & Will carved themselves out a mighty niche by combining classic characters, quotable lines, humorous situations, and a healthy dose of “Ah man, that would be AWESOME!”
Mind you, The Apatow Gang flicks are all classics in their own right with funny dialogue, endearing characters, and lots of “Could Actually Happen” scenarios. Also, the stars what make up The Apatow Gang are still churning out funny movies…
…something that, for the most part, our boys from The Frat Pack are no longer doing.
(that moment of bitching about movies is brought to you by The Society For People That Wonder What The F**k The Frat Pack Was Thinking Breaking Themselves Up To Take Turns Starring In Sh**ty Jennifer Aniston Movies Instead Of Making More Classic Comedies And Not Tripe Like Couples Retreat And MotherF**king Land Of The Lost)
Call Reynolds, Cuz it’s a Wrap
Alright kids, that’s it for me. I hope you enjoyed this post. It only took me, mmmm, 5 hours or so to write.
As always, comments, questions, critiques, and quotable lines from the above films can be left below in the Dr. Donda West-Christopher Wallace Memorial Comments Section.
Thanks for tuning in,