Man of the Year 2004
This was a great year for the Frat Pack. We had four outstanding movies, and the Frat Pack as a group was kept busy with many projects. In some respects, I suspect we’ll look back at 2004 as the “golden age” of Frat Pack movies.
Luke made a memorable appearance in Anchorman as newscaster Frank Vitchard. His appearance in the infamous “Anchorman rumble” scene told us that all the stops were going out in the year’s best movie scene. Who didn’t lose their popcorn when Luke’s arm was cut off by Tim Robbins, allowing Luke to deliver the memorable line “I did not see that coming.” Luke’s appearance in Anchorman cemented his status as a member of the Frat Pack.
What we didn’t see this year was the movie Luke wrote and co-directed, The Wendell Baker Story. We are eagerly looking forward to seeing this movie during 2005.
Owen Wilson played to typecasted strength as Ken Hutchison in Starsky & Hutch. Who could forget Owen wooing the ladies with his tender version of David Soul’s “Don’t Give Up on Us Baby?” This movie did well as the box office, opening at number one and eventually grossing $88 million. Owen also had a memorable cameos in Meet the Fockers and Around the World in 80 Days(with Luke Wilson as the Wright Brothers).
Owen also appeared in critically panned The Big Bounce early in the year but finished the year by co-starring in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
The year started off well, as Elf finished it’s large box office run. This film appeared at the end of the year on a great DVD, which is well-worth purchasing.
We next saw Will in his uncredited but hilarious role as Big Earl in Starsky & Hutch. This was actually a pivotal role to the plot of the movie and though Will filmed all his scenes in one day, he does appear in the movie three times.
We next saw Will, and a lot of him, as Ron Burgundy in Anchorman. Will was all over the media promoting this movie, including the MTV Movie Awards and ESPN (check these out on the DVD). While Anchorman was not the monster hit that Elf was, it did gross a very respectable $85 million over the summer. Will ended the year on another high note with the excellentAnchorman DVD, including the giftpack that featured an entirely new movie, Wake-Up Ron Burgundy, made up of unused footage from the movie.
Vince Vaughn was almost everywhere, Frat Pack-wise, this year. Vince stole the show as the villain of Starsky & Hutch. Vince’s interplay with co-stars Juliette Lewis and Jason Bateman was outstanding, and Vince really got into the 70’s look with his perm and Fu-Manchu moustache.
Next, Vince was top-billed in the summer’s top grossing Frat Pack movie, Dodgeball. Playing the central character, Peter LeFleur, Vince was the solid center of the movie. His subtle transformation from reluctant participant to willing leader added a dramatic subtext to a movie best known for balls and wrenches being thrown to the head. This movie was a monster hit, beating The Terminal to open at number one, eventually grossing $114 million!
Finally, Vince had a small but memorable role as Wes Mantooth in Anchorman. Vince’s role was the largest of the Frat Pack “cameos” and drove the tension that led to the anchorman rumble. Vince’s character comes full circle by respecting Ron Burgundy at the film’s conclusion (in the deleted scenes we find that Wes Mantooth is Ron Burgundy’s brother).
And the Winner is… Ben Stiller
This surely comes as no surprise, since Ben starred in four films that made over $85 million, and had a memorable cameo in another top grosser. The amazing thing is that when the year started, it seemed quite surprising that Ben would have such a great year.
Ben finished 2003 coming off the low grossing The Duplex and the oft-delayed release of Envy (never a good sign). His first film of the year was Along Came Polly, released in the traditional “box office dumping ground” of January. Instead, audiences embraced the movie and it opened at number one and eventually made $88 million! Polly contained the first of two excellent dance numbers for Ben (the other was in Starsky & Hutch) and provided the world with a new word: shart.
Next for Ben was Starsky & Hutch. Playing uptight David Starsky was hardly a stretch for Ben, though he brought great energy, and great hair, to the role. Ben was also an executive producer on the film. Ben provided the film’s best catch-phrase, “Do it!”
Ben next starred with Jack Black in the Barry Levinson-directed Envy. While there were a few funny moments, this movie was a critical and financial flop. This was Ben’s only misstep this year.
Ben produced and starred in Dodgeball, which provided him with his most memorable role of the year. White Goodman stole the show as the villain of the movie, providing the film with the funniest moments not involving balls or wrenches hitting body parts! Check out the DVD for even more hilarious moments from Ben and his portrayal of the “fat” White. Perhaps more importantly, Dodgeball provided Ben’s wife Christine Taylor with a memorable role as the female lead. We’d like to see more of Christine in the coming years, that’s for sure.
One of the best laughs and audience applause moments of the year came with Ben’s portrayal of the Spanish-language newscaster in Anchorman.
Ben’s amazing year ended with the year’s biggest Frat Pack grosser, Meet the Fockers. Here Ben deserves less credit for his acting (though he had his moments) but more for getting Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand to play his parents, to hilarious effect. While this movie won’t be the classic some of his other movies will, it is great to see audiences embrace the movie and can only bode well for future Frat Pack movies.
For these reasons, Ben Stiller is our Frat Pack Man of the Year. Congratulations!