Anchors Away

10 Funny Reporters Who’ll Do Anything to Get the Scoop

Groundhog Day Phil Connors

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In the movies, journalists are often depicted as crusading figures in search of the truth. They tend to be at their funniest when they are doing anything to get the story, whether that means going back in time o taking a whole bunch of drugs. Check out a few of our favorite funny reporters from some of our favorite movies below.

1. Aaron Altman, Broadcast News

In a memorable moment from James L. Brooks’ classic comedy, newswriter Aaron (Albert Brooks) finally gets a shot on-air and develops a case of flop sweat that rivals even Richard Nixon.

2. Phil Connors, Groundhog Day

Weatherman Phil Connors’ sheer hatred of his assignment reporting on Punxsutawney Phil shines through in his interactions with his crew and the local townspeople. (It even bleeds into his on-air segments.) He might seem like a primadonna, but what else can you do when you have to report the exact same puff-piece story every day on an endless loop?

3. Darius Britt, Safety Not Guaranteed

Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is part of the team at Seattle Magazine who investigate a man who places a classified ad asking for someone to join him on his trip back in time. In the clip above, we see that she will do anything to keep track of her sources — even if that means stalking them in the grocery store.

4. Raoul Duke, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

We didn’t realize drugs were such an essential part of the journalistic process. But when you’re a character derived from a novel by author/reporter Hunter S. Thompson, mescaline is as important to your process as a laptop and coffee.

5. Josie Geller, Never Been Kissed

This movie likely inspired a bevy of reporters to go undercover in high schools to get the scoop on what “the kids” today are up to. So kids, if you suddenly have a new classmate who looks like they’re pushing 30, they’re probably on assignment.

6. Sue Charlton, Crocodile Dundee

Ah, the days when newspapers would pay for their reporters to fly halfway across the world to follow around some random dude with a giant knife. The ’80s, folks.

7. Gwen Pearson, National Lampoon’s Van Wilder

Gwen is a reporter for her college paper tasked with following around the most popular guy on campus. We imagine her adventures with Van Wilder led Gwen to a strong career in puff celebrity journalism.

8. Steve Zissou and Jane Winslett-Richardson, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Wes Anderson’s film gave us two truth-seekers — a documentarian and a reporter — disputing the nature of reality. Also, big ups to Bill Murray for making this list twice.

9. Babe Bennett, Mr. Deeds

While misrepresenting yourself is a big reporting no-no, as Inside Access reporter Babe Bennett does here, there’s nothing like seeing a “mugger” get kicked in the head. And with a name like Babe Bennett, really her only career option is in tabloid journalism.

10. Ron Burgundy, Anchorman

The great Ron Burgundy is an example of an anchorman placing absolute trust in the collaborative nature of journalism.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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